GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 3M Ford Fusion HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR MOMENTUM GOING THIS WEEK? "We elected to bring the same car here as we ran at Indy. Normally, we don't do that these days, but I think Erwin felt like he wanted to bring that car here...
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR MOMENTUM GOING THIS WEEK? "We elected to bring the same car here as we ran at Indy. Normally, we don't do that these days, but I think Erwin felt like he wanted to bring that car here and I was okay with that. The car is running good. Unfortunately, we had an incident on lap two on the race track. We hit a piece of metal that was off another race car, a swaybar arm was broken and laying on the race track, so it wiped out the splitter and bent the tube on the right-front - took the exhaust pipes out and all that - so we only got one lap of practice and went into qualifying trim when they repaired all the stuff and the car was decent in qualifying trim, so we're looking forward to tomorrow and getting some race trim practice in to see how the car is running. The one lap of race trim was 10th-fastest on the board, so that's pretty respectable."
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE DONE HERE AT THIS TRACK TO IMPROVE THE SAFETY? "I think the superstretch or the stretch between turn one and the tunnel has always kind of been an issue. I think we've seen on TV from races a while ago and as recent as the last race here five weeks ago that the large area of grass down off the race track can present problems. These cars are really, really hard to control at 200 in the grass. It's a challenge and whether it's more pavement like the restrictor plate race tracks did when they had problems - Daytona and Talladega both had issues like that and they paved that whole area and the cars don't get upside-down and flip through there anymore. They spin around and get slowed down and, a lot of times, put tires on and keep going like nothing happened. That could be done or there could be a wall - jersey barriers or something to prevent us from getting down in there, similar to like you have on the frontstretch. You've got a wall on the inside and the outside all the way down the frontstretch, so there are some things that can be done. Certainly those cost money and we understand it's pretty tough economic times right now."
WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON JACK'S ACCIDENT? "It was kind of funny how I heard about it, but it really isn't because none of it is. But it's ironic because my brother had left that afternoon at 6 o'clock. He had a 6 o'clock flight and I was in my office at house checking e-mail and doing some things at the end of the day. When I got home I went in there and I left my phone laying in there, so Nicole's phone rang while we were sitting on the couch watching TV. She was talking to whoever and was bright-eyed and I thought that she said, 'Jeff's plane crashed.' That's my brother and he was on a commercial flight from Charlotte to Portland. I couldn't believe what she just said, and then she said, 'Yeah, it's confirmed. It was his airplane.' That was the second thing she said, so I'm like, 'Oh my gosh.' I didn't even know what I was thinking, and then she said, 'Yeah, it's his tail number, November 6JR.' And so then I realize that she said Jack and not Jeff, and I was just as devastated - come to find out it wasn't my brother, it was Jack and this all takes place in about 15 seconds. So the first reports were that he crashed on arrival and that's much worse than crashing on landing. None of it's good, but if you crash off the airport a mile away, you've got big problems. So that was the initial report that we got, and then news started coming in - that he was okay and been taking to the hospital. I was pacing back and forth and just couldn't hardly stand it. I immediately called Matt and Carl to see if they had heard or knew anything about it. Matt didn't so I filled him in and then Carl had a little more information than I had. He actually talked to somebody that was on the ground there. Someone had called him because Carl usually goes to that show, so we're thankful that he's kind of out of the woods now. We know that he's got some surgeries to probably go through and it's gonna be a little bit of a road to recovery, but we know he's gonna be all right and back at it."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE NEW NATIONWIDE CAR? "I cannot elaborate a bunch on that. I did drive it, boy it seems like two years ago almost, but maybe early last year at Iowa. I went there for a test with what would be the very first version of the car at that race track and it drove decent for what could be expected of it at that point. It was a bunch of R&D and it's evolved a lot since then. I haven't driven it or been very up close to it. The only time we've had it at the track was Daytona and the Nationwide shop is over in Mooresville and we're in Concord, so I really haven't been close to them - as far as seeing them up close or driving them again. But they look pretty cool, I can tell you that, which is good. That's good for our sport and good for our fans. We want something that looks good and the decal packages and stuff like that, so I think the cars look really good and I think the people are excited about it. Even the guys in our sport are excited about it, so I think that's one good aspect of it."
DOES JACK'S ACCIDENT SEND SHOCKWAVES THROUGH THE GARAGE, ESPECIALLY FOR DOUBLE-DUTY DRIVERS? "Guys are gonna race just to race. I think we all have to travel. We all know what we go through and take as many precautions as possible. The planes are much safer today than when we had the last tragic plane crash in the sport, just like our race cars are almost. You can almost compare it to that because the planes have proximity ground warning systems and lots of things, so our aircrafts are a lot safer. You look at it and I think it's an isolated deal. I think the situation just arose and things can happen in a hurry. I'm a pilot and things can happen in a hurry."
-source: Ford racing