GREG BIFFLE, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is in 11th place in the standings heading into this weekend's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. He met with the media following Friday's practice session, in which he was eighth fastest. "We ...
GREG BIFFLE, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is in 11th place in the standings heading into this weekend's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. He met with the media following Friday's practice session, in which he was eighth fastest.
"We certainly know that we need to continue to run like we did this last weekend at Indy, and we feel like we've been a team capable of running like that -- we have run like that, actually, this whole season -- but the three races prior to that, obviously, a lot of issues. We had troubles on pit road, troubles with the car, track position, so we needed to get back on track and we did that at Indy. We like this race track. We really like Watkins Glen, Michigan. So, we feel like if we can keep these top-fives up, certainly that's what we need to do to get in (to the Chase). The bad part is that Juan Pablo and Kasey Kahne are good here, and of course they run good at the road course with Kasey winning at Sonoma. So, those are kind of the guys we're racing for the Chase spots. Kyle Busch is not out of it. So, we're up against some tough competition, but we know we have to not make mistakes, and finish these races up front."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF PIT STOPS -- PARTICULARLY HERE AT POCONO? AND, WHAT KIND OF INPUT DO YOU HAVE IN TERMS OF STRATEGY, CHANGES, ETC.? "It's hard for a driver to really decide the strategy from the cockpit. It's easier for us to decide what we want change on the car, or we may have an opinion on whether two or four tires. But as far as anything else goes, we don't know the fuel mileage, we don't how many laps there is to go, so it's hard for us to calculate who stopped when and all of that with all of that information, but we can certainly offer opinions on two or four tires or whatnot. We can definitely help with that, but it's a tough call. It's easy on Monday to figure out what you should've done; it's hard when you've got about 20 seconds what to do. So, it's a difficult decision to make. We've made a few mistakes -- like I said, Indy was great, we did a flawless job, but leading up to that we had a few errors. We missed quickie yellow at Chicago. We dropped a catch can and got a pass-through penalty. We took the wave around and the caution never came out, the next time we pitted and then the caution came out. So, woulda', shoulda', coulda'. Those are the things that we're going to have to avoid. Those are tough. It's the toughest part of this game."
ON RACING AT POCONO. "Of course you think about what happened the last race, so we think about this race. We ran second most of the day, third, led some of it, and then we didn't have good enough fuel mileage to make it in the end, so we had to make an extra stop versus Tony and Carl and all those guys. We finished 11th, still, but we had to make an extra pit stop and give up that precious track position. So we've been working hard on mileage. There's nothing you can do if your car doesn't get the fuel mileage it needs. You can wish it to get the best fuel mileage it can, that's hard to come up with, but we've been working hard on fuel mileage. We hope it doesn't come down to that. We hope it comes down to pure racing. And we know we're going to be in the top five, we feel like."
ROBERT YATES USED TO SAY THAT AT THIS LEVEL YOU WIN RACES BECAUSE YOU'VE GOT BETTER TRICKS THAN THE OTHER GUY -- EVERYBODY'S CAPABLE, BUT YOU'VE GOT SOMETHING BETTER. LAST YEAR YOUR TEAMMATE, CARL EDWARDS, WON NINE RACES, AND THIS YEAR HENDRICK IS WINNING. HAVE YOU FIGURED IT OUT OR ARE YOU STILL LOOKING AT THE FILMS TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT'S GOING ON OVER THERE? "We're looking at the films, we're looking at their cars, trying to pay attention. They're a little bit ahead of the curve right now, I think, than most of the other teams. But it's so small of a change. It's 10- or 20-thousandths of this or that. It's not a big chunk. We feel like it's real small, and we're trying to hone in on what that is. We feel like we're gaining on it. We ran decent at Indy, but the 5 and the 48 were faster than us, it's just that simple. We were a little better than the 14, which gives us some confidence, but still the two Hendrick cars were beating us, and we've got to figure out how th beat them or be better. We gained something on our car in practice today, made some changes. We're just continuing to learn all the time. But, it's hard to catch them."
DOES NASCAR NEED SPEEDOMETERS ON THE DASHBOARD? "That's kind of the history of our sport. It's a stock car and it doesn't have all the creature comforts. We don't have on-board data systems or anything like that, hopefully we never will have any on-board data at all, but we technically have a speedometer, if you will. If you put on a speedometer right next to the tachometer the needles both are going to read really relatively the same thing. It will take out the error of when you're behind the pace car and you look at the tachometer and you get the speed, it could take that mile or two of error out of it, where you have a little more accurate speed. But, the reality is is we technically already have a speedometer with that tach. The thing is there's error in the actual devices, so if you had a speedometer, would be 100-percent accurate or would you need to verify it every race? You'd almost have to verify it every race. That's sort of what we do with that tachometer, is we qualify them. But those are electronic pieces that are picking up RPMs so they could have a slight bit of error one way or the other, and 50 RPM can make a difference, and so can a couple miles an hour on speedometer if we had a speedometer. It's difficult. And it's not as easy as it sounds to put a speedometer on it because we don't have a way to pick up the mile-per-hour currently, unless you did a GPS speedometer, would be the only 100-percent accurate way, is to do a GPS speedometer."
ON NOT HAVING WON AT POCONO. "That's a good question. This race track and myself have a love-hate relationship that we're trying to work through. We run good here every single time we run here. I think it's a lot of fun to race on. I love the way it's layed out. But every race we run in the top five here, every time we've been here. I can't remember a time we've been here that really we haven't run in the top five, but we could never finish there. For instance, the last race. We led, we ran second to Carl for a long time, passed the 48, the 48 and I and the 99 trading the baton back and forth. The green flag would come out, I would pass the 14. We ran there all day long and then it comes down to the last run of the day and we don't make it and we have to pit for fuel. So, it really hurts to not finish where you've been running. I don't think we've finished where we've been running here all but one time -- one time we finished where we were running, I think that was a top five. But, other than that, something freak has happened. I got caught speeding on pit road, the last pit box. That probably cost us a win. It was Kasey Kahne and I that day. We got caught by the rain. Pitted and the rain came out and Jeff Gordon won. It's just a number of things that we've had issues with here. But, hopefully, this time here we'll get it ironed out."
ON THE MUSTANG RUNNING IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES. "I think it's pretty exciting. Racing is driven by, I feel, sports cars and the Mustang is really one of the flagship cars for Ford and it always has been. So, I think it's going to be exciting for the Nationwide series to have that car, and I think it's going to create excitement with the customers. Shoot, there's a magazine -- Muscle Mustang Magazine -- so I think it's going to be good for Ford to finally get an opportunity to get that badge into the NASCAR series. It'll be good for our sport. I think it will bring more attention to fans. I think it will improve our TV ratings. I think it will improve recognition of our sport to get a vehicle like that on the race track, or the perception of that, at least. I think it'll help Ford, and I think it'll help the sport."
-credit: ford racing