Biffle Hopes Lowe's Motor Speedway Test Kicks Off a Winning Month of May 2-Day Session The Series' Fifth Scheduled Test Of 2007 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 7, 2007) -- He's a two-time defending race champion at Darlington Raceway on a team...
Biffle Hopes Lowe's Motor Speedway Test Kicks Off a Winning Month of May 2-Day Session The Series' Fifth Scheduled Test Of 2007
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 7, 2007) -- He's a two-time defending race champion at Darlington Raceway on a team determined to master NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow.
But on Monday, Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ameriquest Ford) sank in a chair, grabbed a microphone and discussed, among other topics, his most pressing business -- a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
The track is hosting 52 teams for a two-day session ahead of the non-points NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on Saturday, May 19, and the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 27. Monday marked the first test day, and Biffle visited the media center prior to heading to work.
"The second day is when we really, really feel like we get a chance to see what our car set up is like," Biffle said, citing the track's tendency to increase speed as it absorbs tire rubber, especially at night.
"And we're going to be testing two cars; one brand new car that's the best in the wind tunnel to date, and those are things you like to hear because we're constantly trying to build a better mouse trap."
That fast, new Roush Fenway Racing car just happens to be one of Biffle's. He and crew chief Pat Tryson planned to spend most of the two-day test comparing it against a proven car -- the one Biffle drove to a sixth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in April.
"So we're going to compare the two cars," he added, "pick a car for the AllStar race, pick a car for the 600 out of this test, and then, you know, we'll go to those races the best prepared, the best setup that we can possibly come up with in these two days of testing."
This week's test is the fifth of seven NASCAR-scheduled series tests in 2007. Teams will run the current race car at Lowe's and other 1.5-mile tracks while phasing in the Car of Tomorrow -- the next-generation race car and the culmination of a seven-year project by NASCAR's Research & Development Center -- in 16 of 36 series events this season.
A feeling of unfinished business -- a good run gone sour 24 hours before -- had Biffle waxing philosophic Monday before he embarked on testing. He consistently ran in the top 10 in Sunday's rain-delayed event at Richmond International Raceway before late contact with Jeff Green (No. 66 Best Buy Chevrolet) limited him to a 19th-place finish. And he feels he was just as fast as the front-running trio from Hendrick Mototsports -- winner Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet), second-place finisher Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet) and fourth-place finisher Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet).
"I tell you, to be honest with you, I was a little bit better than the 48 this weekend at times," Biffle said. "I don't know if they worked on their chassis or not, but, you know, I was as good as the 5. The 24 was right in front of me for the whole run, and I caught the 48 and passed him at one run. And then we had a couple bad pit stops in a row and I got cycled back a little bit and then got spun out by the 66. So I don't think we were that far off at Richmond."
Enter this Saturday's sold-out Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington, a place where Biffle has dominated for the past two seasons. This week's event is the fifth for the Car of Tomorrow this season and the first at Darlington. Biffle hopes to snare his third consecutive victory there -- a feat accomplished only by Gordon and seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt -- at the track 'Too Tough To Tame.'
"People talk over and over again about how difficult that racetrack is," Biffle said of Darlington's 1.366-mile, egg-shaped surface, "and that's one of the things that I like about it."
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Testing Fast Facts
What: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Testing
Where: Lowe's Motor Speedway
Track Layout: 1.5-mile D-shaped oval
When: Monday and Tuesday.
Times: 2-9 p.m., on Monday; 1-9 p.m., on Tuesday
Who: 52 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams