Greg Biffle held a Q&A session Friday at Martinsville Speedway in advance of Sunday's Tums Fast Relief 500. GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 3M Ford Fusion HOW WAS PRACTICE AND WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE WEEKEND? "The first practice ...
Greg Biffle held a Q&A session Friday at Martinsville Speedway in advance of Sunday's Tums Fast Relief 500.
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
HOW WAS PRACTICE AND WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE WEEKEND? "The first practice went remarkably well. I don't know what happened, but I think we finished up near to the top 10 or the top 5. I've either figured something out or the track is being good to me, or we've got our car a little bit better than it's been in the past. All kidding aside, it seems like it's decent for the first part of it. Hopefully, we can qualify up there and then tomorrow work on trying to get it to run like that on long runs. That's going to be the important part, so I feel pretty good about it so far, and I'm looking forward to Sunday."
HOW MUCH HAS ROUSH FENWAY BENEFITTED FROM THE RPM RELATIONSHIP? "I think that we've benefitted greatly from the relationship. I would have to say we've probably benefitted a little bit more from the relationship than they have. That may not be a true statement. We've gotten our cars better and more competitive because of some technology that they had, but I think we've been able to help them on parts and pieces and producing their cars and manufacturing and all those, so I think it's been a two-way street, but we've benefitted speed-wise, which competitiveness-wise we've got a greater benefit out of that part of it. They've probably got a greater benefit out of having more durable pieces and not having stuff breaking on the race track.
"It's important for them to survive because the relationship between our company and their company, they can bring information to the table that we can learn at the race track, and it helps us, I think, to be able to manufacture parts and pieces for them, similar to what Hendrick does for other people, and Gibbs, so I think it's important they survive, and for Ford. We're the only Ford team - the two of us - so I think it's important we keep their presence in the sport."
DID ALL THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES FALL INTO PLACE FOR DENNY TO WIN THIS RACE IN THE SPRING? COULD THAT HAPPEN AGAIN? "Well, I think a little of both. I think tires are important here. Tires are worth a lot of speed, but you've got to be able to pass. When the cars are side-by-side it makes it difficult to pass here, so there were some unique circumstances with bumping and banging and the cars got slowed up, he got some lane choices there that worked for him. Can it be done? Certainly. There will be guys that do it again this year. I tend to like to have tires on it and to have grip, so you can really go, but track position is nice as well, so you've got to juggle between one another on track position or tires."
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH 15 TO GO? "Fifteen to go I'm probably thinking about two, and a lot of it depends on how many laps I have on my tires. Do I have 140 laps on my tires or 125, or do I have 60 or less? That makes a big impact as well. The other thing is when was the last caution? There's so much that goes into it. Let's say there was a caution 10 laps earlier, or 15 laps earlier and everybody stayed out. Well, from 12th on back everyone stopped for tires. Now we went another 12 laps and the caution comes out again. If we pit, 12th on back are staying out because they got tires 15 laps ago, so now you're gonna start eighth with cars that have pretty good tires. If you stay out, you've got eight cars behind you that you might be able to stay in front of that the new tires are stuck behind, so there are so many scenarios that can happen and that's what a crew chief has to determine - all those scenarios and what if, what if, what if."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CHASE SCENARIO RIGHT NOW? "It's frustrating that you work all season and it gets down to you pitted and the caution came out and trapped you, and then it comes down to we had the engine too lean and we blew up. Therefore, we're out of the hunt and we've got to wait until next year to make another go at the title. First, we've got to make the Chase and then we've got to perform again. That's a lot to think about and a lot to look towards. As far as the championship goes, the reality is that if you're not in it, I don't really care. If I can't win it, then it really doesn't affect me. If Jimmie wins it again or Denny wins it or Kevin Harvick or Tony, it's not gonna impact me that much. I'm just gonna compete and try to do the best I can and see where I can get to in the points and just see what happens."
YOU'VE HAD TWO TOP-10 FINISHES AT TALLADEGA IN THE LAST THREE RACES. HAS SOME STRATEGY WORKED FOR YOU OR IS IT LUCK? "I think both. Stay out of the wreck and stay out of the wreck. That's gotten us top-10 finishes. We've got good cars. We almost won the Daytona 500. We've been right there restrictor plate racing, it's just a matter of some you get through and some you don't. I like restrictor plate racing, but I don't like being in the wreck. Hopefully, we have another top 10 run coming up. I'm looking forward to it and maybe the tides will change if the 48 wrecks and Mulhern will have something to write about when he's 60 points behind (laughing)."
IF YOU WERE JEFF GORDON AND 156 POINTS OUT OF THE LEAD, DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE OUT OF IT? "No, he's not out of it because if those three wreck at Talladega, where is he at? That's very possible. Now, ask me that question after Talladega and I'll tell you whether I think he's out of it or not, but at 150 points, he's not out of it. The thing you've got to remember at Talladega is about every car finishes, so we're coming to the white and those guys wreck, they get 36th place. It's not like you're gonna get 21st. You spin out on the white flag and you're in the gutter. Now, if they all run in the top 15 or top 10 at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead, yeah, he's out of it. But next week is gonna determine how far. He's got to gain points next week on at least two of those guys that are furthest ahead of him."
SO THAT IS THE WILD CARD RACE? "I think so, and here. You could have your brakes go out. You could burn a gear up. Normally, we don't really see engine issues here. If you get spun out here or you get involved in something, normally you can keep going, so it's not so much of a wild card, but I think next week clearly is because we know there are wrecks at those race tracks and it's just the bingo machine of who is going to be in it."
AT SOME POINT THOUGH DON'T YOU HAVE TO BEAT THE 48 AND NOT BANK ON A WILD CARD? "Yes. There's no doubt he has to beat him. His question was, 'Is he out of it?' And I would say no. He's not gonna be in front of him after Talladega. Let's say Jeff Gordon finishes in the top five and Jimmie gets involved in a wreck and he's in the high 30s, they're gonna be real close. Now, yes, Jeff Gordon will have to outperform Jimmie Johnson at Phoenix, Texas and Homestead - not every race - but he's gonna have to perform at the level of him. Now maybe Jeff Gordon feels like they can't perform at that level. Maybe that's possible. I would say my odds here of performing with the 48, the 11 and the 24 are less than the other three race tracks. The other three race tracks I feel like I can beat them, and Jeff Gordon has to feel like he can beat him here and maybe one or two of those other race tracks. I'm speculating on what his thought process would be."
KASEY KAHNE IS TAKING SOME CRITICISM FOR NOT GETTING BACK IN THE CAR LAST WEEK. KYLE BUSCH WAS SIMILARLY CRITICIZED IN 2007 AT TEXAS. IT USED TO BE DRIVERS HAD TO BE RESTRAINED FROM GETTING BACK IN THEIR CAR AFTER A WRECK. HAVE THINGS CHANGED THAT MUCH? "In my eyes, no, because I'm gonna have to be physically restrained not to get back in that car. I will have tears in my eyes if I can't drive it. That's all there is to it. That's what they pay me to do. I take pride in that, to do my best whatever it is. I'll admit I'm not the best driver at Martinsville, but when I go out on the race track I give it 110 percent whether I'm running 28th or fifth or wherever I'm at - I give it 100 percent all the time and I'll never quit on my guys or myself until I can't do it anymore. I find it ironic that Kyle was driving for Rick Hendrick when he decided not to get back in the race car and that's who Kasey is going to drive for. I don't know. It's weird. I don't know all the circumstances around it, but I didn't know he was sick before the race or during or whatever. I wasn't in Kasey's shoes, so I can't criticize whether he was physically able to get back in or not. That's Kasey's call, but I would be there too. I would be scratching and clawing. There are times I don't want to go back out, but when I'm asked to go back out on the track, I do the best I can do."
-source: ford racing