GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd)
"It was so close and Regan knows that just putting the gas down a second earlier or letting off the brake and let it roll, the cars are so tight on time that you don't want to make a mistake because a small mistake puts you 15th. A tiny bit of a mistake puts you second, so it was a really good lap. The guys did a great job getting the cars ready and our cars are just running so good. I wish I had us a tick more, but I get to start on the front row still."
IS IT MORE IMPORTANT TO QUALIFY UP FRONT WHEN THE TIRE IS KIND OF AN UNKNOWN AND WHAT WILL THAT IMPACT BE? "Track position at these places here, Martinsville and a lot of these short tracks, is just super, super important. Pit stall selection is important too, having an opening out. This is a really tight pit road, even though there is a front and back you can still gain some spots on pit road. The tire change looks necessary, I guess. Maybe the Nationwide cars are using a tire harder than we seem to be. I haven't seen any indication that this tire wouldn't work for the race, but some guys ran longer than we did, so that may be part of it. Part of our sport is tire management by the driver and we don't have that anymore."
WILL A DIFFERENT TIRE CHANGE YOUR PRACTICE ROUTINE TOMORROW? "We were just talking about that, we don't feel like there's any reason to practice without having the tire. We're gonna have one set. It's gonna drive different on that tire. It's gonna be tighter or looser or it's gonna hit the race track different. The splitter is gonna be different height, so, really, we might just warm the car up and then put that set on and see how the car drives. I think after we use up that set, I don't think we'll be doing anything else."
ROBIN SAID ONE REASON FOR A NEW RIGHT SIDE TIRE WAS TEAMS SAID THE TRACK RUBBERED UP TOO MUCH. WAS THAT YOUR IMPRESSION THE LAST TIME HERE? "Yeah, what happens is concrete race tracks are kind of temperamental. When they take that kind of rubber, it just gets slick and you can't do anything. It doesn't provide any good racing side-by-side because it just gets really slicked up. Our right side splitter was thicker than when we left the race shop after the race, so it took the rubber and added it to the splitter. There was so much rubber on the track and it added it, and during post-race it was actually thicker than when we left the shop, so it definitely needed a little bit of a change. Goodyear has their hands full. This is very difficult to do what they do. They do a tremendous job, but it's really hard to play the game they're playing -- not too much rubber, now we don't have enough. This is the way it's been forever, this dust and what not. That's the way Bristol was after they re-did, and then they changed we got the tire that rubbered a bunch."
CAN YOU EXPOUND ON YOUR TIRE MANAGEMENT COMMENT? IS THE TIRE JUST HARDER THAN THE PAST? "A lot of things led up to where we're at and it would take a long time to explain how I understand it all, how the sport kind of shifted and the cars got different and all the things happened. But before, in 2004 and 2005, when I didn't have a lot of experience, I knew that if you ran too much camber and you ran the car too hard, you were gonna blow a right-front tire out and hit the fence. The same at Darlington and these other places, when you use the gas too much, when you abuse the tire, there's a penalty for it. Here, the rear tires are wearing out, so you can't run the car that loose. You've got to take care of the tire a little bit for lap 60 or 70 to have a little rubber left on it. It's tire management. That's kind of a little bit out of our hands now and I don't think it's by design, it's just the evolution of our sport in general -- the new car, new surfaces. Daytona for instance, who thought we'd be down there two cars would be fastest out of anything. I don't think any driver in the garage would have suspected that, so it's just evolution of our sport."
DOES A HARDER COMPOUND CONTRIBUTE TO THAT? "That's what happens. When you get a hard compound it has less grip, so you can drive the car kind of however you want because you can't damage the tire. It doesn't have as much grip, but if you drive it really tight or whatever, it typically doesn't really do anything."
ARE YOU SATISIFIED WITH THE GAS MAN CHANGE ON YOUR CREW? "I don't know. I'll let you know on Sunday."
WHAT WERE THE ISSUES THERE AT VEGAS AND ARE YOU CONCERNED WITH WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS? "Yeah, I'm two spots away from having to qualify with the go or go-homers, so that would definitely be a concern of mine -- having to qualify in the show, being the organization that we are and having fast cars this year. It was just a tough deal. We arguably had one of the fastest cars at Las Vegas. I felt like I was as good as Carl, maybe a little better than Tony in spots, so during a race you kind of get in a comfort zone that, 'Hey, we've got a really, really good car. Nobody in the mirror is even racing with us.' There's some comfort level there that, 'Hey, we've got a solid top five, get back in the game.' And we finished five laps down. That's hard to do when you've got a really, really fast car, but I don't know exactly all the issues of what happened. I mean, obviously, luck was not on our side either because we ran out of gas, pitted, got it running again -- we would have been fine, but then the caution came out. Then we got going again and we got the wavearound, we're five laps shorter than the field on fuel, so we get to Matt, I'm passing Matt for the lucky dog -- now we're gonna be on the lead lap. We've got to pit because we ran out of gas once and our numbers are saying we're getting decent mileage, but we pit and Jeff Gordon wrecked on the lap we pitted. So if either one of those wouldn't have happened, then we wouldn't have been in that position. There's nothing we could have really done about it."
-source: ford racing