This Week in Ford Racing April 4, 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion, is the defending winner of the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series...
This Week in Ford Racing
April 4, 2006
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion, is the defending winner of the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to that 1.5-mile facility for the first of two races this season, Biffle talked about returning to Texas and the luck he has endured so far in 2006.
GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion
YOU LED A RECORD NUMBER OF LAPS LAST YEAR IN WINNING AT TEXAS. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THAT DAY? "We were on at the beginning of the season last year and we are right now, too. We ran well at California. We ran pretty well at Atlanta and some other places, but it's one of those race tracks that I like and our cars were very fast. We crashed our good car in practice. We had a right-front tire that went down, so we started from the back and led the most laps. Both of our cars were really, really good cars and we have a good setup for that race track. I think it's different from the spring to the fall. We were pretty decent in the fall. We got a flat tire and a loose wheel, but we weren't quite as strong. We weren't the guy leading all the laps in the fall, but we're gonna go back with our spring-type setup and we feel like that's gonna be good again."
CAN SETUPS RELATE FROM YEAR TO YEAR? "Yeah, a little bit. What tends to happen is the track loses just a miniscule amount of grip every year, so you've got to kind of change small things and drive the track a little different -- sometimes move to a little bit different spots on the race track. But we'll find out if the fall race and coming back in the spring is gonna have any impact on how the track is gonna drive."
YOU'VE HAD SOME BAD LUCK LIKE AT CALIFORNIA, ATLANTA AND BRISTOL. HOW HARD IS IT TO NOT THINK ABOUT THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY? "It's hard because I lost the Busch race at Bristol, which means a lot to me because you still chalk it up. I had them covered. I was gonna win the race with 10 laps to go and the right-front wheel came off. It fell off. I wobbled down pit road with two wheels going flat. Then I'm in the car the next day just going nice and easy. I'm looking in the mirror going, 'Only 450 more,' and then go off in the corner and 'bang' in the fence. What can I do different? What did I do? Then Kurt got a flat tire five laps later, so he obviously ran over the same thing I did -- whatever was on the track. It's easy to think about the 'what if's' and then what I think about is the luck we've had in four races. You go, 'How is this gonna be different when the chase starts?' OK, so we're in the first race of the chase and get a flat tire. The second race in the chase we run out of gas. The third race in the chase the wheels come loose. In those 10 there's no margin for error at all. Somebody asked me the other day about how many mulligans can you get and still make the chase. I said six and they looked at me like, 'You've got to be kidding.' I've already had three at Daytona, California and Atlanta. I count that because we ran out of gas. At Bristol we had a flat tire, but came back and finished seventh so you can't really count that, but that was a bad race for us."
PEOPLE WERE ASKING YOU AFTER TWO OR THREE RACES WHEN YOU WERE 38TH IN POINTS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT YOU COULD MAKE THE CHASE, BUT YOU ALWAYS SEEMED TO BE CONFIDENT THAT THINGS WOULD TURN AROUND. "The thing is that there's nothing you can do about it. You can't get emotional about it. You can't get worried about it. You can't go, 'Oh my gosh, what's gonna happen?' It's hard not to think of that, but when you go out and get in the car you've just got to concentrate on not making any mistakes and try to win or try to finish in the top five. At Bristol we found ourselves on the outside front row. Tony was really loose and we gave it a few laps to see if he could get it back together. He doesn't so I ran up there and got by him and just set a nice, easy pace. I was thinking about what I need to do -- to finish and not make mistakes -- but then you get a flat right-front. It was the size of a quarter. They said there was a huge hole in hit. I'm sitting there thinking, 'I ran it too hard and I wore the inside of the right-front off already 50 laps into the race. I shouldn't have been running so hard.' That's the first thing I think of, but I wasn't running that hard so you feel better knowing it had a big hole in it -- sometimes."
A LOT OF PEOPLE PICKED YOU TO WIN THE TITLE THIS YEAR AND YOU HAD TO HAVE THOSE HIGH HOPES BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED, BUT THIS YEAR'S START HASN'T BEEN AS GOOD. "I was not expecting to come out as strong as we did last year because I think if you expect it or even hope for it, I think you set yourself up for failure. So I said, 'Let's try to win a couple of races in the first 15-20. Let's target winning a couple of races in that first portion.' We had a great opportunity at California and Martinsville -- and Atlanta. We tried something a little different there and I got off and wasn't quite as good at the end at Atlanta, but it looked like we were in position to win until Kasey came up there late in the race. Five wins in the first 15 races, I'd have to look back but it's probably been a long time since somebody has done that. I knew that wasn't a normal season. That was pretty extraordinary, but I'm focused on that top 10. Doug is like, 'We're a hundred and some points out of 10th.' I said, 'I don't care where we are from 10th, how far out of the lead are we?' I want the point lead. I want to lead the points and that's what we're gonna continue to work towards. We do the best we can every weekend, so it really doesn't matter. You could not show us the points until the chase and say you made it or you didn't and it wouldn't change the way we're gonna race. We're gonna race as hard as we can. We're gonna try to get every position and we're gonna try to win a couple."
FUSION IS FAST -- The new Ford Fusion may have only one win, but it has really shown strength on the superspeedways. In the first four superspeedway races of 2006, Fusion has led more than half of the 1,049 total laps. Fusion has led 603 circuits compared to 289 for the Monte Carlo SS and 157 for the Charger.
FORD TOUGH AT TEXAS -- There have been 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway and Ford has won seven of them, including the last three. In fact, seven different Ford drivers have won those races. Jeff Burton won the inaugural race in 1997 and was followed by Mark Martin ('98), Dale Jarrett (2001), Matt Kenseth ('02), Elliott Sadler ('04), Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards ('05).