Kansas: Biffle - Ford Friday interview

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion, held a press conference this morning at Kansas Speedway as part of the Wix Filters Lap Leader contest. Biffle has led the most laps in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race four times this...

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion, held a press conference this morning at Kansas Speedway as part of the Wix Filters Lap Leader contest. Biffle has led the most laps in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race four times this season and has one victory (Darlington).

GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN THE WIX LAP LEADER AWARD? "It would be pretty special, but it hasn't paid off for us as much as we'd like to with only one win this season, but it's exciting. Really what it means is you've got competitive race cars and you're able to run competitively in this series. Unfortunately Tony and I both missed the chase, but I think it says something about our teams and the race cars that we build and how we run on the race track. It says a lot for that. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean a lot of wins. Sometime it does, certainly, but in this particular case it doesn't with just one win for us, but it's pretty exciting to at least be recognized for some of our efforts that we've done."

YOU ARE 271 POINTS BEHIND TONY FOR 11TH. CAN YOU CATCH HIM? "I'd like to be optimistic, but it's really pretty unrealistic that we'll catch Tony with two hundred-and-some points because there are seven or eight races left and if you do the math, it's quite a few points per race that I need to finish in front of him. Obviously, we've both had bad strings of races, so it's possible he could have two or three bad races and put us in a position, like he did last week, but that's really the only way. Racing heads up, two-hundred-and-some points is a lot of points to close in on a guy in a short amount of time. We're gonna do our best. We run very, very good at this race track. All the race tracks left on the circuit, other than Martinsville, which, in the spring we ran decent at and I wrecked the race car, but everywhere we run really good so we definitely stand a chance."

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT A WILDCARD ENTRY FOR THE CHASE IN CUP? "I've said all along that I'm for that wildcard thing because it builds some excitement, along with the race up to the chase -- to see who that's gonna be -- but, on the other hand, I have no idea in the world -- I could sit in this room for two days and probably couldn't figure out a system that would be fair to come up with that guy. Like I said before, there are a lot of things a team can do. Obviously, we come to win every weekend, but there is stuff we could do to take a lunge for life, if you will, to try and win. Whether it's running fourth and you can make it from here -- if you get eight laps of caution -- pit anyway, which some guys at the back will do and sometimes come out with a win. Well, you could do that every time that opportunity comes up and not even care where you are in points. It would have to be structured in a manner that would be fair to take like the best guy out of who didn't make it. What I mean by best guy is best guy in performance or whatever, so, all of sudden, it comes back to points again. So I really don't know how would be the best way to do it."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MONTOYA GETTING ON TRACK? "I probably don't have any advice for Juan Montoya. He's an accomplished driver and you're just gonna have to kind take your lumps. He's gonna have to just get out there in the race car and figure it out. Obviously he's tested, hopefully, at some places, and he's gonna have a couple of hours of practice and qualifying before the race, so he'll figure these cars out. It's not gonna be overnight, and he's gonna make a few mistakes, but he's got great car control and that's what it takes to be a good race car driver."

IS IT A COINCIDENCE THAT YOU'VE LED AS MANY LAPS AS LAST YEAR, BUT NEITHER YOU OR TONY ARE IN THE CHASE? "Yes and no. I'm gonna say yes for a few reasons. One is we led, I don't know, 250 or 300-and-some laps. We led a lot of laps at Phoenix and we ran out of gas, so we finished 30-something. We ran out of gas three times in the first eight races, so we led a lot of laps in those races. We led a lot of laps at California and the engine blew up with 20 laps to go and we probably had that race won. When you're talking about the laps led and where we're at in the points or the finishes, it totally corresponds to, unfortunately, how the caution flags fell for us and our fuel mileage wasn't what the rest of the field was. It wasn't like a bunch of people didn't make it. One or two cars didn't make it and I was one of them, so our fuel mileage was very poor at the beginning of the season. We've worked on it and now it's OK. The same thing happened here in 2004. I led a ton of laps. I don't know how many laps I led here and when it came down to a pit stop -- I don't know when it was -- Doug told me, 'You've got to pit.' I'm like, 'What do you mean we've got to pit?' He said, 'We're not gonna make it. You're gonna have to pit.' So I was the only guy. I came down pit road the leader and I went out 16th and drove all the way back to third. Is that coincidence or luck or whatever it is, fortunately, that's racing."

ISN'T WHAT HAPPENED WITH TONY AND KASEY LAST WEEK THE WORST SCENARIO FOR A GUY NOT IN THE CHASE? "Yeah, it is. You don't want to be the guy involved in an accident and, unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do. Everybody is trying their hardest and everybody is driving their race car as fast as they can and, unfortunately, when our cars aren't as fast as they need to be, sometimes we have to drive them looser than we want to because we can't get the car to turn or more of an ill-handling race car is harder to drive. That can put you in situations sometimes that aren't good, but the facts are that you try and treat everybody with as much respect as you can, try and race your car as best you can and not make any mistakes. Stuff is gonna happen. It's just that simple. Stuff is gonna happen and it's an unfortunate thing. Part of the deal is too, I don't know where they were running at when that accident happened, but if my memory serves me right, Kasey didn't qualify all that well at Dover. Unfortunate things happen when you don't qualify up front. They were in the back when they got in an accident, but it seems like to me -- like Bristol -- the unfortunate thing was we lost our primary car in practice. It was very, very good and we've qualified in the top five everytime we've been there. We ended up qualifying 36th with our back-up car and on our way to the front we got our right-front corner smashed in passing a guy who didn't know we were down there or ran us on the apron. I'm not saying you create your own luck, but sometimes when you don't run that well, you put yourself in a position to be vulnerable."

DO THOSE GUYS GET TREATED DIFFERENTLY? "I don't think so. I don't see anybody on the race track treat anybody any different, really. I just try and be courteous to those guys, but at the same time I have to race them just the same. Carl finished second at Dover and I finished fifth -- almost got fourth -- but we raced everybody the same. Leaving room is all you can do and just hope for the best."

HOW WILL THE CAR OF TOMORROW EFFECT ON PEOPLE DOING BOTH SERIES? "I don't really see it being that big of an effect. I'm planning on running about the same number of Busch races I did this year. I'm certainly not gonna run the whole series or anything, but I don't think it's gonna make that big of a difference -- the transition. That car is gonna be so different to drive. That car is gonna be extremely different and my car's got a long way to go. It's gonna be interesting. I'm not gonna knock the car of tomorrow at all, but I'm gonna stay in Talladega on Monday and do the COT test with all the cars at Talladega, so my two Talladega cars are sitting next to each other -- the car of tomorrow and that one -- and it's really the first time I got a really good look at it. Maybe we don't have everything right inside the car cockpit-wise, but I was disappointed -- we were talking about so much safety improvement in the COT car and I got a tape measure and got to be looking and it appears my seat is really in the same spot as the Talladega car I'm gonna race. Like I said, maybe we don't have it in the right spot. These cars are kind of butchered up, meaning we've built them and re-built them and then the rules have kind of changed, so it's a work in progress. Certainly I'm not gonna knock the safety of the thing. I haven't even driven it and I haven't even sat in it yet, but the object was to move the driver more to the center of the car. That was the whole purpose of this COT car and it seems like it's competition driven. There are a lot of issues about it. I'm worried about that front splitter. There again, it's the first time I've seen it. That splitter -- sticking out there a ways -- green flag pit stops -- we're having troubles with the valance getting rolled under on pit stops and that thing hitting the ground at Bristol or something -- I'm worried about it getting broke off and things like that. I think that's our first race for that car -- Bristol -- so I don't know. About the question of driving the two cars, I don't think it's really gonna be a big deal. But personally, at Roush, we've got some ways to go on our COT cars to make them what they need to be and what they're intended to be. We've got to work on our program a little bit harder and it's hard to do that. It's kind of, 'Thank goodness we're not in the chase.' Maybe we can spend some more time getting ready for that working and focusing on that car a little bit more."

WOULD YOU LIKE A SEPARATE POINT SYSTEM FOR CHASE DRIVERS? "That's a difficult situation. It's a unique situation because in the playoffs not everybody always plays, so in our playoff system everybody still plays. The problem is when you finish 25th and somebody you're racing against finishes first, you lose a lot of points to them. But, at the same time, I don't think we want to just make a separate point system for the chase -- first through 10th -- and only separate them by five points because there wouldn't be any consistency to that. What I mean by that is it would be just the last race that determined the champion because nobody could have a string of four or five good, solid races and get a 40-50 point lead. It just wouldn't happen -- or a 70-point lead or something, so I think the way that they have it works pretty well. Yeah, it would be nice. Jeff Burton and I have had a conversation about stopping the points at like 30th or worse -- that's where your points cut off. So if you finish 30th or you finish 43rd, you get the same amount of points. One thing it does is when the guys go in the pits and work on that car, tape the bumper back on it, it's got no front fenders and the axel housing is bent, and they're out there trying to make laps to get five more points, you won't be in that situation anymore. You put the thing on the truck and go home and not cause an accident or be unsafe for all the other drivers because you're not gonna gain anything by coming back out on the race track. If you stand a chance to be better than 30th, then put the car back together and come back out on the track. That might be something that would help some of those drivers in the chase, particularly Kasey or Kyle."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Greg Biffle