Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is in seventh place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with just two races remaining. Biffle has three top-10s in his last four Cup starts at Phoenix; he has three Nationwide Series...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is in seventh place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with just two races remaining. Biffle has three top-10s in his last four Cup starts at Phoenix; he has three Nationwide Series victories at PIR -- including one earlier this year. Biffle was fourth fastest in Friday's practice session.
"I love this race track. It's a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to it. I've got a couple of chances left in this season to pick up a win, and we're continuing to try and chip away at the points. We made some pretty decent gains the last couple of weeks. We're close to a few guys now, so we'll see what we can do about continuing to move up, and I'm looking forward to racing here on Sunday."
DO YOU HAVE TO FIGURE OUT THIS TRACK BEFORE THE RACE? OR, CAN YOU ADJUST ON IT ON SUNDAY? "This race track, that's one thing I like about it, it's kind of difficult and it's different from one end to the other, extremely different. And it's kind of got some quirks to it. It kind of suits my driving style. Yeah, you better be pretty close before the race starts. The biggest struggle, obviously, one end is completely different from the other -- you're always too tight down there and always too loose down in three and four, and it's getting that balance. When the green flag drops and thing's plowing in the middle down there, the only thing you can do is free it up and then you're so loose down there you can't step on the gas. So, you've got to get the set-up right prior to getting going."
CAN YOU LOOK BACK AT WINNING YOUR FIRST NASCAR CHAMPIONSHIP, IN THE TRUCK SERIES, AND EXPLAIN WHAT IT MEANT TO WIN ONE AS YOUR CAREER CONTINUED TO PROGRESS? "It was really, really important. I remember those days like it was today. It was Texas that I clinched the title, and the Nationwide Series, I clinched it here in Phoenix. It's memories that I carry with me. It's a lot of fun. Those championships are hard to come by, and you have to overcome a lot of obstacles to win them, and they mean a great deal to people."
IF YOU CLINCHED THE NATIONWIDE CHAMPIONSHIP HERE, WHAT WAS YOUR ATTITUDE GOING TO HOMESTEAD, AND HOW DID THAT WEEKEND GO? "It went really good. Hopefully, I'll experience that some day in the Sprint Cup Series. It's a lot of pressure off, just go down there and try to win, don't worry about anything else, and certainly you don't want to wreck your car. It was real nice going to Homestead with the title."
WITH NO TESTING, WHAT IS YOUR ORGANIZATION LOOKING TO DO DURING THE OFF-SEASON BEFORE THE 2010 SEASON STARTS? "Partly, what we have been doing is looking around for race tracks where we can go test, where it's still open to test -- like New Smyrna, Little Rock, things like that. I know North Wilkesboro is going to be back in business, to a degree. There's some other places. What we need to do is iron out these cars. The problem is you got two hours of practice, and it's really hard to say, 'We don't really care about this race this weekend, let's just try a whole bunch of different stuff and see if it works.' You can't really do that, you know, because we have to compete here on Sunday, so it makes it difficult to try and leap forward, spending 45 minutes in the garage changing front spindles, ball joints and the whole thing and go back out on the track and think whether that's better or not. That's a lot of what we're up against. Computer modeling, simulation, has come a long way. That helps. But you still need some track time."
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE DIFFICULTY OF GETTING ON TO PIT ROAD HERE? "Any time you're in the corner and you put your tire down on the apron to try and head in that direction, it makes the car super-loose, it makes it kind of want to spin. So, it's hard to get down on that flat, and then it seems to be dusty and dirty all the time, to try to get to pit road. And that's under green-flag conditions, which we very possibly will have green-flag stops here this weekend. There really isn't any easy pit road at these race tracks or in this sport -- there are a few, but there aren't very many, they're usually pretty challenging. This one is probably in the top 10, maybe top five in getting down there on to pit road."
A TRUE RACER KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SPEEDWAY AND A RACE TRACK. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO? THIS WOULD BE A RACE TRACK. AS A RACER, YOU PROBABY GET PRETTY EXCITIED ABOUT A PLACE LIKE THIS BECAUSE THE DRIVER HAS A CHANCE TO MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE. "Yeah. I guess I'm an uneducated racer because I call speedways the two restrictor-plate race tracks, they're kind of speedways in my book. The rest of them are race tracks, if you will -- Texas and here and everywhere else, Michigan and California. But, this is a great race track. This thing is a lot of fun to race on. It's like Richmond, it's like all of of those other places that are tough -- Darlington. Like I talked about: completely different corners. Turn one brakes like a road course almost, and then turn in and back in the gas really early. Dogleg backstretch, and then a real long, long sweeping corner over here, a constant radius, then it really kind of tightens up coming off of it. It's a tough place. There's no other way about it." CAN A DRIVER HUSTLE THE CAR AROUND THE TRACK HERE? "Yes. It is a driver-hustle race track."
YOU TALKED EARLY ABOUT CATCHING THE 48. AT TIMES, DOES THAT SEEM INSURMOUNTABLE BECAUSE OF WHAT THAT TEAM HAS ACCOMPLISHED OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS? "At times it does. At times it's frustrating. At times you feel like you're gaining on them, at times you feel, like at Kansas, for instance, we were a fair amount better than the 48 at Kansas, and it was something new we were trying, something in our development plan. So, we were super-excited, we were celebrating like we just won the Daytona 500, won 10 races in a row, even though we finished third, handed it to Tony Stewart, we felt like at that point, man, we've really made a year-and-a-half's worth of gain here in one race. And then we went to the next week and it was like we didn't know what we were doing. Speaking as far as our car or our team goes, that was a little frustrating, how we were on a high and then we were on a low. We went to California, which we thought would be similar to what worked there would work there and it clearly didn't."
IS IT PARTICULARLY FRUSTRATING WHEN SOMETHING LIKE TALLADEGA HAPPENS, WHEN THE 48 WAS IN THE BACK ALL DAY AND THEN FINISHED NEAR THE FRONT? "No, not really, because that's kind of philosophy with restrictor-plate racing and [Greg] Erwin talked about running up front for the day and running up front for these restrictor-plate races, felt like it was just a better spot. I normally do what Jimmie did, kind of try to stay a little bit out of the trouble until toward the end. But we qualified decent so I ran up front until we got a pit-road penalty and it put me in the back. So I was back there with the 48 until all of that took place, and I took fourth and he got sixth. You know, that's just restrictor-plate racing has kind of developed that, and that's all about luck and missing the wreck and being in the right place in the right time. I've gotten wrecked doing that. I was doing that at the Daytona 500 and it rained out and I finished 20th. Anything in the world can happen to you when you're in that position. It's the way it is. You have to look back and say, How was the wreck caused? Was it a normal racing accident? What caused that wreck that took that whole field out?
"Think about it, if that wreck wouldn't have happened, Mark Martin would've finished in the top 10 and Jimmie Johnson would've finished, probably, 15th. So, you can't always call it racing luck or did you do the right thing or whatever. How was the wreck caused is one thing I would look at. Was it a normal incident? Did a guy get a flat tire? Those things play a factor in this whole deal, too. That whole outcome from the steering wheel in one guy's car."
YOU'RE NO LONGER IN CONTENTION. IS ANY PART OF YOU ROOTING FOR MARK MARTIN TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "Yeah, I've been rooting for Mark Martin ever since it started, right after myself. So, I'm still rooting for Mark and I'm still rooting for myself to get fifth in points, or fourth. I think just out of the guys in the Chase, and how hard he's worked and what he's done for our sport, I wouldn't say anybody deserves it, but he certainly is just eligible as everybody else out of the whole mix."
WHAT'S LEFT TO DO THIS YEAR? WINS? POINTS? GETTING READY FOR NEXT YEAR? DO YOU CARE WHERE YOU END UP IN POINTS? "Yeah. It pays a lot of money for the final point standings for our sport, and your name is etched in that book for a long time. So getting the highest finish we can in the points is important. And maybe being right where I'm at, maybe I'd have a different opinion if I was 12th or 11th or 10th -- what's the difference between 10th and 11th? But we really have an opportunity to be fifth, I think, or at least sixth, it depends what happens. To finish fifth in points would be really big for me, I think. That would be big for our team. So, you're always trying to get the most points you can and try and get your car going for next year, and you're sort of all doing it together."
ARE YOU TRYING NEW THINGS? "Yeah, we're trying some stuff. First run of the day we went out and ran 10th on the sheets, came in, put some goofy stuff in there, it didn't drive very good, made an adjustment on it, still didn't like it, immediately came back and started working on a few other race things, and went right into qualifying trim. So that's about all we had."
-credit: ford racing