Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 128 points. Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, is second in the NASCAR Sprint...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 128 points. Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings going into this weekend's Aaron's 499. Both drivers visited the infield media center to talk about this weekend.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN OUT THERE?
GREG BIFFLE: "I learned that it's gonna be a crazy race on Sunday. The closing rate is very, very fast. Two cars get hooked up and they really stream away from the field quickly. The way to explain it is it's like being in the slow lane and guys are going 85 beside you. It's gonna be challenging. I think the biggest challenge is gonna be when those two cars get pushing back in the pack and they get cut off. How are guys gonna slow down quick enough and it's still very difficult to see in front of these cars. That spoiler is very wide on the car in front of you. You have no visibility around him, so it's difficult to know what's in front of him when you guys are hooked up and pushing.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY?
MATT KENSETH: "I don't know if I learned anything. It's different than what it was, but you just go out there and draft in a group. Practice is always a lot different than the race because you've got cars merging on the track and merging off the track and there are big speed differences. I did the test here, too, and got some laps with the spoiler. The spoiler, you can see over it a little bit better than you could the wing, but it is really wide so it is hard to see around people when you get those two cars hooked up and they're running five miles an hour faster than the rest of the field, so that's a little bit difficult or nerve-wracking if you're the car behind pushing someone, but, other than that, everything seems alright."
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT SPOTTERS?
GREG BIFFLE: "I use one spotter. He spots the entire race through binoculars. I don't know how he does it. I don't want to know how he does it, but he does a pretty good job. He's got the button down three-quarters of a lap - about all day. I don't know how many batteries he goes through, but it's a lot for them to do. I don't think there's really time to hand it off to another guy. It seems like a big race track, but they look through binoculars and it's probably like that, I suppose (pointing to a TV across the media center)."
IS THE NEW ENGINE SOMETHING THAT COULD HELP THE FORDS GET WINS AND NOT JUST BEING UP IN THE POINTS?
MATT KENSETH: "I think you want both. I think you want to win and be up in the points. That's what your goal is because the higher you finish, the more points you get, so you're always out there trying to win. We hope the new engine will be a little better, but if it was significantly better than our old engine, we'd probably be running it already. So they're still developing it and trying to get that better. We ran them at the last few plate races, so I don't think, in my opinion, that horsepower is the difference between us winning and losing right now - I really don't. I think we just have to keep working on our cars. We've got to get our cars through the corner faster and we've got to figure out how to get the maximum amount of downforce we can get out of them and the maximum amount of grip we can get out of them - and I'm not talking about Talladega but everywhere else. That's how you're gonna win races. At a lot of the tracks we go to, you're out of the gas for a long, long time and most of the time you always make up or lose time in the corners and not on the straightaway. I feel like our old engine runs pretty competitively. Everything can always be better, but I don't think that's really what's holding us back."
GREG BIFFLE: "I agree. A lot has been put into the new engine and a lot of focus. We're not winning because our cars last year weren't good enough. Our cars are getting close to being good enough this year and it doesn't matter how much power you have. Like Matt said, if you don't have the gas down, it's not gonna go. So we've got to our cars where we can use the gas all the time and it'll be better. The engine will make a small difference, but it's rarely power that wins these races. It's usually a guy whose car is stuck to the race track better."
DO YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO SHAKE THINGS UP AND TRY TO GET THE PERFORMANCE LEVEL UP?
GREG BIFFLE: "It's a bunch of small things. We changed a bunch of small things from last year and we're a lot better, we're a lot faster. We're competing in that top 10 about every week. Both Matt and I at Texas were competing there and felt like we were close to winning. I agree, we need to keep working. There are different areas and things we don't understand that we need to find. They're just doing a better job than us, whether it's engineering or being closer when they come to the race track on a setup, but I feel like we're gaining. We're making some big strides this year. We were really fast off the truck at Texas. I know some of our other guys weren't, but I think there's some light at the end of the tunnel. We're headed in the right direction."
ANY LOGISTICAL CHANGES FOR YOU GUYS WITH THE WEATHER TOMORROW?
MATT KENSETH: "I think we're waiting to see what NASCAR is gonna do. I think there's been some talk about sending the teams home if they call tomorrow off. I have no idea what's going on, but once we find out, we'll probably make plans from there." NOTE: NASCAR and Talladega track officials said that Saturday's schedule will proceed as normal.
HOW HAS JACK BEEN DURING THIS ROUGH PATCH?
GREG BIFFLE: "I think everybody is the same. It hurts when we get on the airplane and go home every week that we haven't won. We're all trying as hard as we can and we feel like we're getting closer and closer, but it keeps eluding us. I felt like I maybe had an opportunity at Texas and then got a flat tire under red. We're gaining on it, but it's certainly not like 2005 when we were winning every week."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT PICKING UP A COUPLE OF NATIONWIDE RACES? DO YOU ANTICIPATE RUNNING MORE THAN THAT?
MATT KENSETH: "I don't know. Right now, it's just gonna be those two races (Richmond and Darlington). We've been looking to run some races for awhile, all off-season they were looking for sponsors and trying to get some stuff done. Colin was committed to doing all the Con-way races that he has and we had a couple of races come open that they wanted me to run the car, so I'm looking forward to getting into that car. It would have been strange not running any Nationwide races this year. I think they've got a great team over there. I worked with Eddie Pardue last year and Greg worked with him for many years and he's a good guy, so I'm looking forward to getting over there and running good. For those two races, they're gonna leave the spotters how they are. Lorin is gonna spot for me and Mike's gonna continue to spot for Ricky. He's been helping him out a lot this year, so that's gonna stay like it is."
-source: ford racing