Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion, held a Q&A session. GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion YOU HAD A GOOD ALL-STAR RACE. DOES THAT GIVE YOU SOME CONFIDENCE FOR THE 600? "It really does. We were just ...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion, held a Q&A session.
GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion
YOU HAD A GOOD ALL-STAR RACE. DOES THAT GIVE YOU SOME CONFIDENCE FOR THE 600? "It really does. We were just extremely happy with our car right when we unloaded it. Just like I said last week after the all-star race, our test didn't go as good as we wanted it to. We were about a 15th-place car, maybe a 20th-place car in the test, and then we unloaded for the all-star event and the car was really fast. We're extremely happy with that. We don't really know where we picked up the speed. The guys made a few adjustments and learned a little bit with the data as they crunched the numbers back at the shop over our two-day test and they came up with something slightly different, not much, and boy that was really it. It made the difference. Again, today off the truck it's an extremely good race car, extremely fast, not the same car we obviously ran here Saturday night, but it's the car we tested here. It's just fast. It's fast in race trim, fast in qualifying trim. I just wish that Saturday night race was a points race. That would give me a second-place finish and get me headed back up in the right direction."
IS THIS CAR JUST HIT-AND-MISS? KASEY WENT FROM DEPRESSED TO WINNING. "Yes. These cars are very, very temperamental -- very temperamental. Never before have we been putting in 1/32nd shims in and out and adjusting on the cars ever so slightly. It's so easy to get off just a tiny, tiny bit. It is so easy. And a perfect example of that was Sunday night at California Speedway. We were dominating the race, just driving away. We put two tires on and everybody else put four on, and just driving off, three-tenths faster than the field. Carl Edwards was struggling to get grip, or whatever his problem was, then it rains out. Monday, the sun comes out and we were terrible. I think we finished 15th and just struggling to keep our head above water, or somewhere around there, and Carl just drove off and embarrassed us. So the same thing with Kasey. Just the change in temperature of the race track, I'm sure they made adjustments on it. But you're not allowed to change a lot of stuff. I don't even know if you're able to change anything from the showdown to the all-star race, but it could have just been the temperature drop. It got nighttime and he got out in front in clean air. He had four segments to adjust on it and they got it right. We just made a mistake between the third and fourth segment. We had an issue with the tires we put on. I'm not gonna sit here and say we would have beat him no matter what, but we had a little issue and we weren't able to capitalize on it. We could right at the beginning. I was a lot faster, but then our car started getting tight quick and couldn't get him. Track position is a lot. That meant a lot and they had three or four times to adjust on it -- short, short runs and Kasey probably kept tweaking on that thing. And then the temperature probably played into his hand. Their car accelerated in the nighttime."
WILL YOU HAVE TO TAKE MORE CHANCES IN THE 600 TO MAINTAIN TRACK POSITION? "Yeah, definitely keeping track position is gonna be the key. The other thing you've got to remember is we're gonna have 43 cars out there, so you're constantly going to be in traffic, probably. Once we get, say 20 to 30 laps into a run, you're gonna constantly be in traffic. The same thing happened in Darlington. Kyle Busch drove off a little bit and then when he got in traffic, he couldn't pass them and I ran him down. I was right on his bumper. Then I was leading and I'd catch lap traffic and I couldn't get around them, they'd run me down right away. So I see that same situation happening on Sunday night, although this race track is much, much bigger. But what will enhance the racing is more cars on the race track to where everybody is in traffic. Right now, you put one car out in clean air, yeah, he has an advantage. But you put 43 cars on that race track and you get more than a 30-lap run, you're gonna be in traffic the whole night and that's gonna kind of be the equaling factor for all the cars to try and see some racing."
YOU FELT LIKE YOU HAD A LOOSE WHEEL IN THE LAST SEGMENT LAST WEEK. HAS THAT BEEN LOOKED AT IN HOUSE? "Yeah. It's been tough for us. We've had some problems and we think we have a parts issue. We've changed all of our wheel studs and lugnuts out for the 600, but we did get back to the shop and we're finding issues with all the cars, not just my car. So we think that possibly the speed, the vibration, the loading -- you know this place is really, really fast and so is Darlington. These are probably two of the highest loads we see on the right side tires are these two race tracks because of the speeds, especially Darlington. Darlington was over the top on cornering speed on those right side tires, so that is gonna pry on those wheel studs and lugnuts and put a tremendous amount of force on them. It's gonna make them come loose if the hardware is not mating properly. There's probably a whole science to this -- thread-pitch and lugnut and the amount of slop on the stud it has and there's probably just a whole thing to that we certainly don't understand and everybody else, but we think there is a hardware issue with what we were using, possibly, so we've switched out to what we've used in the past for the 600, and we're switching all of our cars back out. We switched four of our cars over a while back to some different hardware that seemed to be on and off. The tire changers liked the equipment better and, possibly, that might be some of our issues, we think. But that was my question, 'How many other teams in the garage are using this equipment?' And that question we can't answer. We know there are other teams using it because we see the name on the boxes, on their pit carts and everything else, so we're just taking all precautions for the 600 to go back to we know what works, we know we've used this in the past and have never really had issues."
IS THERE ANY CHANGE YOU CAN THINK OF THAT WOULD MAKE THE CAR LESS TEMPERAMENTAL? "You know what? I'm probably not the best guy for that. Maybe some of our engineering team might have a better idea of what makes the thing so temperamental. We're still trying to figure that out. We're trying to pinpoint that, almost pin the tail on the donkey almost. We're still learning. There's so much to learn about this car. We've got a long ways to go. I wouldn't really change anything. I think it's a pretty good platform to build on. There are things we could probably change to make the car racier, if you will, and possibly changing the splitter height might be one of those things, but we've spent a lot of time and a lot of technology getting it ironed out where it's at, so it's tough to just go and start making major changes on that car. But, in the future, I'm sure NASCAR is gonna tweak on that thing."
KYLE BUSCH SAID SUNDAY WOULD BE THE SAME AS THE ALL-STAR RACE. YOU SAY TRAFFIC MIGHT MAKE A DIFFERENCE? "Yeah. You've got to remember, I led the third segment and the 31 car was in the middle of three and four and I was in the center of the backstretch. That's 20 laps and I caught him. So, if there were 43 cars, I would have been passing lapped cars at that point. That's what we all see when we see races. I think of Richmond or some place like that, then it puts side-by-side racing back in it. The reason why it looks so boring is it's a mile-and-a-half race track, the fastest car got to the front and the thing kind of strung out. We only had 22 cars in the field, so you're not gonna see a whole lot of racing because there wasn't enough cars. Now, if it was the Bud Shootout and you have restrictor plate cars, and they're all bunched up and there are only 20 of them, you're gonna see something exciting. But on a downforce race track, I don't think you're gonna see a lot of exciting stuff in 20 laps with only 20 cars. I think it's gonna take the night. I think it's gonna be a good race. I think you're gonna see passing. You're gonna see strategy -- definitely. You're gonna see two tires, four tires, no tires. And then a guy is gonna have to come and put tires on and he's gonna be back in traffic. It's gonna be exciting. There are gonna be 15 cars a lap down, 10 cars a lap down. Restarts. It's gonna be a bunch of stuff going on."
-credti: ford racing