Fontana: Ford - Biffle, Goss Saturday interview

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Grainger Taurus, finds himself in 22nd place in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings, despite running only eight of the nine series races to date. Biffle, a main contender for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award,...

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Grainger Taurus, finds himself in 22nd place in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings, despite running only eight of the nine series races to date. Biffle, a main contender for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award, is ahead of 17 other full-time series regulars who have competed in every event. He, along with crew chief Randy Goss, spoke about the team's recovery since Las Vegas.

GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Grainger Taurus:

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE WAY YOU'VE REBOUNDED SINCE MISSING THE LAS VEGAS RACE?

"It shows how hard these guys are working. This is one of our newest races we have this weekend and we think we're getting a handle on what we need to bring every week. This is the first week we got to go and test at Kentucky and we think we've learned a little bit from being out here. I think the setup we found at Kentucky is what we're gonna use here on Sunday. We tried a conventional setup like every other one of our teams is running and it doesn't seem to be as good when we put what I would call an odd-ball setup and not something more streamlined. That seems to be better so I think we're gonna stick with it."

ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU'VE JUMPED SO HIGH IN THE STANDINGS SO FAST?

"Yes, I am. We pulled out of it with a 13th (Atlanta), 12th (Darlington) and fifth (Bristol) and that was pretty remarkable. We would have had a good run at Talladega too, if we hadn't broken a ball joint. I'm learning a lot. We would have had a lot better run at Martinsville if I wouldn't have taken the spring rubber out. There are just a lot of things I'm learning not to do the next time we go to these places, so it's gonna help us in the future."

THE FACT YOU REALLY DIDN'T HAVE NOTES OF ANY KIND TO FALL BACK ON, HAS THAT MADE THIS SURGE MORE SATISFYING?

"Absolutely and we're just gonna keep digging like we have every week because that kind of effort is really paying off."

IS IT NICE TO BE BACK OUT WEST?

"Yeah, it is. I like coming to California. I've always enjoyed it out here and we get to come out this way a few times with Phoenix, here and Sonomoa, so it's a lot of fun."

YOU'VE GOT A CAST ON YOUR LEFT ARM. WHAT HAPPENED?

"I just sprained my wrist. It's the stupidest thing in the world. You know how people say, 'they just fell down'. Well, I fell down. I just slipped and fell out of the motorhome and caught myself wrong on my wrist. I just bent it backwards and sprained it. It's just swollen up and it's aggravating more than anything. It doesn't hinder me to drive or anything, I've got tons of grip, but it hurts if I jar it or hit it on something. It doesn't hurt to use it, but it hurts if I hit it on the seat or the steering wheel, so I've got this on to protect it. I did it on Tuesday, but I'll be good by Richmond. It's not really affecting me at all here. I've got great grip with my left hand. I'm driving with my left hand when I'm shifting gears and it doesn't bother me at all. It's just kind of annoying."

IT'S A GOOD THING THIS ISN'T WATKINS GLEN OR SONOMA.

"Yeah, if we were there it would be a little more of a nuisance."

RANDY GOSS , Crew Chief - No. 16 Grainger Taurus:

ARE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW QUICKLY YOU'VE TURNED THINGS AROUND?

"I don't know if we've really turned them around to where we want for sure. The team has been working hard and we've been running a little bit better, but, like yesterday, we fired off pretty decent and were pretty high up on the board the first run. The part we're struggling the most with is when it gets down to it, all of the guys on the Cup side pick up two-tenths when it's time to go for real and we're struggling with that part of it. When it's going out and doing out deal and then when it's time to lay one down, it's been hard for us to pick up that extra tenth or extra two-tenths, so that's the level we're trying to get to."

YOU'RE AHEAD OF SOME HIGH PROFILE NAMES IN THE STANDINGS DESPITE RUNNING ONE LESS RACE. IS IT JUST A CASE OF LEARNING EACH WEEK?

"Yeah, we've been improving that way, but what's helped us with that is we've made the best of some bad days. We've had some 22nds and 21st places, where other guys have had 35th or 36th-place finishes, so the team has really made the best out of some bad days."

HAS THE JUMP FROM BUSCH TO WINSTON CUP BEEN HARDER THAN YOU THOUGHT?

"It's definitely harder than we thought. We felt we could get up there in the top 15 and compete for top-10 runs every weekend when we left the Busch Series. Of course, we had our chest all stuck out after winning the championship, but it's definitely harder than we thought. It's hard starting a team from scratch. Even when you've got the resources that we've got at Roush, it's just hard. Everybody gives you information. There's no lack of getting information, but you've still just got to go and do it yourself. You've got to get it done. You've got to get the bodies put on right and you've got to get the setups right, so it's taken us a little longer than we thought to get that stuff organized."

ASSESSING WHERE YOU'RE AT RIGHT NOW, HOW DO YOU VIEW THE REST OF THE SEASON?

"I've never left home since I was 14 without thinking that maybe we've got a chance of winning one, so that's always in the back of our mind. I think there are some other things along the way. I believe Greg has gained some respect with the way he's been racing on the race track. He's raced the speedway stuff decent and we haven't had anybody too mad at us at most of the races. He's raced the short tracks pretty good, so I think we're easing up on a lot of little things and hoping they'll come our way."

-ford racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Greg Biffle