Michigan: Winning team interview, part 2

Continued from part 1 WHEN YOU CARS GET THIS GOOD DO YOU START TO HEAR FOOTSTEPS FROM NASCAR? JACK ROUSH: "Boy, this has not been that slow a news day (laughing). You don't need to write the editorial (laughing). I think NASCAR is in a...

Continued from part 1

WHEN YOU CARS GET THIS GOOD DO YOU START TO HEAR FOOTSTEPS FROM NASCAR?

JACK ROUSH: "Boy, this has not been that slow a news day (laughing). You don't need to write the editorial (laughing). I think NASCAR is in a real box here, not with me but with whoever would step up. We've got so many templates and we've got so many inspectors and we've got so much electronically recorded and reported, that I don't know how you would effect or weight this outcome. I think if it's fair and it's gonna be fair. The one thing that they haven't done, we even talked about this, the one thing we've missed or that they've missed is we could limit the number of people that go to the race track, and I guess you could run some kind of a standard racing test - an SRT test or something - and limit the total IQ. You could have so many dummies or you could have twice as many real smart people (laughing). But, anyway, the thing that isn't regulated is how efficiently people work together and how much they pull together, and I'm blessed with people around me right now. They don't approve of me most days, but the approve of one another and they try to help one another. Yeah, they rub a little on the race track. I hope they don't flip each other off, but maybe they're borderline discourteous once in a while when somebody has the speed and somebody else wants the spot, but they work together. We've got the most harmonious group and I think the most efficient blend of engineer and driver and crew chief in stock car racing today, and I think that's the reason we're having success. Regardless of how the rules have changed and regardless of the templates that would come out, I think when the people sit down - as long as they don't bring some template to us or some rule to us and not give us an equal amount of time to work on it, I'm confident that our people will be as competitive as the drivers are."

WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH QUALIFYING IF YOU COULD?

JACK ROUSH: "What I'd like to do with qualifying is have two-day programs, where you'd test qualify and impound on one day and then race the next day. With the 36 races we've got now, and, by the way, I'm not averse to bringing a couple more into schedule. I think it could be 38, but to have a two-day event, rather than spread out over three days is great. Whether there's no testing or whether there's all the testing in the world is fair. Regardless of what they do as long as everybody can do it. The limited testing policy is good, I think, and limiting the number of days would be good, and limiting the number of people that would go to the race track per team or per driver, I think that would be OK, too."

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU COULD START FROM SCRATCH?

GREG BIFFLE: "I really like to qualify and being able to change the car some. There are certain things that we can do to the race car to make it easier to qualify. However you want to state it, if they gave us a few more options, which means opening the hood and bringing tools and changing some stuff, but if we could change the front swaybar to qualify. If we could move the track bar to qualify, but not all the qualifying oils and wheel bearings and special this or special that. If we could do a few more things to the race car to get it where it's better so that we can qualify it, that wouldn't bother me any. Obviously, I qualified 25th today. I want to qualify better than that, but my car is so loose with the way I have it set up that I can't do that. I'm happy with the impound. Like Jack, I'm in favor of condensing the shows, but I'm not in favor of losing practice time. We need to keep the practice time. We need three hours of practice and we need to break it up to where we have more time in between the practices. Put the Busch cars on the race track during that. I thought that was a good combination and I think they're on the right track about condensing the shows. One thing I didn't understand is that we went to Dover this year for an impound race and we added a day to the schedule. The Busch cars were on the track on Thursday, so I didn't quite understand how the schedule increased by a day, instead of decrease or stay the same. But they're working the bugs out of it and I think they're on the right track."

HOW DO YOU KEEP FROM GOING CRAZY OVER THINGS LIKE BRAKE PADS FALLING OFF?

DOUG RICHERT: "That's the main reason that we have the meeting that we have on Tuesday with Jack and the crew chiefs and the engineers of all the teams. The more people that back each other up, the less mistakes that we'll all make. We're bringing stuff to the table to back up one another so that if one person or two teams going to the track and the other three are different, we need to know why. Is it just an oversight? Like the brake package for instance. It's the same brake package that we used for both races last year, but what we still have to be aware of and realize with the gear rule - but having people back each other up. If they're going to the track one way and we're going there the other, we just missed the brake package. We didn't realize we were gonna be effected like we did with the gear rule and without shifting and less rpm to slow it down. That really killed us and in the race it bit us and really hurt us."

JACK ROUSH: "But coming through that, realizing that we had a problem and somebody missed it and some people didn't, then there's one more document that goes in the system where we look at things together in terms of what we're taking brakes to the race track right now. So we get an engineering sign-off that Jimmy's system is not different and more problematic, it doesn't have a great propensity to have a failure or that Mark's sort of pads doesn't. So we're gonna look over one another's shoulder a little more deliberately before we go to the race track, rather than rely on the guys that actually bolt the parts on the car to talk to one another and say, 'Hey, I've got smaller calipers than you. Do you think that's gonna make a difference?'"

ASIDE FROM DAYTONA, WERE THERE ANY RACES WHERE YOU KNEW IT WASN'T GOING TO BE YOUR DAY?

GREG BIFFLE: "Martinsville. That's my worst race track. Martinsville and I don't get along very well. We're gonna spend a couple days together and talk coming up. Dover. We won there. I wasn't for sure that we were gonna get it decent enough to be able to win because we changed so much stuff. That was more our 2004 grocery bag and shopping cart of stuff at the car and see how it runs in the race. We went back to the Busch race to learn some stuff, and I think Dover was probably the biggest surprise to me of how I started out and then how dominant and fast I was after I got the car the way I wanted it. That was a big swing in the race, but, other than that, it's pretty much been business as usual. There are races I don't feel like I can win. I feel like I have a chance to, but I'm not saying I can win here. Richmond, I didn't feel like I could really win there, but I felt like I could run in the top five and possibly win if the situation is right."

WHAT ABOUT SONOMA?

GREG BIFFLE: "I don't know if I can win in Sonoma. I'm gonna try to be like Jeff Gordon and Boris Said and all the road racers that are gonna be there. I think I run better at the Glen than I do at Sonoma, but we were fourth in Sonoma last year and ran out of gas, so I think we're gonna be OK there."

CAN YOU EMPATHIZE WITH TONY WHO WAS UPSET AT SECOND AND MARK WHO IS THRILLED WITH THIRD?

GREG BIFFLE: "Did you hear my interview after the Atlanta race? The worst day of my life. I had an awesome car. Tony had a pretty good car. I was faster than Tony the last third of the run or better. I was catching him right there at the beginning of the run and he was gonna have a little trouble if it stayed green, but, yeah, I've been there. Man, I tell you what, I've gotten bit so many times by not making the right adjustments in the pits. I lost my track position at Atlanta. They would have never beat me if they wouldn't have beat me out of the pits, so it's frustrating. We only get 36 chances a year to win and not every race do you show up and have a race car like that. When you show up and have a race car like that and then didn't win, he's not happy. Look at how he finished the last five races, and to come here and do that and then not win, it's a pretty good letdown."

WAS THIS YOUR CALIFORNIA CAR?

GREG BIFFLE: "No. We've got that bullet back in the treasure box. This is the same car that I ran here at the end of last year and ran Kansas and Homestead with."

ANY DOUBT ABOUT GETTING BACK AND WINNING RACES?

DOUG RICHERT: "Sure, because it's so hard to have such a great package like we've got right now and to be part of it. It takes every piece of the puzzle to win these races and I'm just happy to be here to be part of it and the organization."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE INJURY FROM LAST NIGHT AND WERE THERE ANY KEY ADJUSTMENTS THAT MADE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE TODAY?

GREG BIFFLE: "No, it was pretty much stupidity on my part. Well, it was stupidity on the other guys' part - Tyler Walker. Unless that team has the kind of money that it takes to run a driver like that that crashes every week and is in people's way - has no respect for other drivers on the lead lap with 10 laps to go - it's guys like that who end up without a ride and don't know why. There's guys running Nextel Cup cars that are like that, that are down to their last hurrah, you know, and there's a perfect example why. They'll never do anything in our sport. There was something wrong with the suspension on the car. I had no decklid, I don't know what was wrong with it, but I spun out and hit the wall on the left side pretty hard. I hurt my foot. I hit my head pretty hard. It probably knocked me out momentarily, I suppose, and cut my wrist. But it was painful. My guts hurt today. My stomach, ribs, shoulders, head - I've got a headache, but you've got to do what you've got to do."

DID YOU DO ANYTHING TO THE CAR?

GREG BIFFLE: "No, I didn't do anything in the car. I just wasn't in a real cheerful mood. I just kind of moseyed to the car, got in. I was pretty upset that I made that kind of mistake. I mean, the car, there's something wrong with it. I almost wrecked twice going three-quarters speed and then I spin the thing out and put it in the wall and almost hurt myself bad. I've got to have more sense than that."

DO YOU FEEL BETTER NOW?

GREG BIFFLE: "Yeah. Winning cures everything."

TALK ABOUT HAVING FOUR TOP FIVE FINISHERS.

JACK ROUSH: "Today was the 100th win for the Ford Taurus, so it was great for that. It was great to win here on the 100th anniversary of the Ford Motor Company. It was great to win with Flash, the fastest man alive. That was one of the coolest cars and the coolest promotions we've ever been a part of when he pulled that off. There have been so many great successes that we've had here over the years. It's close to Roush Industries and we enjoy having all our people come out and our customers come out. We've got about 2000 employees in the area that work in support of the automobile industry and this is home. I am for MIS like most of the rest of the NASCAR community is with regard to Charlotte. Winning Charlotte is such a big deal for all the teams that live there. Well, I've still got my foot in two different regions. I like what's going on in Charlotte because I'm part of that, but I like to come up here and do well as well."

IS THERE A CONCERN THINGS COULD GO BAD AT THE WRONG TIME?

JACK ROUSH: "From the organizations point of view I'm real confident that the organization is stable. We've had a terrible run of misfortune with Matt Kenseth's program and you saw today how it did. It's been the same program. We haven't changed a person. The crew chief hasn't changed. Matt didn't go to some drying out clinic. The only thing that happened that caused a turnaround in that program is just the stars lined up. They were lined up all snake eyes for a while and now they're moving toward a more neutral situation. So we've endured the lulls and this is obviously a high. I don't expect to go to the next handful of races and have another four out of the top five or five out of the top 10, but whenever it happens I'll be thankful for it and put it in the bank because I know that there will be bad times coming."

-ford racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Boris Said , Tyler Walker