Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top-12 heading into this weekend's Coke Zero 400. He conducted a Q&A session at Daytona International Speedway to discuss the weekend. "It's slick. It seems...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top-12 heading into this weekend's Coke Zero 400. He conducted a Q&A session at Daytona International Speedway to discuss the weekend.
"It's slick. It seems like the old slip and slide is out there. I'm out of breath because I ran all the way over here to make sure I got here in time. It was pretty uneventful for us, other than I almost ran into the 39. He got a little bit loose getting in the corner and kind of shut it down. That's the way accidents happen, a chain-reaction, because he came out of the gas because he got a little loose. Thank goodness there was nobody right on me, but, other than that it was pretty uneventful. The car drives pretty good. This is my 500 car we brought back. It ran good in the 500, obviously, so we figured we can improve on it a little bit here and make it a little bit better. I'm pretty happy with the first practice. The weather is holding off, so that's good for us."
DO YOU FEEL A NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE IN SPEED WITH THE BIGGER PLATE? "Yeah, I think it's tremendously faster. It's a lot faster. I didn't look at the lap time exactly, but Erwin told me it was about a second faster. You can kind of feel the sensation of speed inside the car that we're running a little bit faster."
IS THAT A GOOD OR BAD THING? "I don't know that it's gonna change all that much. Faster when you're racing is kind of always better, but that's not always the case. What it's gonna do is give the car more acceleration. We're all gonna run down in the corner two or three-wide, bunched up, and after we get about 10 laps on our tires - usually after about three laps here everybody is coming out of the gas - but what's gonna happen is everybody is gonna be coming out of the gas because their car is slipping and sliding, but when you go back to the gas it's gonna have a lot more acceleration, so I think you're gonna be able to complete passes easier with that extra power. If the guy beside you can't get the gas down because he's sliding or he's a little loose or tight - whatever the case is - and you can get the gas down, I think the better handling cars are gonna have more of an advantage with that bigger plate because they're gonna be able to put the gas down and accelerate away from the guy they're racing with. We'll just wait and see. That's pretty fast for July. July isn't usually quite as fast as February, obviously, so I wouldn't rule out somebody changing the plate yet, but the cars are running pretty fast right off."
WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THE NATIONWIDE STUFF TODAY? "This is a tough place to introduce a car in July. If you look back at the last four Nationwide races here, I ran a couple of them, and they are - by far - the hardest cars to drive. For some reason, here in July, they are a handful. Remember Dale Jr. drove away from the field and the field got strung out? We never see that in restrictor plate racing, so, that being said, to bring a brand new car here with no history is gonna be tough, and they're finding out it's tough. All I can say is that I'm happy I'm not running this Nationwide race. I love running Nationwide races, and they'll get them handling better and driving better, but nobody knows what to expect and nobody knows how they're gonna drive. It's really hot and slick out there. The Cup cars are a stinking handful, so I can only imagine how hard it's gonna be for those guys."
DOES THAT 3 WRANGLER CAR BRING BACK ANY MEMORIES FOR YOU? "Yeah, I remember seeing that car years ago. It's a figure of our history that kind of stands out, and it's kind of neat seeing those retro paint schemes, whether it's the Tide car or Valvoline or the Wrangler car. It's pretty cool to see that."
AT THE END OF LAST WEEK'S RACE YOU WERE THE ONLY RFR CAR ON THE LEAD LAP. THERE WAS A LOT MADE OUT OF IT. WAS THAT AS BAD AS IT SEEMED? "Yeah. It's as bad as it seems. There's no doubt we're struggling and some of it was just particular situations. My car was just really tight, tight, tight, tight. We kind of made a lunge for life at it, which Erwin wanted to make an adjustment - raise or lower the track bar and take wedge in or out. I don't remember what we did, but that got it tighter. Then I was dead in the water, so to speak. That hurt me. I was running about a half-a-lap down from the leader at that point, kind of maintaining, but after that we just dropped like a rock. If it wasn't for that adjustment and, if the caution would have come out at the end, I certainly think we could have finished 12th or somewhere in there - maybe even up further because we were faster than a lot of those cars at the back of the lead lap. We just never got a chance to catch up because we had to start at the back by getting that lucky dog on that last caution with 18 to go. One more caution and I think we could have been nearing a top-10 finish, but woulda, shoulda, coulda."
BOBBY LABONTE IS MAKING HIS 600TH START ON SATURDAY. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF STILL RACING AT 46 YEARS OF AGE? "I've thought about what you do later on. I look at Mark and these other guys and racing is just in your blood. I think it's just so hard to just up and quit what you love to do. Everybody says, 'Oh yeah, it would be great to sit on a beach with an umbrella and a drink,' but that's great for about a week or two weeks, maybe - shorts and flip-flops everyday - but, at some point, it's like, 'OK, I'm ready to do something.' I'll tell you what, I got a little taste of it last week at Loudon when I sat up on the pit box in the Nationwide race. I sat up there twiddling my thumbs. Everybody is coming out to driver intros. I'm sitting on the pit box watching driver intros, and watching them get in the cars and all that. Normally, I'm sitting in my bus watching on TV or something, but sitting on the pit box I was mad that I wasn't able to be doing that on that day, and I'm sitting on the other side of the fence, so to speak. So I can imagine what it's gonna be like when you have to hang that hat up, or you're gonna go do something else. It's probably tough to do."
HAS ANYTHING TURNED WITH BAKER CURB AND THE 27 CAR? "I keep hearing rumors, but haven't got anything put together. They said they might have something for Loudon, and then they said they might have something for Chicago. Since it hasn't materialized yet, it may not be coming together, but I know they're working on it. I wouldn't be surprised if we ran a few more before the end of the season. I know they're working hard at it, and I'd love to get back in the car."
IS THIS PLACE LIKE A WILDCARD? "This is completely different in our sport. When you look at the rundown in February and look at the rundown at Talladega, you look at the rundown of this July race and the Talladega race in the fall, the top 10 don't look like the normal top 10 of any of the other race tracks we go to. It's kind of all mixed up and that's because of luck and a lot of it is the right line at the right time, a lot of it is missing the accident. There are so many luck factors involved. The cars, when they're on this big race track and they've got a restrictor plate on them, it's less of a factor. Everybody is more so close to the same speed it's just a matter of what lane you're in at what time. The speed of the car makes a difference, certainly. If you have a car that's not very fast, it's gonna make it difficult to get up there. But this is a different kind of speed, I should say, than Loudon. Loudon is a different kind of speed. Loudon is a place where the car really has to stick to the race track and handle. This is a different kind of speed. It still has to handle and all that, but this restrictor plate trim is a lot different."
ANY DIFFERENCE IN ONE AND TWO WITH THE PATCH? "Not really, because that patch is sort of in the center and sometimes you run over it with one wheel on the edge of it. It was more in the middle of the car and I saw the patch go by a few times and it really appears like it's going about through the center of the car still, maybe the right-front tire going over it, but we really don't notice it that much. You can see it, but it's really not a factor. It's not big enough to have any grip to it."
THE SLICKNESS IS NORMAL DAYTONA? "Yeah, that's just normal Daytona in July."
-source: ford racing