Ford Racing press release
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Ford40mpg.com Ford Fusion, has been the fastest Ford on the speed chart all weekend. Biffle, who qualified a Ford-best fourth on Friday, was the highest-ranking Blue Oval driver in Saturday’s first practice session (fourth). Biffle, who won this race in 2008, spoke about his performance so far this weekend and whether or not fuel mileage will once again play a factor in tomorrow’s race.
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR CAR? “I’m really happy with it. We’re bouncing back and forth between some pretty dramatic setup changes from one thought process to another on shocks, springs, nose-weight and all that, but I feel pretty good about the overall drive of it. We ran really well here in the spring. We ran down the 39 and had to stop whereas he didn’t, so that was really the only reason why we didn’t possibly win, so we’re in the same boat.”
YOU SEEM TO PERFORM WELL HERE. WHY? “I have a hard time figuring out what I do and what I don’t do (laughing). It’s just kind of flat and unique. What’s weird is that I’m mediocre at Richmond and not very good at Martinsville, although I’ve been running better, so this is kind of the same.”
YOU HAVE A WIN AT THIS TRACK, SO WHAT’S THE KEY FOR TOMORROW? “At this place it’s all about track position because it’s really hard to pass, and keeping your car turning in the middle without being loose in. That’s the whole key – not being loose in and being able to turn in the middle because normally you’ve got to wait on it to turn and if you wait on it to turn, guys are driving away. If you can get it to where you’re not sliding in and still go around the center, you’ve got something.”
IT’S NOT A LONG RACE, SO WILL WE SEE SOME FIREWORKS WITH GUYS TRYING TO GET THAT TRACK POSITION AND KEEP IT? “You always do at Loudon because guys drive down in the corner side-by-side and you free your car up as much as you can get the thing to rotate in the center and guys get loose underneath guys here. It just happens.”
FUEL MILEAGE HAS BEEN AN ISSUE ALL YEAR. WHAT’S IT LIKE AS A DRIVER TO CONSTANTLY HAVE THAT AS A FACTOR IN THE RACE? “It’s frustrating because it’s totally out of your control. It feels like, to a driver, no matter what it might be, that all of your effort, all of your hard work, all of your experience, all of your knowledge, all of your precision on the race track, all of your pit stops, everything that you’ve worked at forever means nothing – technically. In a technical aspect it means nothing because if you don’t have that one piece it doesn’t matter because it’s all in vain. The sport is the same all the way around. If you don’t have a good pit crew, if you don’t have a good engine, no matter what it might be, that one thing can pull it down. Everywhere we go now that one thing can be, not always, but can be fuel mileage.”
IT COULD BE THAT TOMORROW? “It could be that tomorrow, it could be that for the rest of the races and it seems like it’s more and more of that. From the outside, there are people who might look at it and think a fuel mileage race is the last run of the day, like last week when guys are backing off, shutting the engine off and coasting. What some people don’t understand is that when you pit and then the caution comes out and three-quarters of the field hasn’t pitted yet and you get caught a lap down, or you lose your track position, once you lose your track position here it’s gonna take half the race to get your track position back because this race is so short. You’ll need some pit stops or two-tire stops or stay out to get that back, but when you’re down to the last two or three stops of the day and you get caught on mileage because you pitted and the rest of the guys didn’t and the caution comes out, that’s where every single race could be fuel mileage. If you have a green flag pit cycle, then fuel mileage is a factor no matter what track you’re at. If you’re pitting at Martinsville or Texas or here or Richmond because you go as long as the fuel tank goes and then you stop. If somebody else can go four or five more laps, you’re vulnerable once you’ve pitted and people don’t perceive that as fuel mileage. Anytime we have a green flag pit stop in any race, fuel mileage can be a factor. Now, if the caution doesn’t come out in that four-lap window, then it’s not a factor. The second scenario would be you can go 72 laps and the caution comes out with 75 to go. A lot of people think that’s the only time a race is a fuel mileage race, but that’s not the case.”