Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, Biffle and the 3M team remain 11th in the point standings and are currently 475 points behind Kevin Harvick who retained the lead. He has a 161-point advantage over Ryan Newman in the 13th...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, Biffle and the 3M team remain 11th in the point standings and are currently 475 points behind Kevin Harvick who retained the lead. He has a 161-point advantage over Ryan Newman in the 13th position. Biffle needs to start the race and finish ahead of one car in Richmond to lock in his Chase spot.
HAS RENEWED ITS SPONSORSHIP WITH NASCAR, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU AS A RACER, BUT ALSO TO THE SPORT ITSELF? "It is really neat to see how innovative of a company 3M is and to see the products that they make. It is amazing, the amount of technology the company has and the products that they come up with. If anybody has ever used a 3M product, they know exactly what I am talking about. It is the best quality product and they are always innovative in engineering new products. Whether it is the deals that you can stick on the wall to hang a picture and then pull it off without leaving a mark or all of their products. I am sure all of you have used Post-It notes and things like that. They are huge in the medical industry and all over the place. When I first heard of 3M, I thought they just made sandpaper, because I had used their sandpaper forever in my race shop. It is neat to be involved with a company that makes so many different things. For them to re-up their partnership for a long term deal with NASCAR is pretty neat. To see them activate outside all of these racetracks and see the things they do with the promotions to get fans to come in and try the products are great. Once you use a 3M product, you realize it is superior to all the other products on the market. It is neat to see the decal on all the other cars too. Hopefully when I am passing them, going forward, I see that 3M on the side of everyone else's cars. It is nice for them to be an official partner of NASCAR on all the levels with all the products. We are working on an extension as well to continue our plan and we are excited about that."
YOU ARE ON THE CUSP OF QUALIFYING FOR THE CHASE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT BEING IN THE CHASE THIS SEASON? "I am really excited about it. A lot of people have done the math and all I need to do is start tomorrow night and finish in front of one car. That is provided that the 39 leads the most laps and wins. If he doesn't do that, then I have a little more relief which automatically puts me in after tomorrow night. We are going to use this race, at least I am hopefully, to try to test and tune and figure out some stuff. This is the first time we have had this new front suspension package on a short track really other than Bristol. Hopefully we can learn something here that we can take to Loudon next week and Phoenix. Hopefully this Richmond race track will give us some answers on how our short track program is going forward. Martinsville is a big question mark for us in the Chase. We will see if this package works well there too. I am excited about the prospects of being in the Chase and what we are going to be able to accomplish. You know, somebody asked me the other day who was the favorite for the championship this year. I thought about that and I couldn't name one guy of the 12 in the Chase that I would count out. It is a remarkable number of guys in there that are capable. I think any of the guys are capable of winning it."
WHAT ISSUES DO YOU FEEL YOUR TEAM NEEDS TO RESOLVE GOING INTO THE CHASE TO BE A STRONG CONTENDER? "Well, like I just talked about, I think this race track will be an answer for us. As a company, we have struggled for the last year and a half and that is well documented. Since Chicago, we have really been competitive. As a team we have run really well. Carl finished second, we ran great at Indy. I won at Pocono and then we led the most laps at Michigan. We were running very well at Atlanta last week and Carl finished second again. So our program really turned around for us and is very competitive at mile-and-a-half tracks. We need to figure out how it is going to do on one-mile tracks and under. We always run pretty well at Dover, so we really have Loudon, Phoenix and Martinsville as kind of question marks in the Chase for us. We need to figure out how our cars will perform on those tracks. Obviously this weekend, tomorrow night, will give us some bench mark of how our cars are going to act on those race tracks, hopefully." AS DIFFICULT AS YOU SAID IT WAS TO PREDICT A FAVORITE, HOW
MUCH MORE DIFFICULT WOULD IT BE TO IDENTIFY A SLEEPER IN THIS FIELD AND WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF A SLEEPER? "My definition of a sleeper is basically the 12 guys that are in it. I think that I am capable of winning it. I think Jeff Burton is capable of winning it. I think that Tony Stewart is capable of winning it. I could go down the list, you know what I mean? I think that every one of us really are capable of winning the championship. Although some of us haven't had the stellar performance. You look at Jeff Gordon, he hasn't performed that great, but he is totally capable of winning this championship. So is Kevin, Jimmie, Denny Hamlin. I look at the 12 guys being the closest competitive wise and the way they are running, if you look at their last six or eight races and look at what they have done, man it is a really close Chase, probably one of the closest."
WITH ONE WEAK TRACK, LIKE MARTINSVILLE FOR YOU, CAN YOU REALLY OVERCOME THAT IN THE CHASE? ALSO IN 2008 YOU STARTED OFF THIRD IN THE POINTS, WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THAT TYPE OF START? "Certainly a good start is in your favor. We were able to finish third in the championship. Carl and Jimmie were just flawless that year. They were completely flawless. They never made a mistake and we were involved in that Talladega wreck when Carl was pushing me that year. Both Carl and I were involved in that accident. I think getting off to a good start is really important. I have really nine good race tracks. Actually, I will say eight and a half because Talladega you roll the dice on. Carl and I were running second and third and then something happens and you are running 10th and 11th. Talladega is a wild card and Martinsville has been documented as not one of our best race tracks, although I was 10th in the spring and have a seventh place finish there. We can overcome that and get a top-10 finish there I think. I think that you need to finish in the top-15 as a worst case scenario in any one of the races. If you finish outside of that top-15 in one of the Chase races, it makes it really tough to make up those points because ultimately you need everybody else, 11 other guys, to have a 15th place finish to be even with them. I think we are capable of it and like I said I think a lot of guys are."
AS IT STANDS NOW, YOU WOULD START WITH A 42 POINT DEFICIT TO JIMMIE AND DENNY GOING INTO THE CHASE. DO YOU VIEW THAT AS SIGNIFICANT OR MORE COSMETIC OVER THE COURSE OF A 10 RACE CHASE? "That is really cosmetic. 40 points can be made up really quickly. Lead the most laps or a win will take a chunk out of that really quickly. I don't feel that is that big of a difference. We know it is six or eight spots on the race track. It definitely gives them an advantage, but within a few races I feel like a guy can definitely overcome that."
YOU HAVE HAD SOME SUCCESS AT MIAMI IN THE SEASON FINALE, DO YOU FEEL LIKE WINNING THAT RACE AND THIS RACE, THE VICTOR GETS OVERLOOKED WITH ALL FOCUS ON THE CHASE AND THE CHAMPION? "Yeah, it does a little bit. One thing that is nice about Homestead is that you are the most recent winner until the Daytona 500. We win and bask in the glory for about 48 hours and then it is like 'what about next week'. That is one thing about Homestead that is nice. I have been able to win it three times in a row, but you do get overshadowed because that is the season finale and the championship. I suppose tonight would be the same, maybe not as much because the story line isn't as big about who is going to get into the Chase. I think Clint Bowyer has a fairly comfortable lead and as long as he has an uneventful night it won't be that big of a deal. Definitely the winner gets a little overshadowed."
WITH TALK OF CHANGES COMING TO THE CHASE NEXT YEAR POSSIBLY, DO YOU LIKE THE CURRENT FORMAT OR WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE CHANGED? "I think the current format is great. It has worked well. It was a great idea in the beginning and has had some modifications. It rewards guys through the season for consistency, wins, and it gets the top-tier level guys of our sport in the playoffs. It captures the top 12 guys and let's face it, the guys that aren't in the top-12 probably aren't championship caliber at this point in the season. I think it does a great job the way it is formatted now. Maybe some minor changes might make it a little more exciting. It is definitely fair. If you polled everyone to see if it was fair, some people are complaining about guys having wins or multiple wins and not getting in the Chase. Do you take Jeff Gordon out and put Jamie McMurray in because he has two wins and Gordon doesn't have any? I don't know. That is something that would have to be thought about for awhile. I hear a lot about people having multiple wins and not being in, or maybe that somehow qualifies you to be in the Chase. Certainly I would be open to whatever they decide."
YOU TALKED ABOUT NEWMAN NEEDING TO LEAD THE MOST LAPS AND WIN THE RACE TO HAVE A SHOT AT THE CHASE. JEREMY MAYFIELD DID THAT BACK IN 2004, WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THAT NIGHT? HOW CLUTCH DID YOU THINK THAT WAS? SECONDLY, DO YOU THINK THE 'HAVE AT IT BOYS' MENTALITY WILL CONTINUE IN THE CHASE WITH PERHAPS SOME GUYS LOOKING FOR REVENGE? "I do. I think that will continue to play a factor. We are all racing hard for each position and this sport is getting tougher and tougher. The harder it is to pass and the harder it is for track position will continue to be a factor. I remember that night with Jeremy and it was a pretty spectacular night with him leading all the laps and winning the race. He proved he was competitive enough to be in the Chase. The flip side of that is that we have to finish 42nd or worse at least for him to beat us. I keep forgetting about Clint Bowyer. I don't know what his starts are. He probably has more of an opportunity there than with me getting in with me having a problem. I remember that Chase though, I do. It was pretty exciting for him to do that and exciting for his team. I don't remember now who he was trying to displace, or who he put out to get in. All you remember about that is him getting in."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT IN LOUDON AND FOR ROUSH FENWAY IS THAT LIKE A HOME TRACK? "Yeah, for us being involved with Fenway sports group it is. I get to go to the game Saturday night and I am excited about that. We have a lot of fans up there and I like that race track. I won there in 2008 and hopefully we can go up there and be competitive and win again. I cannot wait to get this new front geometry that we have had on our car since Chicago on the track in Loudon. The track here is quite a bit different. We hope this gives us a benchmark of how it is going to drive next week. I am thinking about next week right now. I want to get a good top-10 finish and obviously win the race for the bonus points, but I am really looking forward to the next 10. There, Dover and Kansas are good tracks for us, hopefully we get off to a great start,"
IN BIG GAMES, THE COACH ALWAYS TALKS ABOUT NOT OVERTHINKING YOURSELF AND APPROACHING IT AS SOMETHING NORMAL. WHEN YOU GO INTO THE CHASE, CAN YOU LOOK AT THOSE AS REGULAR RACES, OR IS IT IMPOSSIBLE TO SEPARATE THE FACT THAT IT IS THE CHASE? "It is kind of impossible not to think about it. You know that they are Chase races and they are very important. At the same time though, you can't over think it. We go to every race with the same mentality. Run in the top-five, get the best track position we can, keep the track position and adjust on the car and try to win the race. You can't win the race unless you are in the top-five. You just can't. Unless you have a fuel mileage win or you stay out and it rains or something like that. You have to get into the top five. How do you get the most points in the race? You get inside the top five. Nothing changes with the way you look at each race, even in the Chase. We want to run in the top five first and win second. That is kind of the progression, no matter where you start. You have to get yourself in there and be near the front at the end. If you aren't around the top five or six you don't have a chance at the checkered flag. That is how we are going to go after it, but it is definitely on your mind that you are in the Chase."
TOMORROW IS SEPTEMBER 11TH, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT THAT DATE MIGHT MEAN TO YOU AND WHAT IT MEANS TO RACE ON THAT DATE? "That day means a great deal to I think all of us as Americans. Everybody remembers exactly to the minute where they were at and what they were doing. I certainly do. You think about all the men and women that defended our country for the last several years since then, it is definitely a day we won't forget and a day to remember those that lost their lives then and since then."
WHAT WERE YOU DOING THAT DAY? "I was putting up my shop building in Mooresville, North Carolina. My buddy brought over a 20-something foot travel trailer that we had to use to get out of the weather or eat lunch in or whatever. We happened to be in there watching a little 10-inch televisions with rabbit ears on it when that thing took place. We watched it on that little screen. I saw the first tower fall when I was sitting there in that deal."
IF I AM ANOTHER COMPETITOR AND WE HAVE HAD AN ISSUE THIS SEASON, DO YOU HAVE A CERTAIN EXPECTATION THAT IF I HAVE ONE COMING TO ME OR VICE VERSA, IS IT OKAY THAT IT HAPPENS IN THE CHASE? "Two things come to mind first of all. If I am the guy in the Chase and I am the guy that wrecked the other guy intentionally or something else, I should have thought ahead before I did that. Or I should have mended the fences before the Chase started. You made your bed, now you have to sleep in it. Second, am I going to be the guy to change the outcome of the championship because I am pissed off at a guy and now I am going to pay him back. That doesn't mean that you have to spin the guy out or wreck him. You may run the heck out of him and not let him by, or run him up in the marbles or something along the way. It doesn't always mean that you are going to spin someone out. It might mean that I am going to make it the most difficult thing over the next 10 weeks for you to pass me. That happens. Most of the time you don't see my name in the headlines when it come to the 'family feud', or at least I try not to."
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF MOMENTUM AND WHY IT IS SO DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN AND THEN SUSTAIN IN THE CHASE? "It is. It is funny that people say it doesn't mean anything. It is hard to understand what it does for you, but it energizes you tremendously. It energizes your people and your team. Your though process becomes that you are unstoppable and are going to win without a doubt. That will only get you so far though. When we won the first two races, I thought there was no way we could go to Kansas and not win. That was one of our best race tracks. We went there and ran third to Carl and Jimmie. They were just clearly faster than I was. No matter how much momentum or will I had inside the race car, I could not get it to go any faster than it was going. I did all I could do. At some point, momentum and all of that, luck or whatever, only reaches its peak of what the car will do. The car will only do so much. In one aspect you say that momentum doesn't really mean anything because I finished third at Kansas, but it does give you that extra energy and for the guys building the car at the shop too."
WAS THAT A MOMENT OF CLARITY FOR YOU AT KANSAS TO SEE WHERE MOMENTUM TAKES YOU AND NOW YOU HAVE TO CATCH TO THOSE GUYS? "Yeah it was. What I said was that it was okay. I was going to finish third and moved on to next week and started saying that we would win next week."
-source: ford racing