Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion, did not qualify for this year's Chase for the Nextel Cup, but he said on Friday morning at New Hampshire International Speedway that winning races is still a priority. GREG BIFFLE --...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion, did not qualify for this year's Chase for the Nextel Cup, but he said on Friday morning at New Hampshire International Speedway that winning races is still a priority.
GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion
HOW HAS YOUR SEASON BEEN TO DATE? "It certainly hasn't been the season that we had hoped for. It started very early in the season with running out of gas three times in the first 10 races. That certainly got us behind in the points -- got involved in an accident in Daytona and then ran out of gas three times -- that was difficult. I had two engine failures early in the season -- one at California and Talladega -- and hadn't had an engine failure in three years in the series. The season definitely didn't get off to a good start with an accident at Texas with a very, very good car. That got us so far behind in the points that literally we were kind of on the outside. We made up a rapid amount of points quickly, but then sort of leveled off and had some bad races after that -- things that could have been prevented that we kind of missed at the shop. We went to Pocono and finished second, and we came back to Pocono with the same car and had something messed up with the suspension and finished in the twenties, so we've made a lot of mistakes. I've made some mistakes driving the race car. I got myself involved in an accident at Martinsville, so it's been an up-and-down season. It wasn't what it should have been. We came up short in the chase and we know why. It's obvious. We know why we came up short and we'll just try and prevent that from happening next year."
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THE NEW GUYS IN THE CHASE? "Really, there isn't a lot to tell those guys. Kind of the last five races leading up to the chase is sort of what they need to do for the next 10, so the last five races has really been the test of 'are you gonna make it?' Because they've been real nervous about top 10 finishes, top five finishes, don't make mistakes, take care of the race car because they had to get in. Now they've got 10 races to just do the best they can. They've kind of learned that in the last five races. They know what they need to do so to speak."
YOU SAID IN TALLADEGA THAT IF YOU DON'T MAKE THE CHASE YOU'RE A NOBODY. YOU, TONY AND CARL -- THE TOP 3 LAST YEAR -- AREN'T IN THE CHASE? DO YOU USE IT FOR TESTING FOR NEXT YEAR? "We're doing the same thing. Every question in here so far -- this morning I got up at 7:30 and every question has been about the chase and none of it involves me and that's why I said that at Talladega. That's what our focus is and that's why I said that. We're doing that (working on next year). We're gonna probably switch a few crew guys around, possibly bring some more guys on the road. One of our crew guys wants to come off the road for next year, so we're not gonna wait until the end of the season, we'll probably take the opportunity and maybe bring an additional guy for the last 10 races and not leave that guy at home because he doesn't want to come on the road. We're gonna bring an extra guy to try and be prepared the best we can for when the season starts. Obviously we're trying some different stuff. We tried something at Richmond with the setup on the race car that was kind of a gamble thinking it might work here, and it worked so-so at Richmond. I don't think it was the best. We finished sixth. I don't think we're gonna try it here, but it's something I wouldn't have done if I would have been on the bubble of making the chase. I wouldn't have tried it, but this has given me some opportunities. We're talking about bringing some different suspension stuff and a different race car -- a brand new car that's out of the wind tunnel that we've never raced before. We're gonna race it probably at Kansas without testing it, which is unusual for us because we don't know what to expect. If we were in the chase, we probably wouldn't do that. We'd bring something that's a known product. Even though we have something that we think is better, we probably wouldn't do that without testing it first, but we're probably gonna go ahead and do that, but certainly we don't want to leave out 11th in points. That's our goal as well."
DO YOU RACE FOR WINS? "Yeah. We race for wins, points and for next year. Those are the three things we're concentrating on."
A TOTAL OF 18 GUYS HAVE FILLED THE 30 CHASE SPOTS THE LAST THREE YEARS. DOES THAT SHOW PARITY OR NOT? "I would have to say that it probably shows some parity. The thing about it is the teams that are running competitive and winning races are gonna be in the chase and have consistency. It really isn't gonna matter where they come from. I think NASCAR is doing things to try and make the playing field as level as they can, but the facts are that if your cars aren't competitive, it doesn't matter, you're not gonna make it. If our five Roush cars aren't competitive, none of us are gonna be in the chase. It's up to us to be competitive and it's up to those other teams to figure it out."
THIS RACE HAS BEEN ONE OF THE WILDEST IN THE CHASE. IS IT A COINCIDENCE OR DO EMOTIONS GET HIGH? "I think a little bit of both and this is a difficult race track too. This race track is hard to race side-by-side. This race track is a very difficult place to race side-by-side as you saw with Tony and Ryan earlier this season. You saw it with Scott Riggs and Kurt Busch in the first chase race of last year in an accident down there on the first or second lap. We see it a lot. This place is hard to pass. It's hard to race side-by-side and you get down in the corner, it's hard to enter the corner underneath another car. It makes it difficult to do. I think it's just the race track. If this would have been a chase race at the beginning of the season, look at all the stuff that happened here. I think we're gonna see, not a mirror image of that, but we're gonna see something of the sort on Sunday. It's just that kind of track."
JEFF BURTON SAID HE COULDN'T LOOK AT GUYS LIKE JEFF GORDON AND JIMMIE JOHNSON THE SAME BECAUSE OF HIS SLUMP. DID YOU EVER FEEL THAT WAY? "Yeah, I do. It's difficult. I see what he's talking about. I guess the thing is when you show up at the race track and you know you're not gonna be competitive, you just know it, you sort of feel like a second-class citizen I guess is the easier answer. When I show up here and I know I don't have a chance at a top 10 finish probably, that's difficult to take because that's your livelihood. And when you know, it's pre-determined before you get here, that you're not gonna be there, that's pretty tough and I was in that position in 2003. Our stuff was so bad. Our race cars and our team and our organization was so bad, I mean when I showed up I was like, 'What's it gonna be this week?' We just weren't competitive and weren't getting better. I think that's the bigger thing is that there's no light at the end of the tunnel. We're 20th and we don't stand a chance to be 18th. That's probably the discouraging thing. All anybody wants is opportunity. It doesn't matter what you're doing. All anybody wants is an opportunity to do good or to be competitive and I think that's kind of what he's referring to. He knew showing up to the race track that he wasn't gonna be competitive."
DO YOU FEEL YOUR PEERS LOOK AT YOU DIFFERENTLY? "I don't really think that. Maybe a little bit. I wouldn't say that they wouldn't respect you, but do you have more respect for a guy that's second or third in points than 33rd or 34th? I don't know. You'd have to answer that question yourself whether you feel like you respect them more than that guy. I don't know who is 33rd. That might not be a fair example, but comparing the third guy to the 33rd guy. I think that's what he's speaking of."
WINS, POINTS AND NEXT YEAR, IS THERE AN ORDER YOU PUT THOSE IN? "I don't think so because they all form the same category. Each race we're gonna try to win. We've tried to win every race all season and that's what every driver in the garage is here to do is win this week and get the best finish we can and learn something for next year, so we're kind of doing all of those and there's no certain order to that I don't think."
IS THERE AN ADVANTAGE TO NOT HAVING EVERYBODY FROM ONE TEAM IN THE CHASE? "Yeah, I said that last year because it made it difficult racing around all your teammates. You sort of give-and-take. If a guy is faster than you, you kind of let him have the position and all that. Now it's a little more awkward. I guess if you probably think about it it's more awkward now than last year because if I'm trying to pass Matt for third, which I was trying to do at the end of the first chase race last year, we're racing like mad for position down here, I guess I would feel a little different now racing him for that position. I'm still going to, but the facts are that I'm taking a position away from him that may cost him in the championship run, but you still have to race everybody the same. You've got to race the same as you did all season. You've got to respect them. You can't run into them and if you've got a faster race car, you've got to pass them. Those are the facts of the game. That's what my sponsor wants me to do. That's what my team wants me to do and that's what they've worked all season for is for me to get the best finish I can."
HOW DID KENSETH GET TO BE SO HOT THIS YEAR? "That's something we sat in the conference room and talked about today because we're trying to analyze our aero program, the tire is a little bit different. We're looking at their race setup, it's real similar to what we're doing, and when Matt won the championship a few years back, the whole Roush organization was doing very poorly. I'm not saying that's where we're at now, but Matt looks like he's clearly ahead of the rest of the Roush cars by a little bit. It's not like it was when he won the championship in 2003. All of our cars were really running bad then and my question was, 'Are we headed back in that direction again? Is Matt the only guy that's running good?' Which isn't the case because I finished sixth and Mark finished fifth and Mark's in the chase, but my concern was, 'Are we slipping again? Are we missing something?' Everybody is working as hard as they absolutely can to be the best that we can be and we're trying to learn from what they're doing and paying attention. It's just the way things happen."
WILL A GUY LIKE DENNY HAMLIN HAVE AN EDGE ON THE HENDRICK TEAMS BECAUSE TONY CAN PROVIDE MORE HELP? "It's weird because I don't know that much from the shop side of it -- what they can do. They're not gonna take, I don't think, like we wouldn't take a Tony Stewart car and give it to Denny because both teams have the best equipment they could possibly build to start with. Our cars are so close together anyway and our engines at our shop is kind of a lottery pick. Nobody gets a particular engine over the other guy, but there are engines that make one or two more horsepower over the other, which really doesn't make a difference, but do you give it to that guy? I don't know that it really makes a difference. Our equipment is so close together. Now you could give him some extra support. You could give him some extra guys to make sure their cars were perfect and kind of go over them some more and make sure they were the best prepared that they could be. You could do little things like that that might make a small difference, but I wouldn't say equipment-wise or anything like that. Like the Hendrick teams having three of their cars in. I wouldn't say that they're gonna be short on anything anymore than if they just had one."
-credit: ford racing