Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard Taurus, has had two months to savor his win at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the final race of 2004. Biffle, who sat on the pole for last year's Daytona 500, spoke about the upcoming season...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard Taurus, has had two months to savor his win at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the final race of 2004. Biffle, who sat on the pole for last year's Daytona 500, spoke about the upcoming season prior to the third day of testing at Daytona International Speedway.
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus
YOU GENERALLY ONLY HAVE FOUR OR FIVE DAYS TO ENJOY A WIN, BUT YOU'VE HAD TWO MONTHS.
"Yeah, I'll be the most recent winner until the checkered flag at the 500, so that's pretty exciting. We've been thinking about that over the winter. It's kind of kept the guys energized and kept the whole 16 team fired up about coming back here. We got the pole at the 500 last year, so we're thinking about that. We're in the Bud Shootout this year, so we're excited. We're ready to get the season started. We've done some testing over at Kentucky and we just can't wait to get going."
YOU FEEL PRETTY CONFIDENT ABOUT MAKING THE CHASE THIS YEAR, DON'T YOU.
"Yeah, I really do. I think we have the tools it takes and the cars that it takes. We've got some new faces here at the test and I'm hoping that won't affect us any as far as getting off to a good start because chemistry is a lot of it and it takes a good, solid team. We lost a couple of good guys who went to pursue some other opportunities, so hopefully we'll be able to fill those voids with good people and not miss a beat."
WERE THERE ANY AREAS YOU FELT NEEDED IMPROVEMENT FROM LAST YEAR?
"Not really. I felt that we just needed to polish on what we had and just learn together and keep growing as a group. That was kind of broken up. We lost our tire guy and head mechanic that worked hand-in-hand with the car chief. They really worked some magic together and were really integrated, so that's gonna take a little bit to get that chemistry back."
YOU QUALIFIED WELL MOST OF THE YEAR, BUT THINGS SEEMED TO HAPPEN ON RACE DAY. ANYTHING YOU CAN PUT YOUR FINGER ON?
"The thing was we always ran well, but we never finished well. Once we got the finishing part down and once we started to realize some of the things that were happening to us, like losing the handle on the race track and things, we got better and fixed those type of issues and the helped us the last half of the year. We posted a couple of wins and had a fourth at Pocono and a sixth at Indy, so we started to make progress toward the front."
HOW HAS YOUR TEST BEEN SO FAR?
"Awesome. I couldn't be happier. It's funny because each year we get better coming here and it wasn't like that before. I dreaded coming here and just hated Speedweeks because we weren't competitive. Nobody wants to come and race when you're not competitive. Last year we were like 10th to 14th in preseason testing and I was really excited because we were always 34th or 28th and worrying about making it on time with the way the qualifying procedure was and now we're third. We have one car that's third and one car that's fourth. We have never had two cars that quick and so close to each other. You look at everybody's sheet and you've got one car here and one car is about 10 spots down. Just about everybody in the garage is like that, except for two or three teams and, surprisingly enough, we're one of the teams that has our cars right on top of each other. We're happy about that. We're ready to get in drafting trim. We don't care anymore about this qualifying stuff. We want to find out what car drives better so I can say, 'That's my 500 car and that's my Bud Shootout car.' Then we can be able to work from there on getting them ready for qualifying and the races."
DID YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE SPEEDWAY TOUR TO GET USED TO THE NEW INFIELD HERE AT THE SPEEDWAY?
"I was here for the 24-Hour test and it's kind of funny. We were in the garage and it was all foreign to me. The garage looked different. The prototype car is all different and I never even gave it a thought that this was the Nextel Cup garage. I'm thinking, 'This is the prototype garage.' Then somebody asked me what I thought about the garages and it's like, 'I've never been in here before.' Then it suddenly dawned on me that I was standing in the Cup garage and that they had just gotten them finished, so it's neat."