Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion, is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings coming into this weekend's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. He held his weekly press conference before Friday's practice ...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion, is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings coming into this weekend's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. He held his weekly press conference before Friday's practice session.
DO YOU CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY AT THE END FOR A BIG RACE LIKE THIS KNOWING THAT A MISTAKE COULD COST YOU A PLACE IN THE CHASE DOWN THE ROAD? "I don't think so. I think getting in the chase, obviously, is our number one priority at the same time winning races is, so it's kind of a delicate balance. Still, we need to come and approach this race as we want to win here, yet, it's a double-edged sword. You can try to be conservative to get in the chase, but the thing is today you've got to race your butt of to finish tenth or eighth or top five, so you just run as hard as you can all the time."
WHERE DOES THIS RACE RATE IN YOUR BOOK? "The Brickyard rates at the top for races that a team, an organization and a driver wants to win. Certainly there's a lot on the line here. We want to win here. I want to win the Daytona 500 and a Brickyard just as bad as I want to win championships, so this is an important place. We want to run well here. We've run well here and feel like we're gonna run well this weekend."
WHAT DO YOU NEED IN YOUR CAR TO MAKE SURE IT'S GOOD HERE? "Good balance is what you need. You need a car that has speed, which that's always important in a race car, but, more importantly, good balance -- a car that's not too tight going through the corner and not too loose, so you can carry your speed through. So if you have a car that's got good balance, normally you're gonna have a lot of speed because the grip levels balance front to back and that's gonna produce the easiest to drive and the fastest lap."
WHAT WILL THIS PLACE BE LIKE WITH THE NEW CAR? "This race track is difficult. For our cars, it's barely two lanes wide in the corners. We don't notice the thing being four inches wider, but it's still a difficult place to race side-by-side. With the way this car has reacted on the mile and a halfs, being real aero-tight. This is gonna be a place to try and get your car to handle behind somebody. That'll be the most challenging thing of this weekend is getting your car to handle behind another car."
JACK TALKED ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION EARLIER TODAY AND LEFT OFF JAMIE MCMURRAY. WHETHER IT WAS UNINTENTIONAL OR INTENTIONAL, IS THERE A SHIFT GOING ON IN THE ORGANIZATION RIGHT NOW WHERE THERE'S MORE FOCUS ON JUST FOUR DRIVERS? "I don't think so, no. Jack's like that. I'm surprised he remembered four of us. He introduces us at the Christmas party and forgets Matt (laughing). I think it's just Jack. I don't think there was an intention of singling out anybody, but, obviously at the same time we need to go to four cars, so I wouldn't say that had any intention."
HOW MUCH PRESSURE HAS JAMIE BEEN UNDER? "I can't answer that. I don't know that Jamie has felt anymore pressure than all of us. I've got a lot of pressure to not make mistakes and get good finishes. I think we all do. We all feel the same pressure. We all have good contracts with a great sponsor, so when it comes time to figure out what we're gonna do to go to four teams, I'm sure there's gonna be an incentive package or program for somebody to move over to the Yates organization. That's the obvious answer for us, which they have all the same technology and engines and things, similar to what Haas is gonna have with Hendrick's and Tony Stewart driving that car. It's just an extension of Hendrick's. Yates is their own organization, but share in technology and engines and those kinds of things, so it's not gonna be a lot different for whoever that driver ends up being."
THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF FUEL MILEAGE RACES. CAN YOU COMPARE HOW YOU SAVE FUEL IN A RACE CAR COMPARED TO A REGULAR CAR? "I guess yes and no. It's very difficult to save fuel in a race car. The one way to do it is to let up on the gas a little bit earlier for the corner and maybe wait a little bit longer to get on the brakes and then get on the brakes a little sharper -- and off. So you kind of try not to lose too much time, but yet sort of accomplish the same thing. I guess driving on the street would be the same thing -- maybe let up on the gas and let it coast a little bit further. And if you're planning on taking the next exit off the highway, instead of staying on the gas clear to the off ramp and then using more brake, I guess that would kind of be the same theory as saving fuel or whatever you could do, but it's very minimal. We can't save much, but when it's on that edge of whether it's gonna suck air off of turn four and make it all the way to the checkered flag, you just don't know. Saving a little bit sometimes will make that difference and a lot of times it's bigger than that. A lot of times, if you're gonna run out in the backstretch or in turn one, you're probably not gonna save enough gas to make it to the end. You're probably not gonna save that much, but if it's closer than that and you save, you can probably make it to the end. We save all the time or when we can, but very seldom does it come down to what we actually did to make it. Sometimes we can theorize that it did, but a lot of times they'll check it after the race and we had a gallon and a quarter left. So did we make a difference in saving? We'll never know. But sometimes you get down to the end and you run out on the cool down lap and it's like, 'Wow.'"
ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH YOUR SEASON? "I have to tell you that I've been frustrated with myself. I can go back a dozen races and there are some things about it, but I got caught speeding at Pocono running in the top five. I ran off the race track at Infineon leading and those two finishes -- and you always look back and wish you had done something a little bit different, but Daytona we finished 43rd. I was racing with Juan Montoya for 25th place 25 laps or 30 laps into the 400-mile race and, looking back on that, I probably should have chose something a little different so I could have finished that race, but, at the same time, we've had issues in the pits. We had an engine at Darlington and we caught the air hose on the splitter at Michigan running in the top five, so it's been a comedy of little things, and some of it is the team working the bugs out and some of it is me working the cobwebs out or whatever you want to say. But I'm happy with where we're at. We're seventh in points, but I feel like we could be a lot better than that. I think anybody could say that. Any team could say they could be better, but I'm happy with the way the car has performed. The cars have been fast, we've just made some mistakes -- myself and everybody has made small mistakes. None have been major, so it's not what we want, but we're seventh and we're gonna keep chipping away at it."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS TRACK? "I feel good about this weekend. (Greg) Erwin and the guys in engineering have been working really hard back at the race shop on simulation models and looking at our data from this race track, trying to learn things, trying to set scenarios up -- different setups, different springs and all kinds of things -- and they think they've got a pretty good starting spot for us."
WHY IS IT THE NOBODY SEEMS TO LUCK INTO A WIN HERE? "The reality is if you don't run well, if you're not running strong, you're not gonna fluke into getting up front here. It's always four tires. The track is so big -- it's two-and-a-half miles -- you've got to have tires. Track position, like everywhere, is gonna be important, but the important thing is you've got to have a good handling car. It's kind of like Daytona and Talladega, if you don't have good speed, you don't have a good, slick, fast car, you can't really make up for it here. You've got four square corners, long straightaways, if you don't have good power and torque to get off the corner, if your car doesn't go around the corner really good and balanced, you're gonna lose that straightaway speed and you're just not gonna be there. So this race track you can't hide anything. If you have a little bit of an issue, it's gonna show up everywhere."
HAS NASCAR RACING HERE LOST ANY OF ITS LUSTER OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS? "I think it's still pretty important in the NASCAR community, but certainly coming here for the first time would be kind of an icon event. I would say it's just as important and special now for the NASCAR community. Everybody knows, 'Oh, we're going to Indy next week,' so it still carries a lot of weight with us and the race fans, but, certainly some of the heritage and not coming here for the very first time, it's maybe lost a little bit of that, but you're gonna have that anywhere you go for the very first time."
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO RUN ON THIS TRACK? "This track is fun to run on. It's very challenging. The straightaway speed is all determined on corner exit speed and getting your car to handle, getting your car balanced. Balance is the key at this race track, but it's a fun place."
WHAT KIND OF ANXIETY DOES THE NEW CAR PRESENT HERE? "It creates a lot because we've never been in this car. One thing is this car is more consistent than our old car, so coming here with a new car isn't probably as scary as it would be with the old car showing up somewhere for the first time."
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? "Certainly the downforce is a lot different. The way the car handles is completely different. It drivers completely different around other cars because it is bigger and kind of square. It acts a little different around other cars, so there's quite a few characteristics different about this car."
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN THIS RACE? "It would be a relief. We haven't won this year in 2008, but to win the Brickyard would be pretty special. I think we've got a solid opportunity, just like everybody else. I think there are a solid 15 guys or better that stand a really good chance of winning here and, obviously, there are probably 25 or 30 cars that can, and I feel like we're in that top tier of teams that can pull off a win here."
WHAT ARE THE KEYS FOR YOU ON SUNDAY? "Track position and balance -- get the car balanced really well and get track position and keep it. That's the thing about this car. You need to get track position and keep it and that will be the key to winning here."
YOUR BIG BREAK WAS WHEN BENNY PARSONS SAW YOU AND MENTIONED YOUR NAME TO JACK. HOW MANY GUYS OUT THERE AT LOCAL SHORT TRACKS COULD HAVE MADE IT AT THIS LEVEL BUT WERE NEVER DISCOVERED? "Hundreds. I think hundreds because there's a guy racing in Utah somewhere at a local short track that's just a plain wheel man. He's as good as all of us -- Joey Logano -- whoever you want to compare him to and has a tremendous amount of talent, but what's he gonna do? And that probably holds true for Montana and more in the mainstream places -- maybe the Midwest or Hickory or wherever that the guy is good, but that's all he can afford to do and can't make the next step. So it is very difficult in our sport to get the opportunity and it's so funny because I hear people talk about how they want to go to driving schools and they want to get into NASCAR. That doesn't happen here. The school is your local short track down the street on Friday or Saturday night. That's the school. Go get a car and learn how to put it together yourself and then try to figure out how to go out there and race. And then hope you've got the right camber and air-pressure and this and that and then hope you can drive it. That's the school. That's it."
- credit: ford racing