NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV 400 September 28, 2009 An interview with: CARL EDWARDS GREG BIFFLE THE MODERATOR: We're now joined in the infield media center by today's third place finisher, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford, Greg ...
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV 400 September 28, 2009
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined in the infield media center by today's third place finisher, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford, Greg Biffle.
Greg, tell us about your run.
GREG BIFFLE: Well, it was an eventful weekend. When we got here, we weren't very good. We were 36th right off the truck. So we had big time improving to do. We did that. We worked really hard, got our car good.
Probably just not enough practice. Just didn't get it right for the race today. You know, we adjusted on the car. We just couldn't get the balance right. I'd go down in the corner and I would slide the nose. I was too loose on the gas. I think a lot of people fought that, but some more than others.
At the end there it felt like Dover all over again, me and Jeff Gordon fighting for third place, third and fourth. It was a pretty hard fought battle. We ended up getting by him on the last lap coming to the stripe. We're pretty excited to finish up third.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by today's second place finisher, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, Carl Edwards. Carl, tell us about your run.
CARL EDWARDS: The car was real good in practice. We started in the back. Some reason, just wasn't that fast the first couple runs. Then we got into a small wreck on pit road, went to the back, fought around back there for a while. Then Bob made some adjustments that were really great. Took off, had a great racecar. Got into one more small incident on pit road at some point in there. But everybody did a good job recovering. There at the end my car was just a little too loose. I could just hang with Jimmie. I couldn't get him until the last couple laps when I just started bonsaiing it around on the top there.
He saw what I was doing, so he went up there to block. That last lap, I just figured, hell with it, I don't want to finish second here, I want to win this race more than anything in the world, so I kind of bonsaied it in there. I wanted to make sure I cleared Jimmie. I went probably just a little too far and hit the wall harder than I planned on hitting it, he got back by me.
It was fun. Always wanted to kind of try to do that. Now I know it doesn't work quite the same as video games. But it was fun (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions from the media.
Q: Carl, do you feel a little like Clint yesterday, wanting to win so badly, settling for second? Why all the incidents on pit road?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know how Clint felt. I can tell you that I want to win this race more than any race on the schedule. I thought we could do it today. So, yeah, it was very frustrating. I'm recouping right now. I'm getting better. I'm coming around.
I mean, we just did the best we could. Wins here are so they feel so good just because of how many people come here that I know and grew up with.
Q: And as far as pit road?
CARL EDWARDS: Pit road? I don't know what all the trouble was on pit road. I didn't know if other people were having the same trouble I was having. Seemed like we were running into a lot of people and getting run into, all that. I don't know what was going on.
Q: Carl, for those of us who aren't racecar drivers, don't know how that is supposed to work, at least on video games, what is the ideal situation, how would it have worked?
CARL EDWARDS: The ideal situation would have been me diving under Jimmie just fast enough to either not hit the wall or hit it less hard, and not slow enough the big thing I didn't want to do is drive in there and not commit enough, then you get in that no man's land where you've driven it in harder than you can stick the car. You know, you slide up into him and wreck both of us. I know he wouldn't do that to me.
My number one thing was, you know, make this slide job a real deep one so I don't collect Jimmie and then hope for the best. You never know what's going to happen. He can go in there and get surprised and it can all work out, you know.
Q: And by him slowing down...
CARL EDWARDS: He did exactly what every smart racer does when he sees somebody bonsai in. You lift a little bit, let that guy run into the fence, you go by (smiling).
You know, I've had it go both ways. We were going to run second if I didn't do it. Figured, Why not?
Q: Greg, the last lap, you figured five points is five points. You're out there clawing for every point you could get. You said your car was loose. Five points is five points, right?
GREG BIFFLE: That's the way I was thinking about it. Coming down to Homestead, if it will be five points, and I just wanted to get by him so bad. But same thing that Carl experienced. Once I got to him, I moved up. I couldn't catch him on the bottom, so I ran up, caught him on the top, was going to pass him. He moved up, took my groove away.
There at the end, I wasn't sure which way he was going to go. He went back to the bottom. I think he had a little more speed than he planned. He kind of slid up a little bit off the bottom. I was able to get around the bottom and get inside of him coming off four. It just worked out. I mean, I really wanted to get that five points, so excited about that.
Q: Third place never felt so good, I guess?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I mean, really. Our focus coming into the Chase was top five finishes. Certainly we can't be disappointed with a third place finish. I mean, that's a great finish. Seems like, again, we're 1 2 3. The three top in the points are 1 2 3 again. So that's tough.
Q: (No microphone.)
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I thought I was losing ground when I was winning because I never gained anything (laughter). I won twice and I was still third. Finished third and I'm still third.
Yeah, it's going to be a tight points battle the whole way. We know that. You just drive your ass off all week, every weekend, end up with what you end up with.
Q: Since the top three again are the top three in the points, is this going to be whoever blinks first?
CARL EDWARDS: You never know. I mean, this is 30% over. There's a lot left, I think. I don't think you can tell how this is going to end up. Talladega will be interesting, for sure.
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I mean, I think so. I didn't think it was I don't think it will come down to who runs the best. I think it's going to come down to who has the least little hiccups here and there, small stuff happen, get a pit road penalty or something, have to go to the back, finish 14th, something like that. That's probably what it's gonna be like, 'cause all of us are running, you know, competitive enough. I doubt whether it will go all 10 races like this, this tight, but it might.
Q: Carl, Bob was giving you a lot of positive reinforcement on the radio. Is that usual? Do you like that? Are you much more of a realist in the cockpit knowing what's going on?
CARL EDWARDS: It's fine. Bob can say whatever he wants on the radio. Any time you get positive reinforcement, I think that's good. If I wanted him to be quiet, I'd just tell him to be quiet. I can just tell from his voice, it does motivate me a little bit. It's good when you know all your guys are down there cheering for you. That's a good reminder.
Q: When you're trying to chase one guy down for 40 or 50 laps, how does that wring you out?
CARL EDWARDS: It's really a lot of fun. I truly believe that at the time when the green flag dropped, I thought we weren't going to have any trouble with Jimmie. I thought I'd be able to just follow him for a little while and we'd go right by him, like we had the run before, the last two runs. But they did a really good job of getting their car better.
But, yeah, it is fun to follow somebody that long and try to work them over. Man, I just wanted to win this race. I wish we could start it again right now and run it again. But it is a good points day. That's the bright side.
Q: When you found out your starting position, what did you feel your odds would be of having a chance to win this? When did you sense the adjustments your crew made turned your car into a really great racecar?
CARL EDWARDS: After practice on Saturday I really felt like we had a chance to win the race. Every week when we do this, we kind of get a feel. I've gotten a feel for how practice goes on Saturday and how that what that says about Sunday's chances. I felt pretty good then.
But when I really truly believed we could win the thing was about halfway through the race, a little past halfway, when Bob made one of those adjustments and we drove essentially right to the lead from I think 12th or 11th or something. That was a real good time. I was having a good time there.
Q: Perhaps the all too typical response of the drivers today, particularly in the points championship race, would be to say, I've got second, go on to the next race, not risk crashing on the last lap and finishing 20th. I'm assuming from what you said that never crossed your mind today?
CARL EDWARDS: It crossed my mind, but nothing's guaranteed, not another race, not tomorrow, nothing. So I get what I can while I can. I just figured, man, I'm not going to be able to live with myself. It's going to be hard enough to go to sleep today, but there's no way I'd sleep a wink if I didn't try something on the last lap. You got to try.
Q: You described it as a slide job. Was the move you made to try to win this race similar to the move you made at short tracks all around this state and the Midwest?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I mean, everybody knows how to do a slide job. By the way, that's not the exact way to do it, the way I did it (smiling). Yeah, I've won some races making that work and I've got gone in a little too easy and gotten in some wrecks. That's a bad, bad scene 'cause it really just looks like you drive right in the corner and hit the guy. That's a bad deal.
Yeah, from Summit, Missouri, I remember one race in a sportsman dirt car, a guy named Danny Crane did that to me. I was leading going down the back straightaway, turn three, last lap, here comes this black '78 Camaro or whatever going about plus 50 on me and he slid in front of me. I thought, Wow, he's going to make that work. Then he went right off the end of the racetrack into the woods (laughter). I felt like my buddy Danny Crane today.
I'm sure for a second Jimmie thought, Oh, my God, he's going to win this thing. Then he went, Nope, physics win again (laughter). But, you know, that's the way it goes.
Q: Were you catching him or was he slowing down at the end?
CARL EDWARDS: I was catching him. I had my eye on the real high side there for a long time, but there was a lot of trash and stuff up there. So when it came down to three laps to go, I realized I was not going to be able to pass him doing what I was doing. I started running the very top. It was way faster, but it was really the last 10 inches up to the fence. So since my car is wider than that, Jimmie could go up there and kind of block that.
So other than I just wasn't I wasn't able to I knew if I went in the last lap, I went in there up high, I would go in there, be behind his bumper, be tight. I think that happened, the lap before, I hit the fence a little bit, got behind him, got tight. I was definitely getting faster. I just wasn't willing to take that risk earlier in the run and bounce the thing off the fence, then have to have a restart and get passed by more people. I wanted to wait till the end.
Q: Can you explain to our average listener what it would be like to pull off a slide job like that on asphalt versus dirt.
CARL EDWARDS: It just depends on what's at the edge of the racetrack. If there's a wall, like today, that's pretty much what it looks like. If there's a cushion or some more grip up there, whatever, a lot of times you can get in front of the guy, get it parked up there, you kind of almost block him. If he doesn't run you over, spin you out, then you've got position. You kind of set the pick there and you could move on.
It's really hard to do in these cars at a big track because there's so much space and things happen relatively slow. A guy can watch you. Jimmie could watch me come by and go, Okay, I'm going to lift off the gas a little bit, let him slide up. It's not the fastest line. You're really just setting you're kind of butting in line a little bit, and he has to check up a little bit for it to work.
So, yeah, you know, I don't know if that explains it very well.
Q: Obviously Clint probably wants to win as much as you do coming here. He ran into some trouble. He was able to come back and get in the race. How good was his car today?
CARL EDWARDS: I didn't get to race around Clint a lot. Looked like he went a lot back and forth like I did. He'd have a good car, then not so good car. The track was really, really touchy today. I don't know if the track cured a little bit, it's a little slicker. The tires are still pretty hard. It makes it a real touchy racetrack. I think it's fun. I mean, I like that a lot. If your car was just off a little bit, you could go from being dominant to just being, you know, average. That seemed like that happened to a lot of guys.
Q: You said it was a good points day but you also lost the lead.
CARL EDWARDS: It's a great points day for us actually. The lead doesn't matter right now. It's however many points you can get, and that's that. If it's Greg and Jimmie and I running 1 2 3, swapping the spots back and forth for the next however many races, it just takes one of us to have a bad race and that guy's, you know, out. So, yeah, it's still a good points day.
If you finish second every week, I guarantee you'll win the championship. So we just have to keep working this hard.
Q: You called it a bonsai move?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, yeah. I guess my dad used to always say that, bonsai move. I don't know exactly what that means. I know there's a tree called a bonsai tree. Looks nothing like that move. But I don't know. Kamikaze is maybe where that came from. It's the Midwest, sometimes people don't know (laughter).
Q: Why not do that a little bit earlier? Because it was so risky?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, and that's the thinking. Honestly, I didn't know what was going to happen when I hit the wall. If the thing just broke the front suspension, skidded around to the start/finish line, I just knew I could make it that far, but not for five laps or something.
Q: Were you basically trying to do a combo pack of a dirt track move with a Darlington move?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah. I mean, it's simple. I just needed to be in front of him. That's the only way I could figure out to get in front of him. The mistake there, if you could go back and practice that over and over, I'd run in just hard enough to miss his bumper by an inch, then barely hit the wall and keep going. You just never know what's going to happen. As soon as I turned under him, he could have turned down and run on my door. In that case, it would have been real hard to clear him. I just did the best I could.
Q: You've had a great start to the Chase. Now it's off to Talladega. How much apprehension do you feel going into that?
CARL EDWARDS: I hadn't thought about it much, but thinking about it now (laughter). I'll probably be glued to Jimmie, no matter where he's at. If him and Greg and I can stay together, make sure we either all avoid or either all get in the same wrecks, we'll probably be all right.
You know I'm running fifth and Jimmie falls back to 40th to ride around and watch some action, I will probably be following him back there, and vice versa I assume. We just have to make sure not if somebody said, Will you take 10th at Talladega, right now, you don't have to run the race, I'd take in it a heartbeat. I'd pay a million dollars for it, because you just don't know what's going to happen there.
If I got a shot to win the thing, you know, it could be awesome. But that place, there's a lot that you can control and you have to respect that, you know.
THE MODERATOR: Carl, congratulations. Thank you.