Greg Biffle top Ford driver in Daytona Duels

Carl Edwards and Trevor Bayne both were involved in accidents in the first Duel, both however will make the Daytona 500 field.

GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 3M Ford Fusion

WALK US THROUGH THE END OF THE RACE THERE. “He (Kevin Harvick) won the Sprint Unlimited race like that and I tell you, I went all the way to the back when I started on the inside and worked my way all the way back to second. I was hoping that wasn’t going to happen today. I could see four to go and I was starting inside I thought I was dead in the water. If the bottom line hadn’t gotten going, if Juan wouldn’t have gotten his army together and made a run on the bottom I would have probably not ended in the back but not been where I was. When they finally got their run I was able to move down and get a shove from them. I was able to stay up there at the top. It seems like the top is the fastest and sometimes the bottom. When the four of us were out there on the bottom we were faster. I don’t know if anybody knows yet. We will just have to keep trying.”

Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

EARLY IN THE RACE GUYS SEEMED TO BE JUST DOING LAPS. WAS IT MERE CAUTION OR FEAR FOR A LACK OF PARTS “I wasn’t thinking about parts because my Sprint Unlimited car was pretty fast. Either way I was good. You know, the reality was that once that train got on top and lined up, the bottom couldn’t really do anything. Everybody that got out of line – Denny Hamlin got out of line running third or fourth and my spotter told me he got in line dead last –I didn’t want to do that so I just stayed in the line until it came down to it and I could make a run at the leaders. I think everybody knew that if they got out of line without half the field committing to the bottom it wasn’t going to happen.”

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCES TESTING THE VEHICLE TO RACING THE VEHICLE? “It is really hard here because at testing we were mostly single car runs and not in big packs. When you are in big packs testing you aren’t trying as hard as you can. Now we know people are trying as hard as they can because there are trophies on the line and starting position and stuff. We are getting a feel for how it really drives. They really stall easy and they won’t suck up to the guy in front of you. He pushed me up and I got close to Kevin and he just took off like he hit the gas. I looked in the mirror and was like, “Juan, where are you going? It takes time and cars to get back. You need that accordion affect to start bunching up to where it starts pushing the front cars again. That is what ends up happening.”

YOU’VE HAD TWO CHANCES TO GET AROUND HARVICK. IS THERE A PLAN C FOR SUNDAY? “I got to get to his bumper. I was on his bumper in three and four there but you just have to have some help. You gotta get that accordion affect. I didn’t think about or know what was going on. I knew there was a lot going on behind us so I didn’t think about backing up to the bumper of the 42 because I didn’t think that would be smart. You have to be in the right place at the right time. You have to get a run and have some cars with you and side draft a guy and get out front. A bunch of people wanted to know why I didn’t turn him. It doesn’t take any talent to wreck somebody for the win and wreck 20 cars behind you. You have to run as hard as you can and trade a little paint but at the same time we all have to finish.”


WHAT HAPPENED? “I don’t know exactly what happened. It looked like Denny (Hamlin) got sideways and wrecked us. That is the fourth time we have wrecked since we have been down here. I told Jimmy we wrecked four times, so we have the black flag already and the race hasn’t even started. We are getting it out of our systems. Fortunately we have a really good group of guys and have a good backup car, which is our Shootout car. We will just go get‘em in the 500. I learned a lot. If we can just have a little luck I would not count our 99 team out. It will be a good race for us.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY? “I learned some ways to patiently move to the front and I am going to use that stuff on Sunday. Hopefully the temperatures are up like they are today. It looks like it might be cloudy on Sunday but the forecast keeps changing. I think you saw today exactly what that race will look like. There will be groups of cars that separate themselves and some pit strategy and some guys that slide around and can’t keep up. I think it will make it a really dynamic, fun race.”

HOW DOES STARTING SPEEDWEEKS LIKE THIS IMPACT YOUR CONFIDENCE? “Well, we started it perfectly last year. We won the pole and everything was going smoothly and it was a terrible year. Hopefully this is a sign that this will be a great year. This is the worst speedweeks start I have ever had. I don’t think I have crashed this many race cars in two years. It has been expensive for Jack (Roush) and we have used a lot of Fastenal nuts and bolts but our guys are upbeat and ready to go race.”

LOOKED LIKE YOU GOT PULLED UP ALONGSIDE THE 51, JUST LIKE IN PRACTICE. “I don’t know exactly how come Denny got sideways there. If you look at the replay he was just out there on my right rear and got sideways and hit the right rear of the car. I am sure it was as much a surprise to him as anyone. I don’t understand it exactly. I will have to ask Denny what he felt.”

TREVOR BAYNE (No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion) – ACCIDENT QUOTES

WHAT HAPPENED? “It looked like the 11 got loose in front of us. We led for a long time there and it was easy, just train racing it seemed like. There at the end we had to make a comeback because I accidentally slid the tires coming into pit road and we had to pit for four. We finally got linked up and were catching the lead pack. We caught Carl and somebody else at the end. Once we caught them it seemed like the 11 got really loose out of turn two. I wasn’t close to pushing him or anything. He just got really sideways and he clipped Carl and spun him in front of us and we had nowhere to go. It is unfortunate because we had a fast race car and you don’t want to tear that stuff up. I know they have a good backup car for me and we will try to get it on Sunday.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SUNDAY? “I don’t know. It seems like those guys were able to mount something up on the bottom for Harvick to get the lead but it disintegrated once he got up there and pulled high. If you can get the majority of the guys to go with you it doesn’t matter which lane. That lane will move. Other than that it is a train race. I enjoyed it for the first half but at the end it made it really tough on us and it is unfortunate for our team. I wish I hadn’t slid the tires into pit road. I will take the blame for that. I won’t make that mistake again.”

ANYTHING YOU LEARNED TODAY THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW BEFORE? “Not really, watching the Sprint Unlimited I saw everything that happened today. You have to stay in line and the top lane is the fastest and wherever the majority of cars go they can make a run at it. That is how it was today.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – “We definitely needed that. We missed it a little bit and weren’t as good as we needed to be, but I’m glad we had that opportunity. I’m not happy with just surviving, I want to win, but sometimes you have to find a silver lining every once in a while. We’ll be better for the 500.”

CASEY MEARS – No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion – “It’s a great day. We got some really good news this morning from Geico that they’ve decided to run the full year, which is a huge shot in the arm for this program. We were going out obviously wanting to win the 150. We made some conservative decisions at the end to make sure we brought one home and had a good piece for the 500, but I’m real proud of the way the Geico Ford ran. It was very competitive and up front most of the time, so I’m looking forward to Sunday.”

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion – “We wanted to be careful. This is our best car by far, but when we started off the race I was a little bit free and didn’t want to take any chances. As the race got going I got shuffled to the back and then lost the lead pack, so at that point we were in trouble, but I just tried to stay as calm as I could. I was hoping there would be a caution and there was, and Frank did a good job tightening the car back up and we were able to finish 13th.”

THOUGHTS ON THE CAR? “I like the new car. That’s the hottest it’s been since we’ve been out there in a pack and we definitely learned a lot that will help us on Sunday.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion

HOW WAS IT OUT THERE TODAY? “It was okay. I obviously made a mistake on pit road. I thought I hit the number right at the yellow line and obviously hit it a tick too early. That is the first time I have been caught speeding on pit road. We learned not to do that. As long as we don’t do that Sunday we will be okay. I think our Ford was fast enough to run up front. The balance could be an issue I feel like later on in the race but all in all I think it was all good.”

IS THIS WHAT WE WILL SEE ON SUNDAY? “I don’t know. It depends. I think with a 500 mile race everyone knows that it this race was 60 laps and you have to get to 55 and then go race. As race car drivers we get a little impatient if we do 30 laps of what we did today. We will see if it lasts for all 500 miles or not.”

MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion

WHAT WAS THAT LIKE OUT THERE TODAY? “I am just really upset with myself. We didn’t know which tire was going down and I panicked. I called for four tires because I didn’t want to take the risk of ruining this car. We had speed in it and I am much happier with this car than I was with the shootout car so I feel a lot better going into Sunday than I did a couple of days ago, that is for sure.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion

IS THE CAR BEING IN ONE PIECE A CONSOLATION PRIZE TODAY? “Yeah for sure. You never know what to expect when you come to Daytona. To leave here on Thursday night with your car in one piece is good but it wasn’t the showing we wanted. We wanted to be better than that but we made one mistake early in the race when I went to the bottom and that was pretty much it for us. It is like you have to be in line and riding around at the top. You cannot get stuck on the bottom, especially if you are the last car. That is tough but we learned some stuff there. I practiced coming on pit road and we gained quite a bit of time on pit road. All in all we will take some positives out of this and get ready for the Daytona 500.”

WHAT WILL WE SEE ON SUNDAY? “I think you will see some calm and some chaos. The cars drive okay but people are going to get antsy. It isn’t much fun riding around the top like that so people will get antsy and try to make moves and handling will come into play. We will just have to wait and see.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Detail Doctor Ford Fusion – “It was pretty uneventful, which is a good thing. We would have liked to have had a shot for the win at the end, but the way the green-flag pit cycles worked out it just stretched the field out a lot and really didn’t have enough laps to get caught back up. But we learned little bit on what we’ve got to do on Sunday to have a good handling car, and we got to run through a fuel run and see how our tire wear was, so it was a solid race and we’ll learn from it. You always would have liked to have done better, but I’m happy for our Detail Doctor Front Row Motorsports team. We got all three cars into the 500 and there were no issues today, so that was good.”

ANY SURPRISES ON HOW THE CAR HANDLED TODAY IN THE DRAFT? “No, the cars handle pretty well, but it’s back to how the racing was in 2006 and 2007, in my opinion, before the first year of the COT in ’08. You’re just out there at everyone else’s mercy. You can’t do anything on your own. It was very hard to pass and you’ve just got to manage what line you’re in, who has the runs and who doesn’t. It’ll be a stretched out race, in my opinion, just because it’s easy to lose the draft. I think whoever has the best strategy and the best track position at the end is gonna be in good shape.”

JOSH WISE – No. 35 MDS Transport Ford Fusion – “It’s stressful going into it because you know anything can happen here at Daytona, so we just tried to keep ourselves in the position that we knew we needed to be in the whole race. We knew what we were racing against and what we needed to do, so the guys did a good job on pit road and Steven did a good job calling the race from the pit box and we got it done, so it’s just awesome. It’s really cool.”

YOU ENJOYED THE CHALLENGE OF QUALIFYING ON TIME LAST YEAR. HOW DID TODAY COMPARE TO THAT? “I didn’t like it going into that race because you feel like there’s a lot out of your control here. When you’re qualifying at tracks and it’s just you and the race track and your car, you feel like you’ve got a little bit of control what’s happening. Here, you’re relying on a lot of what happens around you. Luckily, everything went our way and we’re in the 500.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL – No. 98 K-LOVE Ford Fusion – “It’s kind of hard to really know what happened today. It was a single-file run for everybody. There wasn’t a lot of two-wide. Starting as far back as we did, it was easy to lose the draft. We weren’t even riding and we just lost the draft with four other cars, so I don’t know. It’s gonna be an interesting Daytona 500 when you get all the cars out there. There will be more turbulent air and you’re gonna have two-wide, and it should be easier to stay in the pack. When we did get one lap down and we got in the leader mix, we were right in the middle there, so you’ve got to have enough cars in front of you and enough behind you to stay going. The cars move around and they’re fun to drive, but, right there, it was a pretty calm race. Everybody just kind of stayed in line and not much happened.”

Ford Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Trevor Bayne , Carl Edwards , Eric Gilbert , Denny Hamlin
Teams Front Row Motorsports , Roush Fenway Racing
Article type Race report
Tags bayne, biffle, daytona, edwards, ford, gilliland, keselowski, mears, roush