Greg Biffle, who piloted the No. 99 Roush Racing entry this weekend in Phoenix, passed Jack Sprague on lap 81 and led the remainder of the 159-lap event to gain the second Craftsman Truck Series victory for Ford Racing in 2001. Biffle quickly moved up from his 11th-place starting position and held off the late-race charges of Sprague to win his first Craftsman Truck Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in fives starts as the race ended with a green-white-checkered finish.
Biffle recorded the 16th victory of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career and his second win of the season in four starts. This was Ford's second truck win of the 2001 season, and its 54th since he series' inception in 1995. For Roush Racing, the all-time winningest team in Craftsman Truck Series history, it scored its 28th win in the Truck Series.
GREG BIFFLE -99-Eldon Ford F-150 (Finished 1st)
YOU PICKED UP YOUR FIRST TRUCK WIN AT PHOENIX TODAY. "It was a great run. The Eldon Ford F-150 was really good right from the start. The guys did a great job in the pits and I need to thank Jack Roush and the whole organization for letting me drive these things. The motor ran great today, and Sprague is a tough competitor. It was my first win out here in Phoenix in front of all of these great fans. I love Phoenix and I love coming out here and I hope to make it number two tomorrow in the Busch race."
YOU HELD OFF JACK SPRAGUE ON THE NUMEROUS RESTARTS AT THE END. "We've got a great gear combination for restarts in the truck series. It's always worked well for us, but I'll tell you, Sprague kinda figured it out because he was on me on the last couple of starts. I was still able to get away from him a little bit, just enough. And the 14 was up there putting pressure on him and that's what I needed."
WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY FOR TOMORROW'S RACE? "We definitely learned what the track is going to be like and possibility what it's going to do. It helped me qualify fourth in the Busch race. I qualified the truck right before the Busch car and that helped me. I can definitely see where running two series helps a driver with experience each weekend at each track."
RICK CRAWFORD -14-Milwaukee Electric Tool Ford F-150 (Finished 3rd) -
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE PIT STOP THAT PUT YOU BEHIND ON LAP 72? "It was my fault. I drove the Milwaukee Electric Tool Ford over the line. It was tough to see in that sun and the windshield was dirty, but that was my fault. My guys pushed it back and got me back out there. I had a really strong truck today. I owe that to Ray Stonkus and Ernie Elliott. It was an other good run, another top five. I don't know, maybe we couldn't beat Sprague or Biffle. One of them is a champion and the other is running for the championship this year. It's not bad to finish third behind those guys."
YOU CLOSED THE GAP, BUT YOU WEREN'T ABLE TO TAKE SECOND PLACE IN THE CLOSING LAPS. "I was ruining about the same speed and they were probably trying to block as I much as I was. I gave it all I had. I whipped the horse the last 30 laps and that was all Secretariat had today."
DID YOU THINK THAT WITH THE FRESHER TIRES YOU HAD THAT YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO CHALLENGE FOR THE WIN ON THE RESTARTS? "Phoenix is so hard on your tires. You sorta lose the grip because the track is so abrasive. We were closing the gap, but it was a little at a time. We gave it all we had. We needed those cautions because it cooled the tires and we had more trucks to pass than they did. Finishing third behind the previous champion and the future champion, maybe we can we a champion next year."
TERRY COOK -29-Power Stroke Diesel Ford F-150 (Finished 7th) - "We were just out of tires. We burned the tires off the thing. I was hustling the thing as hard as I could with 30 laps to go trying to catch Jack and Greg, and I think ran the tires off of it. Man, what a disappointment. I'm mad at myself. I let three trucks get by on a green-white-checkered deal. We just didn't have enough tires to turn the thing. I was trying to block the inside and one truck went on the outside of me. We had another caution, so now I'm sitting fifth and I figured at least we'll salvage a top five out of it. I went down into Turn 1 on the restart and the 92 passed me on the outside so I went in low, protecting the bottom, and I looked in the mirror and he's going up top, the 41 is. So, I figured I'd slide up the track and block him, but we were just out of tires. We slid up the track and my truck wouldn't cut, so he drove down under me and we ended up seventh. We're definitely disappointed in the run because we thought that we would end up with a top-five finish. We raced good. We kinda struggled in practice and qualifying, but we had a strong race truck and that's something to be proud of. We were kinda conservative at the same time because we have to run the same truck at Fontana."
WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU AND STACY COMPTON AT THE END? "He got on the outside of me and got a run on me in Turn 4 with about eight laps to go and I didn't know that he was there. My spotter was having a hard time seeing down at that end of the track with where they're positioned. She said something like, 'outside,' but it wasn't really clear and then Stacy and I came together. No harm, no foul. On the restart there he thought he was supposed to line up in front of me and I thought I was in front of him, and NASCAR was playing games back and forth before it got sorted out. It was just a friendly gesture from old truck days."
JON WOOD -50-Eldon Ford F-150 (Finished 14th) - "We started the race way too loose. We lost all of our track position and we just could never get it back. That and some of the guys I was running with weren't giving an inch even when I had the line. I'd lose a spot here and there and I just could never get it back. I was just too loose and then we came in and made it too tight. I couldn't keep it on the bottom, so it was just a day of struggle."
DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING TODAY TO HELP YOU IN THE FUTURE? "I think we learned some things for next year. Now we have to focus our attention to California, and we normally run good on speedways, so we'll see if we can't end the season on a good note." WERE YOU ABLE TO USE BIFFLE FOR HELP THIS WEEKEND? "He helped me out a ton. He came over after the first practice when we were struggling and told me how to drive this place and that was a big benefit. I guess it's just tough being a rookie."
RICK CRAWFORD PRESS CONFERENCE
WHAT HAPPENED ON YOUR PIT STOP. "I mentioned before the race started that the only way the Milwaukee Electric Tool Ford would win was to have a perfect day, and the driver made a big mistake on pit road and overshot the pit. I've got an excuse; the sun was in my eyes. We pushed it back and lost eight or nine spots. We were strong. We came back up through the field, though. To finish up third behind last year's champion and three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion after next week, that ain't too bad for my race team."
TALK ABOUT THE CHARGE YOU MADE AT THE END. "I charged up to third and they were pretty far distance ahead of me and I wasn't going to wear out my horse. When I saw the caution come out ahead of me, I think the first one came out at 20 to go and then at 10, but I whipped Secretariat all she had and all she could do was third today."