Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, holds down 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings heading into this weekend. He talked to the media after practice about his hopes for Saturday night's race. THE MANDATE IS PRETTY ...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, holds down 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings heading into this weekend. He talked to the media after practice about his hopes for Saturday night's race.
THE MANDATE IS PRETTY SIMPLE THIS WEEK. "Yeah, I think so. We got a second chance there at Atlanta last week, but we worked our way back up. Our car seems pretty decent here so far this weekend. As the track got slick, we didn't feel we were as good in the hot sun as we were when we first unloaded. When practice first started it was a little cloudy and overcast, so, hopefully, that will mean good fortune for us at night when the track cools down. But we think we're decent right now, just not exactly where we want to be."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE PETTY MOTORSPORTS MERGER WITH YATES? WILL THAT HELP AS FAR AS HAVING MORE FORDS ON THE TRACK? "I think so. I think it's gonna help our organization, having the depth of the Petty organization with us or an alliance between us, and I certainly think it's gonna help Ford Racing in general. I think it's a good thing for us. Obviously, they had to do something about a manufacturer and I'm glad that they chose Ford."
HOW MUCH ATTENTION DO YOU PAY TO OTHER GUYS TOMORROW? "We just do what we can do. We always run fairly well here. I like this race track. We've always been able to typically run in the top 15, or top 10. We have a lot of top 10s and top 5s here, so, hopefully, we can repeat that performance. That's all we really need to do. Literally, that's all we need to do is do that to get us a chase spot. We feel like we can do that as a team, but anything can happen to any one of these six cars that are right on the bubble."
CAN YOU RELAX AT ALL WHEN YOU'RE IN THIS SPOT AND IS LOUDON A GOOD PLACE TO START THE CHASE? "I think Loudon is a great place to start the chase off, especially since I won there last year. I think it's a great place. It's a good old NASCAR-type short track and, I tell you what, I will be relieved and celebrating and sleeping very good for five days after I make the chase, if I make the chase. I'm looking forward to that."
YOU MISSED THE CHASE IN '06 and '07. HOW BADLY DO YOU NOT WANT THAT FEELING AGAIN? "A lot. This sport is about the chase and it's about those 12 guys and the guys going to the banquet. It's about exposure and TV spots and exposure for your sponsors and that all comes with the chase. The chase and those 12 guys are spotlighted in our sport. I know that and it's rough to be on the outside. I was for two years in a row and I'm close now, but, deep down, I feel like we can make it and we can get ourselves in, but we're just gonna try as hard as we can. We have for the last 25 weeks and we're just gonna continue to get in, but I understand things happen."
WHAT KIND OF A DAMPER DOES IT PUT ON THE LAST 10 RACES WHEN YOU'RE NOT IN? "It's a big deal when you're not it. There's really nothing to look forward to the rest of the season. Winning races, obviously, and you're really waiting for next year to get started so you can make a run at getting in the chase again."
IS IT HARD KNOWING THAT BIG MOVES ARE MADE IN THE STANDINGS MAINLY WHEN SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS AS OPPOSED TO GOOD AT THIS STAGE? "You're absolutely right. It's no secret that we're gonna be in the chase if nothing extraordinary happens on tomorrow night. It's just that simple. We've got a 68-point lead and we need to finish roughly 15th or better. That will probably be good enough to get in and, of course, it depends on what happens. There are so many scenarios. As long as I'm within 10 spots of Matt Kenseth, I can finish anywhere in the field. If I finish in front of Mark Martin, I can finish anywhere because he's right there in the points, so there are a lot of scenarios, but if nothing out of the ordinary happen -- it's just a standard old race -- then we'll be getting in. It's gonna be a little bit different story for the 17, the 18 and the 83."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WINNING THE FIRST TWO CHASE RACES LAST YEAR AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN? "It was pretty neat to win the first two races. It was really special for us and our team to start the chase off like that. And then the third race we finished third at Kansas, so I really felt like we were off to a good start. We slipped a little bit and didn't run as good as we planned to in some places. We actually had a decent run at Martinsville that chase, but we're just gonna have to be better at a few other places in order to win the title, and those guys are gonna have to give just a little bit. They're gonna have to slip up just a little bit somewhere."
YOUR NUMBERS ON DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS ARE DOWN AS FAR AS GAINING SPOTS COMPARED TO OTHERS. HOW HAS THAT CHANGED AND HOW CHALLENGING HAS IT BEEN? "It seems like you always pick the wrong lane. You don't have a choice, but it always seems like you're in the wrong lane. Like at Pocono, I'm on the bottom and that lane gets slowed up. I'm on the top, somebody gets loose and up nearly in the fence. Then Bristol was a perfect example. I'm fourth and we just kill the guys on the bottom -- the top lane does -- and so I get into third after passing Marcos and then eight laps to go the caution comes out and he starts fourth and just drives by me, so it's really lane sensitive -- what lane you're in -- and what happens in front of you. Last week is a prime example. I worked all night long to get back to the front of the field. I start eighth right behind Mark Martin and I'm thinking, 'OK, if we just get a good restart here, I'm better than two or three of these guys. We're gonna end up fifth or sixth.' Mark Martin spins his tires on the restart and they're passing us three-wide both sides. We lose four or five spots going into turn one and go back to 13th before getting back to 10th. So it's luck of the draw. I would not have expected him to do that with the experience he has, but things happen. I think it's coincidental what lane you're in and somebody gets crossed up."
DID YOU DO ANYTHING THIS WEEK TO BREAK THE TENSION? "I went to Boston and went to the baseball game. I did some advance media -- a Winner's Circle appearance for Loudon -- so I went up there and did some TV stuff and went to the baseball game and stayed the night. That's what I did this week. I had to do a few things or I probably would have been over at Eldora. I don't know if I would have been racing, but I would have been signing autographs and watching. But it always seems I'm busy everytime that race comes up. I've been thinking about it 24/7, but I've been doing other stuff as well."
WHO IS THE FAVORITE TO WIN THE CHASE? "I really feel like the 99 has pretty good momentum. He's done well and he's proven he can do well everywhere he goes. I think that he's definitely a guy that can do it. The 14 has shown signs that they're capable this year. You can't really count the 48 out and I hate to bet against any of those guys up there because Denny Hamlin or Jeff Gordon or whoever makes it in -- Matt or Kyle -- I think everybody is capable, but there are a few guys that have run extremely well that look like favorites."
WHAT ABOUT KYLE'S SCENARIO? HE COULD BE OUT OF THE CHASE OR IF HE MAKES IT, BE THE LEADER WITH ALL OF HIS WINS? "Yeah, it's pretty extraordinary how the point system works, but I think it's interesting by all means and it's fair. Certainly, it's a good system and a good playoff point system, I think. I just wish I had a couple win going into the chase. Hopefully, I can do what I did last year, if I make it."
ANYTHING YOU WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY IN THE CHASE THIS YEAR? "I'll be truthful with you, we've struggled as a company this year. We don't have any wins other than Matt's two wins. We probably should have won a couple races, California and a few others, but we're just trying to be competitive every week. We're just gonna go into this thing like we have all season, just try and win these races and do the best we can. We've got some new front-end geometry stuff we're trying here this weekend. It seems to be working better. The car is running better. Maybe we'll try it on the mile-and-a-halfs, so we're gonna be testing and tuning and dabbling when it comes to the chase, to be honest with you -- just trying to win those races. We know we've got to win or finish in the top five to be able to win the title. We know we're capable of it, we've just got to prove it."
-credit: ford racing