GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Ford Taurus (Finished 4th)
SUM UP YOUR SEASON.
"It's been a great season. I felt like we should have won maybe a couple of more races. Any racer, it's in his blood to win. It seems like Scott Wimmer has been in the right spot the past couple of weeks. I crashed in Memphis and got a flat tire today. I really didn't think that my car was going to be that good in the beginning, but in any event, I got a flat tire there and lost some positions. It worked out because everybody had to stop for fuel again, a lot of guys did. Overall, the season, it's been a really up and down season for us. I would have thought that we would have had some more wins, but we had a great string of top-five finishes that pulled us back in the points race. The guys never gave up. We went through some growing pains with our engines, and it turns out that it made our engine program so much better it's unbelievable. To be able to run the gears we do at Phoenix and these tracks, it gives a statement about how well we've been running the last couple of weeks, the last half of the season. The credit to that goes to Jack. He stepped in - we were having some RPM limitations - and he corrected the problem for us. Ever since then, we've been able to put the gear to it. The body, the guys setting the cars up at the race track, and the pit stops have been unbelievable. We see some of these Busch teams have Winston Cup tire changers and jack guys come over and these guys are laying down some awesome pit stops. It takes that and it takes a whole team effort to win a championship. We've been able to do it twice now and hopefully at least once more, but maybe a couple of more times in the future. For right now, we're focused on Winston Cup racing next year. I've gained a lot of experience in the Winston Cup Series this season and learned a lot today. You just learn a lot every race racing with these guys and adjusting on the car. Just overall, I'm so excited to bring Ford its first Craftsman Truck title and Busch title. It means a lot to me. Ford's really taken care of me personally and I enjoy everything that they do for us."
"I'm really proud of Greg and the whole team. Not only is Greg the first driver to win two championships in the truck and Busch Series, but Grainger is the first sponsor to do that. Grainger was brand new when we started in the truck series in 1998. They were brand new and they thought that NASCAR would be a good place to make an impression on their customers and to develop a marketing program around that. They did a small program the first three years in the truck program, and then two years in this program. As they started the Busch program they looked forward to the Winston Cup program and committed to two years of that. There is the prospect of, I wouldn't be optimistic enough to think that Greg could win a championship in his rookie year. I wouldn't rule it out in Winston Cup, but by 2004. I'd be really disappointed if he wasn't in contention. He's learned a lot this year. The team has learned a lot. Randy has certainly mastered the Busch Series strategies now, but the Winston Cup races are longer and we're going to take a lot of the Busch Series team members with Randy and move them to Winston Cup. But, we're going to move some Winston Cup guys that have taken the cars through the tech line and have had success there. We're going to integrate them and see if we can accelerate the process. Greg is in good hands with Mark and Jeff and Matt and Kurt, who are most anxious to share with Greg next year because Greg and Randy have taken a different tact on some things than Winston Cup traditionally take. Some ways that I'm sure they're ahead. It will be great mixing the duality of experience coming from the two different directions. I can't wait for 2003."
"What happened this morning is what I expected. We've had a history of situations with NASCAR with their penalties that have impacted championships; we've had two before. I hope that Tony Stewart is able to maintain his lead to put all of this behind us. I want all of this to end so that we can start 2003 and not have this baggage with us. To get ready to go race 36 times a year for points, and you figure the additional weekends for pre-race activities that you have and the non-points races, it's a person's life. For everybody that is involved in NASCAR on a full-time basis, it's their life. To have things go wrong in your life for things that are beyond your control where you feel that things are happening bad that you can't stop, things you can't control that do you harm, for an adult is real problem and it is a problem for me. I couldn't be happier for Grainger. I couldn't be happier for Greg, for Randy, for Ford. Championships maybe don't mean as much for me as they did at one time. I've won a lot of championships. I've won championships in drag racing and road racing in two series. I've had 15-year involvement in series where we won nearly half of the races we went to and most of the championships in those periods were manufacturer and driver with many different drivers. I've had a lot of success. I'm very lucky. I've had an extraordinary year where I overcame some adversity personally, and to have the kind of success that we've had on all of the fronts makes me very, very grateful, in spite of the fact that I'm still out of control of some of the things that go wrong."
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR GREG NEXT SEASON?
"I hope and expect that he will be in contention for the Raybestos rookie championship. I expect that he will win a race, I expect that he will get a pole. I'll be disappointed if he doesn't finish top-10 in points."
"I think it may help a little bit. I think the biggest discrepancy is the wheelbase, which makes the cars drive considerably different. They get different grip in different ways. The wheelbase difference changes the downforce and aerodynamics of the cars because the nose isn't as wedged in the front; they're a little bit sleeker. I've got a better feel right now for a Busch car than a Winston Cup car. Believe it or not, a lot of people say the Winston Cup car drives more like a truck, and it has some characteristics that are more similar to the truck than the Busch car. But, it also has a lot of similarities with the Busch car. I'm prepared for the transition 100 percent because we're hoping to run 15 Busch races still. I think the extra time on the race track and the practice and the problem solving is important. Figuring out that the left-front spring was coil binding, and I could tell, or it has too much rebound in the front shocks. Those kinds of things, problem solving on the chassis, that extra time in a Busch car can help you keep your mind open more on the Winston Cup side. I hope to run some Busch race next year in conjunction with my first season. I think it will help and not distract me from finishing in the top 10 in points."
"The thing that I see is key from the team operation point of view, the owner's point of view, is to have a good sponsor like Grainger who brings you enough money that you can put the right number of people around. We integrated a number of our Winston Cup people to our Busch program in order to support Randy and Greg. Greg mentioned the engine development in the middle of the year. We had to get out the big checkbook and do some of the development in the valvetrain that had not been done in Busch engines so that we could achieve the RPM. As the engines are able to have the RPM, as they have reasonable functioning bodies with the same kind of judgements that are used by senior people that know what to do on cars, then I think the Busch transition is better at this time than it has ever been in the past. There are more adequately funded, experience-rich staffed Busch teams to support drivers, and the drivers who are able to go through that process have got a better chance of making it right away in Winston Cup."
"I was pretty confident that we were going to win and I felt that there wasn't going to be anybody that could run with us at the end. Scott Wimmer has been coming on at the end of the races real well and I made a slight air pressure adjustment there on my last stop and I knew that was the right thing to do on the car. The car was going to be really fast. It's disappointing. Not very often do you make a green-flag pit stop and finish fourth. That's pretty unusual conditions to have happen. And green-flag the entire way. We raced our way back on the lead lap and all the way back to fourth under green. That's a pretty amazing feat right there. I had to drive the car extra-hard. Even after Wimmer came and got his tires and people were cycling through, we were still one of the fastest cars on the race track. Nemechek was the only one who stopped later and got tires and passed us. That makes us feel good that we had the fastest race car today. The fastest race car doesn't always win and that's the name of our game."
WHAT DOES YOUR BUSCH TEAM LINE-UP LOOK LIKE FOR NEXT YEAR?
JACK ROUSH: "The 60 car is going to come back with Stanton Barrett next year with a new sponsor. We're talking to another driver who is in the Busch program that has sponsorship around him that's shopping for a team. If I can manage it, if it works out, I would enjoy having two-fulltime Busch programs. With rookies I think that will be better and we can move faster than if we had one. Jeff Burton hopes to come back and we're looking for sponsorship for him. We don't have that worked out yet. Greg would very much like to come back. Mark Martin would like to race a Busch program."
GREG BIFFLE: "That means five Busch teams and five Cup teams."
JACK ROUSH: "Five Busch teams and a couple of trucks hanging around. We'd go for an even dozen next year if we could work it all out with sponsorship."
WHAT ARE YOUR OFF-SEASON PLANS?
GREG BIFFLE: "We have about a month exactly. I'm just going to do the normal stuff. Next week is like we have a race; we've got the banquet. And the week after that I'm going to take a vacation for five days and then I'm going to California with some of my friends for seven days, and then it's the holiday season and then we're testing in January; it's back to racing. It's not much time off. We have about a month off and then back at it."
WHERE WILL GREG'S WINSTON CUP TEAM BE HOUSED?
JACK ROUSH: "We're completing an addition to the 99 and 6 building. The building also houses the chassis dyno, the gear and transmission department and the chassis building operation. But right across the street is the 97 and 17 building, so they're all within 100 yards. The 16 team, which will be Greg's Grainger team next year, will be as close to the 17, which is on the other side of the driveway, as it is to the 99, which is on the other end of the same building. They're all together in the same compound. All of the energy flows, and Andy, the pit crew coordinator, will serve and assist the 16 team the same as he does all of the others. All of the services will be immediately available equally for all of the teams."