Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, held a Q&A session Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. He spoke after practice about this weekend's race and other issues. DO YOU GO BACK AND LOOK AT WRECKS LIKE TALLADEGA? "I just saw the replays...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, held a Q&A session Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. He spoke after practice about this weekend's race and other issues.
DO YOU GO BACK AND LOOK AT WRECKS LIKE TALLADEGA? "I just saw the replays is about all I've looked at. There might be some more work with the roof flaps that need to be done with these cars. I don't remember the old car getting turned around backwards and up like that right away, but they're going pretty fast so they got turned around backwards pretty fast. Normally, you go sideways for a little bit before it ends up backwards and cuts the speed off. Those spins were pretty fast to be backwards, so you're pretty much full-speed backwards, so it may be hard to keep those cars on the ground. That's just restrictor plate racing. We could have a half-dozen of them upside-down, or we could have none for a year or two. It all just depends."
IT DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE BUMP DRAFTING RULES? "No, that had nothing to do with it. There was no new bump drafting rule. All I heard is everybody talk about a new bump draft rule, there was no new rule. You've never been able to bump draft in the corner. They've said it for the last 10 restrictor plate races -- no bump drafting in the corner. Granted, guys have bump drafted in the corner and not been penalized for it, but there has always been the rule of no bump drafting in the corners. That's what they've said."
WHY ENFORCE IT NOW? "Keep in mind nobody got penalized at Talladega, but because that's what causes about 70 percent of the accidents is the guy pushes on a guy in the middle of the corner. For instance, the previous Talladega race when Carl spun me out it wrecked half the field. He tried to push me in the middle of the corner. NASCAR has to say, 'Don't push in the middle of the corner. We've told you over and over and over, do not do it. Now, we're gonna penalize you if you do it.' They could have penalized us before because they did tell us, but they elected not to and now they've elected to say and put it out there that 'if you do, we could penalize you.' They didn't say they would. They said they're gonna be watching very close. I pushed Jeff Gordon a couple times in the entry part of the corner -- didn't actually push him but touched him, just riding the brake pedal and trying to stay right close to him. I think it's a matter of a guy abusing that just shoving them all the way around the corner down the straightaway and driving away from the field. And here's the other thing, when two cars do it, it's hardly ever a problem going straight or in the corner. We've been successful about it in the corner when two cars do it. When three cars do it, it's gonna be a wreck, especially in the corner. You get three guys bumper-to-bumper in the corner, bang, you're gonna wreck. Down the straightaway we're having a hard enough time managing it -- three and four pushing each other -- you see the line looking all nervous going down the straightaway and that's because everybody is against everybody's bumper, and they just simply want when the corner comes to quit doing that. Be as aggressive as you want, but don't be hitting the guy in the corner. A lot of people criticized it, but it didn't affect the racing. The only thing pushing in the corner does is gets two guys to break away from the pack for half-a-straightaway. That's the only thing it does."
DID IT AFFECT HOW THE RACE PLAYED OUT WITH SINGLE-FILE RACING? "No. Remember in 2007 when we were single-file up against the outside groove? I was running fourth. I was smiling because we were gonna end up finishing, no wreck, everybody is staying straight, and then all of a sudden guys started dropping down on the bottom. I knew that if we all stayed up at the top the bottom row couldn't get a run, and I think Michael Waltrip or David Reutimann blew up in front of me, but we were running single-file against the wall when that happened, so we've done that before. We've done that a lot, and that race track has taught us that you can get up there and hold off the guys behind you. That's all we were doing. When you're back there in 25th you're frustrated because you can't go, but that's a product of what we've learned."
AT WHAT POINT DOES IT NOT BECOME ACCEPTABLE TO SIMPLY SAY, 'THAT'S JUST RESTRICTOR PLATE RACING?' "I don't know what we can do to change it. We try all kinds of stuff constantly to make our cars faster. We bump draft. We push. We figure out if we get two of them hooked together we can drive away from the field. We're always learning. We learn if we get up against the outside wall it keeps the guys on the bottom from getting a run on us for some reason -- because the air buffeting off the left side of the car doesn't give the guys enough to get up there. We've learned all kinds of things. That's just the evolution of restrictor plate racing. We can't turn the clock back four years to how we ran here in 2005 at Texas, when I won in the spring and Carl won in the fall. We ran really good and the racing was different then. We can't reproduce that, so whatever expectation you have of five races ago, it's hard to reproduce that when we continue to learn and do different stuff."
HOW WAS YOUR CAR TODAY? "My car is really good. I'm really happy with it. We were second on the speed chart. I think we can make it a little bit better for qualifying and looking over our qualifying notes from Texas, we think we may not make the mistake we've made in the past and hopefully have a chance at being on the front row at least.'
YOU AND YOUR TEAMMATES HAD LUGNUT ISSUES HERE IN THE SPRING. WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR SUNDAY? "I'm real excited, especially the way the car is running. A lot of places we've been fast in the spring and gone back and haven't been fast in the fall, so this is an exception. That's good for us. At this race track we're fast now. This is the car I almost won the Kansas race with earlier this year, so I'm pretty happy. It's a good car. I like the car and the car is running good."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT DANICA PATRICK POSSIBLY COMING TO NASCAR? "I think it's great for our sport to offer drivers from all walks of life, whether it's Formula 1, any kind of open-wheel racing, I think it's great. This is a tough business and a tough sport and people come over here and learn. Tony Stewart was successful at it and other drivers have had moderate success, so there's no reason why a driver can't come in and be competitive in one series and work their way to another."
CAN SHE HANDLE DOING INDY CAR AND STOCK CARS IN THE SAME SEASON? "I think so because I don't know a lot about the Indy Car Series schedule, but I know they don't run as many races as we do and they have weeks off, so I would think that she should be able to run -- obviously not both full-time -- but be able to run some races for sure."
WOULD YOU BE COMFORTABLE IF SHE RAN DAYTONA AS HER FIRST RACE? "I would be. That's a pretty tough spot to be in because restrictor plate racing is a different animal altogether. It's almost a bad influence to have a restrictor plate race for your first time thinking, 'That's the way these cars drive,' because it's a whole different mindset. If you historically get out the finishing order from restrictor plate races, they don't look like normal finishes from our meat and potatoes race tracks. That's the first thing that comes to mind with me is for your very first time being in restrictor plate trim is different. We don't draft on a race track like this (Texas). We try and get away from the other car, whereas it's different at Daytona. I'll be OK with it, but I think it would be difficult for somebody. I think it would be for me if I look back at how I got started."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE BANQUET BEING IN VEGAS? "I'm a little bit more of a Vegas guy than New York. I don't have anything against New York. I enjoy going there, but it's cramped and busy and all that. I love to gamble, so I don't know if Vegas is good or bad for me."
-credit: gm racing