This Week in Ford Racing: November 3, 2009 With only three races remaining in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, many teams are already getting a head start on next season and Roush Fenway Racing is no different. Car owner Jack Roush...
This Week in Ford Racing:
November 3, 2009
With only three races remaining in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, many teams are already getting a head start on next season and Roush Fenway Racing is no different. Car owner Jack Roush and driver Greg Biffle recently talked about the importance Texas, Phoenix and Homestead have for the organization.
ARE THE NEXT THREE RACES CRUCIAL AS FAR AS PREPARING FOR 2010?
JACK ROUSH: "They're all we've got left. I thought as we started the chase we were going to be able to be a factor in this thing and it hasn't worked out for us. We spend the first 26 points races in the Cup Series building the points necessary to qualify for the shootout, and secondarily to try things that would maybe be low percentage opportunity things that might be beneficial, that you can know better about when you start the race. Well, we didn't find enough things in the bulk of the year so that we were able to fall back on the high percentage things that were beneficial and have those carry us to a championship in the final 10 races. So, for the last couple of races and the three that remain, we're faced with the reality of saying that what we need to do is to focus on the things that we can learn in the time that is left to benefit us in the start for next year. Happily, there's not going to be a big change in the car over the winter, so what we've got in front of us is pretty much what we expect to be faced with in Daytona and beyond. We've got a strategy for things we can do over the winter with our computers and our seven-poster and with some of the testing that the climate and the opportunities will present us to improve our short track dilemma. That's certainly going to be our big challenge over the winter is trying to get ourselves ready to do as well for the short tracks as we do at the other tracks in 2010."
DO YOU CONTINUE TO EXPERIMENT WITH DIFFERENT SETUPS OR TRY TO CONCENTRATE ON ONE THING AND MAKE THAT WORK?
JACK ROUSH: "The things that we had going for us, say last year at the mile-and-a-half race tracks, have not proved to be adequate for the challenges this year. We should have won Darlington and we could have won Dover. We've been very close on a number of races that we've just missed by a little bit, either a two-tire call got in our way or a four-tire call got in our way, or staying on the race track when we should have come in, or coming in when we should have stayed out. We've just seemed to be off a little and it's not something that was foreseeable, but sometimes you can flip the coin and you can get heads three times in a row, and other times it will wind up tails. Some of the calls that they made have not worked out as well as they should be expected to on average and that too will change. It'll swing back in our favor next year."
HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THIS YEAR PERSONALLY?
JACK ROUSH: "I keep waiting for the next race to see it turn and, of course, it hasn't turned. We won the biggest race of the year, which is the Daytona 500, and that's the first time we've ever won that race in February. So that was certainly a great start, and then we won the second race at Fontana with Matt, and that comes off winning Homestead last fall - so we had three in a row, and Carl won the most races last year and won the most races in the chase, so we were well on our way through Fontana. But we hit a brick wall when we got to Las Vegas and it didn't improve when we got to Atlanta and Bristol was a disappointment, so the year has been up in some regards, but it's primarily not been what we'd hoped for based on wanting to continue the momentum we had last year and seeing that frustrated."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GOING BACK TO TEXAS?
GREG BIFFLE: "I'm really excited about going to Texas. I feel like that's our next opportunity to win one of these races this season. Talladega is always such a wild card that you never know what can happen, but I look forward to Texas because we were strong in the spring. That doesn't always mean you're strong in the fall, but I like that race track. I like the way it races. I think we've been learning with our cars and I can't wait for Texas. The last three races of the season are real exciting for me - Texas, Phoenix and Homestead are great tracks and I'm looking forward to it."
ARE YOU STILL EXPERIMENTING WITH SETUPS?
GREG BIFFLE: "I'm excited to try some of these things we've been looking at trying and seeing how our car drives - seeing if we can make some more gains like we did at Kansas and start incorporating things to be better. Practice is kind of like our two-hour test session to see what we can learn, but at the same time get ready for that race while looking forward to gathering some information for next year, too."
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE THE TRACK PRESENTS?
GREG BIFFLE: "That race track has a real narrow backstretch and the banking falls away real dramatically coming off of two. It's like they didn't keep enough banking far enough around the corner. It's like you've got all this banking and you're going around the corner and then, all of a sudden, it's flat. There's still like 1/16th of the corner left and the banking is gone, so it kind of dumps you out, almost like there's a D-shape, so the exit of turn two is very difficult. It makes it hard to come off that turn, but three and four are more straightforward with the corner entry and corner exit into that double kind of D-shaped frontstretch. Getting into turn one is pretty good, but there's a big bump in the middle of the corner. It's like a seam that runs from the bottom to the top and the further up you get the bigger the bump is, so, obviously, running up top it's easier on the corner exit of two because you follow that radius more and you're more turned before the exit, versus running the bottom and that banking falling away. Every race track kind of has its tricks and one of them is to get across that bump good if you're running up the race track, and if you're running at the bottom to be turning good enough to be able to come off the bottom and have momentum down that backstretch.
THEY'VE GOT SOME NICE TROPHIES THERE AS WELL, DON'T THEY?
GREG BIFFLE: "The qualifying trophy is like a $10,000 shotgun - it's a really prestigious shotgun - and then you get the six-shooters for the win. When I won there the trophy was a pair of boots, and it's just really cool. I'd sure like to have a pole there, but I wouldn't mind winning a set of six-shooters to go with my boots."
-credit: ford racing