Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, holds the distinction of being the first winner in one of NASCAR’s top three divisions at Kentucky Speedway when he won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in 2000. Biffle, who participated in a tire test at the track in early June, spoke about this weekend’s debut NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at the 1.5-mile facility.
HOW WAS THE TIRE TEST YOU PARTICIPATED IN? “The tire test at Kentucky was OK. The track was in real rough shape when we went. It was real dirty because they were doing a lot of construction. They blew it off and tried to get it prepped, but the reality is it just takes a while to get rubber on the track and people hadn’t been there in a long time. So I don’t think we learned a tremendous amount, but we got to look at it and made 50-60 laps. It rained right at the end, so that shut us off, but I think we learned a little bit.”
WHAT WILL BEING ABLE TO RUN ON THURSDAY AS A TEST SESSION MEAN TO ALL THE TEAMS? “It’s not necessarily an advantage, but it’ll definitely be good for the teams because we’re already there for the weekend and it’s gonna get rubber on the track. We’re not gonna have to load up and leave and then come back. It’s gonna be good. I like that kind of testing. If you’re gonna do any, do it on Thursday going into a weekend. This is kind of the first time we’re gonna do it, but I think it’s a great idea, I really do. This has to save a tremendous amount of money than gathering all of your people up, shipping them both ways and shipping all of your equipment both ways. It seems like a pretty efficient way and a pretty efficient use of your time.”
YOU WON THE FIRST NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES RACE THERE IN 2003. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE THE FIRST WINNER THERE? “It was really cool going there and working and getting things going. I remember the pavement was brand new and there were people having trouble getting a hold of it, but it’s a really cool place. The track has gotten a little bumpier over the years, but it was neat to go there and win for the first time.”
WHAT KIND OF RACING WILL FANS SEE THERE? “They’re definitely gonna see side-by-side racing. I think it’s gonna be real similar to what you see at Kansas. It drives really flat and you can see the Nationwide races there have all been really exciting. I’ve had a couple of exciting finishes there with Todd Bodine and a few others, so I think it’s gonna be a good race.”
THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF CONSTRUCTION LATELY. HOW MUCH HAS THE FACILITY ITSELF CHANGED SINCE YOU WENT THERE FOR THE FIRST TIME? “It looks way different. They keep making it better and adding on. They added a bunch of grandstand seats. They’re changing the infield and trying to make nice motor home lots and space for the garages. They’re doing a lot. It was pretty torn up when we were there and they had a long ways to go, but I’m sure they’ll be ready.
NICOLE IS GETTING CLOSER TO HAVING THE BABY. WHAT IS YOUR BACK-UP PLAN AS FAR AS A DRIVER IF YOU NEED TO LEAVE? “Ricky Stenhouse will be at Kentucky and standing by, just like he was at Daytona, in case I have to go.”
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is the only full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver with a chance at the Kentucky trifecta this weekend. Edwards already owns victories in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (2003) and NASCAR Nationwide Series (2005) at the 1.5-mile track and he spoke to Ford Racing about his chances for one more.
YOU’VE WON A TRUCK AND NATIONWIDE RACE AT KENTUCKY. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT A POSSIBLE TRIFECTA? “I keep telling people that they don’t know what they’re in for when we go to Kentucky. The fans are unreal. It’s going to be a huge, huge event and it’s because the fans love NASCAR racing there. I’ve been going there for eight years now and every time I go they ask, ‘When are we gonna get a Cup race?”
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE GOOD THERE? “It seems that track changes every time we go back. The line moves around a lot. I think one of the neatest things about it is that it has a lot of character. It has some bumps and some slick spots and different banking. It’s a really neat race track. It’s a lot like an Atlanta or something like that, where you can move around and make some things happen. It’s great for the drivers.”
WILL IT BE A BENEFIT TO HAVE A TEST SESSION THERE ON THURSDAY? “It won’t be a benefit to me. I’d rather we just went and raced, but it will have a benefit. It will let everybody tune their stuff in, but it would be okay with me if that test day got rained out.”
David Gilliland, driver of the No. 34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion, had his entire NASCAR career change overnight after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway in 2006. Gilliland used that win as a springboard to eventually sign with Robert Yates Racing and has been in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ever since. He spoke about what the win meant to his career and what it will feel like going back there this weekend.
“I’m excited and looking forward to it. I haven’t been back since we won, so I’m anxious to pull in the gate again and kind of relive that moment a little bit. I’m excited. I’m real happy that we’ve got a test on Thursday to go and practice a little bit. I feel good about the car that we’re taking over there and I can’t wait to get back. That place is obviously super-special to me and I’ve been hoping for the Cup Series to get a date there for a long time and it’s finally here.”
WHERE WOULD DAVID GILLILAND BE RIGHT NOW IF HE HADN’T WON THAT RACE? “There’s no telling. That race definitely helped my career and was the shot in the arm that I needed. I’ve tried not to look back too much. I had already done the Gong Show with Roush. I had already talked to Childress about doing some stuff, and I met with Hendrick as well in the years prior, but I needed that one thing to kind of push me over the edge and make me stand out from everybody else and that win did that. It was exciting because from that day on my phone was ringing. The timing of it was excellent as far as where the sport was and people looking for up-and-coming drivers, so it definitely wasn’t an overnight anything for me. I had been racing 10 years prior to that, but it all paid off on one night.”
SO YOU GOT THE LAST LAUGH IN SOME WAYS? “It was exciting and I haven’t looked back since. We made some decisions on where to go and what to do and stuck with them and here we are today just trying to keep motoring along. It hasn’t gotten any easier. It’s tough, especially with the economy the way it is right now, and the position that a lot of the teams are in there aren’t a lot of teams expanding right now, but I feel like Front Row Motorsports is in a good spot. We have definitely built on our program from last year and are much more competitive and, hopefully, we can continue to do that and some day be a team that’s competing for wins on a weekly basis.”
DOES A THURSDAY TEST SESSION HELP YOUR TEAM MORE THAN SOME OF THE OTHERS? “I don’t know. We don’t generally have those, but it will definitely help our team. The mile-and-a-half stuff on our team hasn’t been the best of our program this year, but I feel like we’re honing in on some stuff. When you’ve got an hour-and-a-half of practice on a normal weekend before qualifying, you don’t have a lot of chances to try stuff like that. We’ve got a relaxed environment with a day of testing and we’ll be able to try a lot of the things we’ve wanted to try, so I’m excited about it. I think it’s gonna help us tremendously.”
By: ford racing