GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 3M Ford Fusion ON A PROPOSED CHANGE TO THE POINT SYSTEM. "It's kind of a wild idea out there. Our sport, historically, has been rewarded for consistency and being there every week and competing, and not just one race. ...
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
ON A PROPOSED CHANGE TO THE POINT SYSTEM. "It's kind of a wild idea out there. Our sport, historically, has been rewarded for consistency and being there every week and competing, and not just one race. But, on the flip side of the coin, you're not just gonna fall into being in the top five at Homestead. You're gonna have to be in the top 15 or have to be in the top 10, or whatever the proposal is for how it would shake down. So it's still gonna have the best cars competing for the title. It's still a fairly kind of wild idea as far as a Super Bowl or a playoff, where one team wins just one event. That could be pretty interesting."
HAS THE ATTENTION SPAN OF AMERICA MADE IT TO WHERE THERE HAS TO BE MORE DRAMA? "Well, let's face it, I think in the last five-seven years, the reality-based TV shows of everything we see on TV - it started out with Survivor - people want to see dramatized, real-life things play out. We're hungry for that. The Bachelor. The Bachelorette. All of this drama and these what's gonna happen next. You want to make it exciting and interesting. It has to be, so that's part of it, I think. People don't want to see the same old thing. I think a lot of people don't like to see change, but then when you do change you're like, 'Oh, that's pretty good.' So I don't know about the point format. I guess if we want to go back to 2005 and implement it, I'll be great with it because I'd be the champion. I was third in points going in and I won the race and Tony finished 15th. I could put that notch in my belt for a first championship, and then the second year I won the race but wasn't in the top three, so it's definitely an interesting concept."
ARE YOU MORE ACCEPTING OF THAT IDEA? "I've convinced myself a little bit of the idea solely for the fact that Homestead is one of my good race tracks. As long as they don't move it to Martinsville or someplace like that for the champion to be decided, my chances have to be fairly strong to be in the top five going into Homestead and then win the race. Or I actually don't have to win, I've got to beat the other five guys."
HOW DID THEY PRESENT THE IDEA TO YOU? "I think they're floating ideas, and, certainly it's probably not the only one on the table. There are several ideas of, 'How do we ramp up the excitement a little bit?' At first I thought, 'Well, that's dumb because you're gonna put the champion in one race.' Well, you're really not if you think about it. You've got to be, and I've said it with the chase format, if you're not in the top 12 at the cutoff, you're probably not in condition to win the championship anyway. So, you could technically have every car in the chase, the whole field in the chase, and the outcome is gonna be the same. Jimmie Johnson is gonna win the last four times. You could have had the whole field in the chase and reset the whole thing. So, does it really matter? The best cars are gonna win the races and the championships, so, under those ideas, I think that it could work." IS THAT ONLY IDEA YOU TALKED TO THEM ABOUT? "No, I think the whole Nationwide issue with Cup drivers running for a championship and scheduling. There was a lot of miscellaneous and housekeeping type of stuff. It's nothing real important, but the points idea and testing was a topic, so there was lots of stuff."
HOW IS THE FR9 ENGINE COMING ALONG? "I think the Ford engine is coming along good. Yeah, I'm disappointed we tested the limits of it at Chicago and found a failed valve spring, but that's gonna happen. You're gonna have issues with new engines and there are gonna be growing pains, and we found one of them. But, overall, the engine runs great off the corner and has lots of power. I feel pretty good about our engine shop building good parts."
HOW COMFORTABLE ARE YOU WITH WHERE NASCAR IS DRAWING THE LINE AND HOW IT COMPARES TO YOUR PERSONAL CODE? "As far as me personally, I think the line is in a perfect spot because we want to race hard and we want to push and shove a little bit and do what we need to do to put on a good show, and, when it gets down to it, race for a win. We also know that they're not gonna tolerate spinning a guy out on purpose. They've kind of made that statement with what they did, so I think we all know where the line is at and I think we're all happy with it, honestly."
WAS THERE ANY TALK ABOUT EXTRA POINTS FOR WINS THROUGHOUT THE FIRST 25 RACES? "No. I don't think they've got it that refined. I think they're just kind of floating ideas to get our reaction right now. Maybe behind the scenes they've mathematically kind of mapped this thing out, but, really, they were just saying, 'What do you think about having more guys and then have a cutoff and another cutoff.' That's about all they've said."
THEY DIDN'T GIVE YOU PRECISE DATES? "No, they didn't talk dates, number of points. They didn't talk about wins within going for the cutoff. I'd imagine it would be the same, just 10 points bonus for winning."
THERE WAS TALK ABOUT HOW THEY DO PODIUM FINISHES IN F1. "They didn't talk anything about that. The discussion a while back, and I've heard a lot of discussion - whether it's media or drivers - but I've heard a lot of discussion about having the Chase drivers top 12 get 1-12 points. So if you blow up and finish 43rd, you get 12th-place points technically and that guy gets 11th and so on. To me, I thought that would be the change they would make, so then in one race you're not dramatically behind."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THEM OPENING THE GATES AND NOT LETTING CUP GUYS WIN NATIONWIDE OR TRUCK TITLES? "I agree with it, but there are pros and cons to it. You can make cases both ways. I agree that we need to build up the Nationwide Series. We need to build some stars in that Nationwide Series. I also feel like there has to be an age limit that goes along with the Cup guys not being able to compete over there because if you still have the 18 year old kids coming into the Cup Series, you're still not gonna build any stars in the Nationwide Series and that's your point. I don't think it has to be 21 years old, make it 20. So get a Nationwide young guy to go over there, win a championship, he's got a full season - make it either 20 years old or a full season. So if he's 18, runs a full season, wins the title or finishes third in points - whatever he does - then let him come into Cup. At least get one full season so you can start building that Nationwide Series up, and the same goes for not letting the Cup guys go and win the title. Let the other guys win the titles. Yes, we need to be in the series to compete against those young guys. A perfect example was Brad Keselowski. Would Brad have a Cup ride today if it wasn't for his performance in the Nationwide Series? No. If he didn't beat Carl, didn't beat me, didn't beat Kyle Busch for wins, and won Nationwide races and ran up front, he wouldn't have gotten a Cup ride, he just wouldn't have and that's what the series is supposed to do. That's exactly what it's for, and I understand that's what they're trying to get it back to, but, without the age limit or keeping somebody there for at least a full season to compete, you're kind of missing it still, I think."
DO YOU THINK TO RUN UP FRONT YOU CAN BE THE GENTLEMAN DRIVER LIKE JEFF BURTON AND SOME OF THESE GUYS WITHOUT BEING MORE AGGRESSIVE TODAY THAN MAYBE 10 YEARS AGO? "I think so. I do because Jeff Burton is pretty damn aggressive. He doesn't give up. These cars inherently take a little more abuse than the old car does. This thing is built, I don't want to say like a battleship, but it's built a little tougher than the old car. The old car, if you got in the fence a little bit and scraped it up, you've got problems. Kurt Busch ran it against the fence for 200 laps at Atlanta and won, so, that being said, this car can take a little bit more and keep going. Here's the thing, if I know I run down in the corner and I put my fender against that guy, I'm done. My stuff is going to the back because I've bent the fender in and it changed the aero of the car. The fenders on these cars aren't as sensitive as they once were. The old Nationwide car still is. I remember Kansas last year I was passing for the lead and Joey Logano drove down in the corner and came up and door slammed me in the left side, smashed my fender in and pushed me against Kyle and I dropped like a rock. There was 20 laps to go and I finished eighth, so you couldn't run into stuff with the old car and banging those fenders in and continue to go. Now you can a little bit more."
HE WAS JUST SAYING HE FEELS HE HAS TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE JUST TO STAY IN THE TOP FIVE. "Yeah, he has to stay more aggressive but yet the competition is a lot tougher. It just is. You've got Kyle and Denny Hamlin and Tony is still there, Ryan's there, I'm there, Jeff Gordon's there, Matt's there. There are just more guys. You not only have to be more aggressive, but you've got to drive harder, getting on and off pit road, double-file restarts - you've got to go - so you have to be more aggressive, but I don't think you've got to run into stuff."
DO YOU THINK THE SCHEDULE WILL BE DIFFERENT? "I really don't know because we didn't talk a lot about the schedule. We just had a little Town Hall Meeting and we didn't talk a lot about the schedule, so I don't know how different it's gonna be and, actually, I haven't even heard any rumors about it. I don't know. I just don't think you can go and just change it dramatically because of our TV package and tracks. I think there's a lot more to it. If you're gonna shorten some events to two days, instead of three, or shorten them to three, instead of four. I think there's so much that needs to go into that packaging if you're talking about that."
WHAT ABOUT ADDING KENTUCKY? "I definitely think Kentucky is a great place to race, but I would say moving a race from Pocono or Martinsville - or one of those race tracks, some place we go twice now that we can't fill the grandstands and don't have the TV ratings - I would say those would be opportunities to move races to Kentucky or another place."
ARE YOU INSIDE OR OUTSIDE ON DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS HERE AT INDY? "I think I'm gonna be on the inside. It's a little easier to get a run down there, but, at the same time, no matter what, we're gonna be four-wide or five-wide because these cars draft a bunch and you're gonna get a push from somebody. It's a crazy place for double-file restarts."
WILL IT BE DIFFERENT WITH THIS TIRE AND THE SPOILER? "I think it'll be a little different, but I don't think it'll be dramatically different."
-source: ford racing