Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 60 Grainger Taurus, posted the second fastest time of the morning as the Busch cars took to the track for the first time in preparation for Saturday's EAS/GNC Live Well 300. Biffle, who is looking to become the...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 60 Grainger Taurus, posted the second fastest time of the morning as the Busch cars took to the track for the first time in preparation for Saturday's EAS/GNC Live Well 300. Biffle, who is looking to become the first driver to capture both the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Busch Series championships, has the added pressure this week of trying to qualify for the Daytona 500, in addition to his regular Busch Series duties. Biffle spoke about the rigors of pulling double-duty, not only for the driver, but his team as well.
GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Ford Taurus
YOU POSTED THE SECOND QUICKEST TIME IN THE MORNING PRACTICE, PICKING UP TWO-TENTHS FROM JANUARY. DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU'VE CLOSED THE GAP TO THE LEADERS FROM THE OPEN-TEST SESSION? "We don't want to point fingers, and we've heard the whole sandbagging deal since we showed up down here. We know that everybody in testing went 48.1s. We went a 49.3, and we just backed that up with our fast lap of 49.1. That's two-tenths faster than when we tested. We're happy and that's all we can ask for. The 48.88, I got help down the backstretch with that time, which is no big deal, and I don't think that's going to affect the fact of whether we get spoiler reduction or not. But, I'm happy to be as fast as we are. A 49.1 would put us in the top 10, and we did that legitimately. The problem is that I don't think everyone else has gone out and run their best lap yet. I think everybody is shaking down their stuff right now, but they'll be running 48.1s when it's time."
YOU NEVER SEEMED TO STRUGGLE IN YOUR ROOKIE YEAR ON THE BUSCH SERIES, IN SPITE OF THE FACT YOU NEVER HAD A FULL-TIME TEAMMATE TO LEAN ON. IS THERE AN ADJUSTMENT PERIOD HERE GETTING USED TO THE MULTI-CAR OPERATION ON THE WINSTON CUP SIDE? "This is a new deal for us in the Cup garage. When we're working on our Busch cars, we know we have no one to go to for help. Doing the Cup deal, we have some teammates, but we're in a different complex and we have Busch guys working on our Cup cars. Sure, we're running close to the same speeds out there, but when you look at the components of a Busch car and compare them to a Winston Cup car, there's a big difference. Our guys are still learning the intricacies of the Busch cars and now we've got them building a totally different vehicle. We cut the body off of the Cup car after the January test and re-hung it ourselves in Mooresville. We've gotten direction on springs and shocks from the other group, but we're learning a lot of this on our own."
YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE ON THIS TEAM PULLING DOUBLE-DUTY THIS WEEKEND. "Just about all of my Busch guys are working on the Cup car as well, and this is way more tiring on the guys. We have a skeleton crew staying at the Cup car, but most everyone is here pulling double-duty as well. Here, I've got a gravy job. It's stressful in the drafting situations and there's a lot of risk involved, but it's not a strain on the body and mind. These crew guys are working their tails off. They're getting wore down because we're practicing for a total of five hours today and they'll be wore out by the end of the day. But, they want to win and they want to be successful and make the 500. They're working as hard as they can and they're watching everybody else, passing secrets and spying on other people. That's the way we learn. That's how we became as good as we are on the Busch car. Sure, we took the number 60, but this was a totally different team and set of cars from when Mark Martin drove it. Randy Goss, Kevin Starland and all the guys walk around and look at what everybody else has got. They spent six months researching parts on the Busch car that we've got here. The car has the best stuff and we spent six months putting that together, but we've only got two months of research and preparation on the Cup car and I think it's showing a little. We think we can be better in the Cup garage, and Thursday is going to be the big test."
NOW THAT THE BUSCH CARS ARE ON TRACK, DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN USE WHAT YOU LEARN IN THE BUSCH GARAGE TO PICK UP THE SLACK IN THE CUP GARAGE? "Definitely, and we're looking at things we have on the Busch car that are making it faster and trying to apply it to the cup car. There's one thing that we can't change from the Busch car to the Cup car and that's the engine. Our Busch car is making as much or more power than anyone in the garage. In the Cup garage, that's not true. There's a more level playing field in the Cup garage in terms of engines. You know that the competition is 10 times higher over here. I'm not saying that the competition is soft in the Busch garage, but as far as engines, which are important at Daytona, we're at the top. And this all leads back to the fact that if we have the best engine and best parts in our Busch car, we should be on the top of the speed charts. We're around 10th right now and that's all due to an aerodynamic disadvantage."
WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE LEVEL OF COMPETITION IN THE BUSCH GARAGE THIS WEEKEND? "I told people before we came down here, 'We qualified 24th last year, and I know for a fact that we'll be between 15th and 20th in qualifying.' I guarantee it, and we could have worked on this car for two years straight and we still wouldn't be the fastest right now. There's no way that we'll beat the top 11 Pontiacs and the top three Chevys. That's 14 cars that are going to be faster than we are. If we're the fastest Ford in the Busch garage, that's all I can ask for. That means my guys have done their job because the difference between first and 15th will be in NASCAR's hands."
DID YOUR EXPERIENCE AT PHOENIX, RUNNING BOTH THE TRUCK AND BUSCH RACES HELP PREPARE YOU FOR THE RIGORS THIS WEEK? "We're at the race track a little longer here than we were at Phoenix, but this is a track that doesn't wear a driver down too much. By no means is this a distraction, jumping from car to car. It really helps you, and as soon as everybody figures that out, they're going to understand why a guy does so much better. Look at me in Phoenix. Look at Jeff Burton in Phoenix. That was one weekend where I had the opportunity to run two divisions and I won both races. If that's any indication of what it does for a driver to run twice in the same weekend, that explains why Kevin (Harvick) had that kind of success last year."