Continued from part 1 Q: Greg, so many times this year when your car has been fast, and you've sort of been reduced to the whole 'would have, could have, should have'. Did you ever feel as if you were jinxed? GREG BIFFLE: Well, I think ...
Continued from part 1
Q: Greg, so many times this year when your car has been fast, and you've sort of been reduced to the whole 'would have, could have, should have'. Did you ever feel as if you were jinxed?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, I think sometimes you often wonder why things happen or go wrong when they do. I think that a lot of times you create your own luck. I mean, when you're saying you get jinxed, that's just the luck of the draw. A lot of times you create your own luck. You get caught up in an accident, whatever might happen.
But, you know, it's not luck when you have a bad pit stop or you have something else. That's not bad luck; it's just you didn't do it right. When I spun out and got up in the fence at Richmond last week, it wasn't bad luck, that was an error on my part.
You know, you can say you've been jinxed sometimes. But I feel better than I ever have about running these next 10 races, next 9 races. I'm physically, mentally prepared for what we got coming up.
Q: Greg, it's great to win a race, but were you and Greg yesterday thinking, Let's just not screw up on this deal, get away from here without ending up like Kyle Busch or someone else ended up way in the back?
GREG BIFFLE: You know, for most of the time that's our mindset. But yesterday we had the fastest lap average of every car here in the final practice. We got a computer that takes every lap time and then gives the fastest to the slowest. We had the fastest lap average of all the cars. Greg and I were both surprised to see that. On one set of tires, we never changed tires, and we saw a lot of cars put tires on. So we knew at that point we had a pretty good horse for today.
We were in the mindset of, Let's get out of here with a good top 10 finish. We felt like yesterday we could be a threat for a win or a top five for sure.
Q: Can you describe the one hiccup on the pit stop where you almost took out your own guy. Who was that guy?
GREG ERWIN: That guy's name is Collin Pasi. He's a big, strong kid. He's an engineer that works in the engineering department at Roush Fenway. Come over here this year to carry tires for us. I've known him for a long time. Known him since he's been a little kid. So I feel good that we didn't run him over (smiling).
But, you know, we're just trying you know, we're trying to save on the brakes a little bit, get a little bit of tape off the right side brake duct, probably generating a little too much brake heat, wanted to be a little safer for the end of the race. But it's good. He knows when the jack drops, it's time to go.
Q: Greg, you said that you felt like the dark horse coming in. Is that why you drove a dark car today?
GREG BIFFLE: I didn't feel like the dark horse. They named me that. They named me the Biff, then they said I was the dark horse. I don't know what else they're going to call me.
GREG ERWIN: Winner (laughter).
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, it was cool to have that Turbo HD car. I always win with special paint schemes. We're going to have to change it up for the rest of the year.
Q: Anybody who saw the California race knew about the improvement of your team on pit road. As good as Jimmie Johnson's car was on the track, you were as good on pit road. Can both Gregs talk a little bit about what went into the decision to make the changes on that team. Was it entering Chase related? Are you surprised with how much improvement there's been?
GREG ERWIN: It was all Chase related. It had been something that had been discussed between the crew chiefs and, quite honestly, Robbie Reiser, not just with the 16 team specifically, but with the three and potentially four teams we were going to have in the Chase. There were some members on the 26 car that were proven veterans. Both our team, as well as the 99, has had some issues with one guy in particular on each squad. Reiser stepped up to the plate and decided, Look, this is our best foot forward. These are what we think are our most experienced under the gun type players and made the decision and allowed each of our teams to get some guys from the 26 car.
It's helped. You know, without a doubt, it's helped.
JACK ROUSH: I want to add something there, so it's clear. For the 6, the 26, we are building towards next year. We've got new talent in. We're looking at everything that we can to make those programs as strong as they can possibly be. So at the same time we said, How can we close the deal for the Chase, it was, How can we make those programs stronger, too? We're a promote from within company. We have people from both those programs that will take more responsible jobs throughout the company as we make their lives more interesting and develop their careers. At the same time the vacancies made here as we move some people out gave us a chance to bring in some real talented people and demonstrate what they can do in the next races.
Q: Greg, you got asked about Kyle earlier. He's like eighth in points, 74 back. How big a deficit is that, given what's left?
GREG BIFFLE: I don't think it's a big deficit, because he was 80 ahead coming in. You know, that can be made up fairly quickly. When you reset the points, a points shift can come so easily. Just today, all the Chase guys were running in the top 10. I knew if I just finished second or third it was going to catapult me past a lot of those guys, because a lot of them we were even with, but they were staged in front of me just because of the way NASCAR did the seeding. Then if I was in front of somebody that had one win, that was going to bump me up.
You'll see those swings, like we do at the beginning of the season. He's certainly not out of it, as long as he doesn't self destruct.
Q: Back in January at your shop you kind of mocked complaint that at a test you'd do one or two laps and then have to turn it over to the guys in the white coats. What does it do for your confidence today to come back and make a car better?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, the white coats did a good job getting the car ready for today. That was a question outside by TV guys was, Where are you planning on testing, what is your test schedule coming up? I thought about it. We're testing Charlotte. We talked about going to Kentucky or someplace else.
We might be better fit to rummage through all the test data we have, all the information and paperwork, just science out, scientifically look at what everything's been done, try and analyze what the best scenario is going to be for going to Dover and going to Kansas for the first time, all these other places, and back to Phoenix, look over the test data, look at what we did at Milwaukee and here, make a good decision on it.
GREG ERWIN: For the people that haven't been on the white coat side of it, as a previous white coater, myself, you need to understand that when we go to just a two day test, the amount of information that we can collect nowadays with the systems that we run on the cars is more than myself and the engineer and the engineer next to me and the engineer next to him can look at in three days or four days or a week. I mean, there's that much information there. Sometimes you don't realize it until two weeks after the test. It's not like you can test 10 hours, go to the hotel room that night and page through that stuff. The answer may not be right there. It may not be until two weeks later that you actually find it.
The benefits of things like that don't immediately come out. You don't show up the next day of the test and run 3/10ths faster because you stayed up all night. It's like trying to read a book that's this thick. It just doesn't happen that quick.
Q: Greg, you did come in overlooked. I don't know if you were a dark horse or not. Does that inspire or motivate you? Do you like being the stealth candidate? And Erwin, does that motivate your guys?
GREG BIFFLE: I think it inspires me a little bit to want to make a statement, I guess. I've been thinking about it for quite some time. I just thought about what I need to do for the next 10 weeks. I've thought over and over about it. Just got to get my car right on Saturday, Friday and Saturday, and drive the best race I can on Sunday. The best man's going to win at the end of the 10 weeks.
I just can't wait to go to Dover.
GREG ERWIN: The overlooked, dark horse, not the favorite really makes no difference to me. I look at it, it's common sense, you've got a guy out there that's won eight races, you've got a guy that's won six, you've got a guy that's won two or three of the last four. Of course they're going to be the favorites. That's just human nature. It's like that in any sport. I certainly wouldn't take that personal.
Q: The 18 team, I was talking to the guys, if they have any solace, it's they said maybe that Kyle would be better as the hunter instead of the hunted, which means he's hunting after you. Talk about that, Kyle as the hunter and you having to defend in a different way?
GREG BIFFLE: I think it's great. I want to be the hunted, but I want to be the No. 1 hunted. I just want to leave Phoenix, I want to be on the way to Homestead about 150, 160 point lead.
GREG ERWIN: 195.
GREG BIFFLE: It will make me feel a lot better than I do right now.
Q: Greg, in winning this race in a straight fight you beat the two time defending champion who appeared to be sailing to his third straight win, I think everybody in this room was thinking with 15 laps to go, Jimmie Johnson is off to a perfect start. You just didn't end a winless streak today, but you threw down the gauntlet in beating the best guy in the series.
GREG BIFFLE: I wasn't thinking he was going to win three straight on that last restart (smiling). Just to get that out there.
Yeah, I mean, I don't want to brag, but it was a textbook pass. I mean, I got in the corner good. I got after the throttle early. I got close enough to him that I got a little bit of air off the back of his car, or he got to the gas a little fast because he saw me there.
As soon as I got the opportunity to have a little run, I got my nose inside of him, got a little loose. This nose pushes a lot of air out the side. So I got some side force on his bumper. You know, then he was loose up in that gray coming off the corner, couldn't get the gas down. That gave me the run down the straightaway to clear him. I was completely clear of him getting into three, which I was surprised on. Normally I figured I was going to have to race him hard down there.
He had been watching me all day drive my butt off and over drive the car, been loose, made some mistakes. So he was probably planning on me making a mistake in the last 14 laps.
Q: Does it mean more he's the guy to beat?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, you know, he's won three in a row, or he's won a lot of races. He won the last two years, been the champion. We have to beat those guys in order to get that Sprint Cup trophy that I saw in New York. We have to beat those guys. That's what we're here to do. That's what we're thankful, fortunate enough to do today. Just hopefully nine more times we can at least compete with him or finish in front of him.
Q: Try to divorce yourself not being in the Chase. Five guys came into it without a win. Were they more dangerous in the scheme of things than the three guys that had 18 of the first 26 wins?
GREG BIFFLE: I think so because the 12 guys that are in there, all of them are capable. I was asked that question in New York this week. Who is the dark horse? I said, I wouldn't handicap any of 'em. Jeff Gordon can do it. Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer. I mean, Denny Hamlin. You name all those guys, any one of them can win this title, and any one of them are capable of winning every single week that we show up at the track.
We were so close to winning this year. I think of California. I think I got caught speeding at Pocono. Then we caught the air hose at Michigan. We were running right there, just so close for a win. I mean, I was frustrated we didn't have a win, but I wasn't going to let that affect my mindset. I had the mindset that I had to put down 10 of the best races of my life, and that's what I have to do to win the championship. That's what I walked out this morning and headed for the car to do, is just do the best I can do for 10 weeks.
Q: Erwin said you said you were just going to go balls to the wall. He said no conservative, no points racing. Talk about that conversation that you had with him.
GREG BIFFLE: Well, I told him when we left California, Congratulations on making the Chase for your first time, and that we're going to go balls out for the next 10 weeks, 11 weeks. We're going to give it all we have. We're going to make a big impact. We'll make a good run at it. I can promise you that. I knew that we would.
I was frustrated we went to Richmond, got the car too loose going into the corner, made a mistake. That was weighing heavy on me coming here. But we were able to get back to a 14th place finish. Actually, if you look at Richmond, that was kind of a championship effort. We were in the fence, knocked the front end out, pulled the sheet metal out, we were at the back of the pack, stayed on the lead lap, set the tow on pit road, started dead last with 30 to go and finished 14th. To recover from what Kyle Busch's problem was today, you know, that's a huge deal. What we did there I knew was going to be a threat when we got in here and got going.
KERRY THARP: Congratulations, gentlemen. Good luck this week at Dover.