Greg Biffle, who has two top-10 finishes to his credit at Pocono Raceway including a fourth place finish in the 2004 fall race, took time to talk to media about what it takes to have success at Pocono, how he hopes his car will perform with the...
Greg Biffle, who has two top-10 finishes to his credit at Pocono Raceway including a fourth place finish in the 2004 fall race, took time to talk to media about what it takes to have success at Pocono, how he hopes his car will perform with the new FR9 engine this week, a look ahead to Michigan week and his view of the end of last week's race in Charlotte.
GREG BIFFLE, driver of No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
WHICH ENGINE DO YOU HAVE THIS WEEK? "I have the FR9. I have the new engine."
ARE YOU CONCERNED AT ALL? "No. It has been running really well. We are happy with it."
SO FROM HERE ON OUT DO ALL THE TEAMS HAVE THAT? "This weekend it is sporadic. Next weekend it will be all the teams but it will hop-scotch after that due to parts supply and how things go, but we are hoping it is from here on out."
WHY HAS IT TAKING SO LONG FOR THIS THING TO COME OUT? "I think when you are trying to build engines for nine teams, that is 18 engines a week. It takes awhile to ramp up and handle that amount of pistons and rings and all the other parts. That is a lot of pieces to have on the shelf and you don't want to go out and buy all that stuff until you know you have the right part. It is kind of a double edged sword. You can't go buy the stuff until you know what you need. When you know what you need, you have to guy buy it, but they have to make it. It takes a long time to integrate all new stuff."
WHAT WILL IT MEAN THAT YOU HAVE EIGHT TEAMS RUNNING THAT ENGINE AT MICHIGAN? "That is going to be great for us ^a it will be really neat to all be on the new engine. It is a lot of pressure on the engine shop though. They still have to build the old engines and now they have to build the new engines. They are having a tough time, but they are working very hard. They worked very hard to get these engines out for us this week and we are excited about that."
HOW WILL THE NEW ENGINE PLAY INTO THE FULE STRATEGY NEXT WEEK AT MICHIGAN? "We don't have a lot of fuel mileage history with the new engine yet. Certainly at Michigan we know that it takes a good engine with a lot of power. It is a big race track so having the new engine will be good for us. We will just have to wait and see about fuel mileage."
HAVE YOU GUYS DISCUSSED FUEL MILEAGE IN TERMS OF THIS WEEKEND AND THE NEW ENGINE? "We have discussed it, especially us because the 16 team has been the worst fuel mileage for about the last six or eight races. We are going into Pocono and Michigan which are both fuel mileage events, so I was asking guys for help on fuel mileage this week."
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS A DRIVER TO INCREASE YOUR FUEL MILEAGE? "The same thing you hear about ^a come out of the gas a little earlier and let it roll a little longer. When you push the gas down, only push it down one time. A lot of times we are messing with the throttle trying to get it down as soon as we can. Sometimes you wait just a split second longer and put it down nice and slow one time. Those are the kinds of little things you can do to make fuel so to speak."
IS IT HARD TO STAY MENTALLY SHARP FOR 500 MILES HERE? "It is. The straightaway's are so long and you have so much time to think about it ^a so much time to think about how to not make a mistake. Sometimes you over think it because you have so much time. It is a challenging place. It has three completely different corners, so it takes a lot of concentration."
YOU ARE HALWAY INTO THE CHASE, IS IT SOMETHING YOU THINK ABOUT? "We think about the Chase from Daytona. We have had a rough little patch going. Last week we had a good run going, but it was unfortunate we finished where we did. We have got to stay strong right now through this stretch in order to make the Chase. We are ninth in points, but we are on the edge so to speak. We aren't third or fourth, we are on that treading light territory."
DO YOU THINK AT ALL ABOUT JUST MAKING THE CHASE AND GETTING THE POINTS RESET? "Yeah, we can over analyze it a little bit, but the reality is we do just need to get in there. We want to be as high in the points as we can though so that we could lock in with a few races to go. You don't really want to wait until the last Chase race to see if you get in. That creates more and more pressure. You know it is going to be reset if you get in and that it is seeded by wins so those are important as well."
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE STANDINGS, HOW FAR DOWN DO YOU LOOK TO ANALYZE THINGS? "You look at points. We are ninth in points ^a 100 points in the Chase. We have a 100 point cushion. I look at it, but I don't memorize it. If they are stacked and 50 points spans seven or nine guys then you know there is a little more sense of urgency. There is always a sense of urgency when you are trying to get points."
THERE IS A CHANCE OF RAIN HERE TOMORROW, HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR PLANS TODAY? "Well it doesn't surprise me. If you look back at the history either Friday or Saturday has been rained out quite a bit. We will probably stay in race trim a little longer than normal. We know it is a long race and we can probably get track position throughout the race. Pit stall is important for us as well. If you don't get all the practice tomorrow you want to make sure you get the car right today before you put it on jack stands."
TEAM WISE YOU GUYS HAVE DONE PRETTY WELL HERE AT THIS TRACK, DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO THIS TRACK AS A PLACE YOU RUN WELL? "Yeah, I think so. Last year we ran in the top five the whole race ... both races actually. In both races we couldn't make it on fuel and then the other was kind of the same thing. We have always run well here though, so that is a little confidence when we come to Pocono."
LOOKING AHEAD TO MICHIGAN, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL THERE? "I love that track there. It is one of my favorite tracks. It takes a good balanced car. The corners are simpler there than most of the places. You normally run in a little different spots. Good balance and a balance that doesn't shift too much over a run is key. Good fuel mileage is also the key there; you have to have good fuel mileage to be successful there."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK BETWEEN KYLE AND JEFF? WERE YOU SURPRISED AT HIS REACTION AT ALL? "I think there is a cracking point for everybody. The thing is, it is the longest race of the season. You have run 595 miles of a 600 mile race and a guy drives into your left rear tire and cuts it down. Anybody is going to get pissed off - anybody. He was driving straight ahead. It is hard to run into something going straight ahead, it really is. That doesn't take any skill. If the space isn't wide enough for your car to pull in, and you try to pull into it, you are going to have a problem. It just doesn't work. It would be one thing if they were in the corner and he slid up a little bit and ran into each other ^a that stuff happens, but when you are driving straight ahead and just drive into the quarter panel, that's another story. I've watched the replay and it didn't look like the gap closed up. It looked like the gap just wasn't there. I saw the contact on TV just like everyone and the reality is that the contact wasn't necessary, whether the tire got cut or not ^a that is the way I look at it. This is our livelihood. This is how we make a living. You don't know how hard we work all night long, and to get down to where you can see the checkered flag and have someone run into you and cut your tire down is just tough."
-source: ford racing