GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Ford Taurus -- 2002 Busch Series Champion "That was as tight as I've run with somebody and they haven't gotten into me or run me over. I figured it was coming if I wasn't getting out of the way pretty quick because he ...
GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Ford Taurus -- 2002 Busch Series Champion
"That was as tight as I've run with somebody and they haven't gotten into me or run me over. I figured it was coming if I wasn't getting out of the way pretty quick because he looked a lot better than me. Sometimes he would bobble coming off the corner, and I'd think, 'I've got him,' but I ran my car too hard. It's just a classic deal, if you go back and watch the race, Jason Keller and I had a full straightaway lead. We were the only guys doing 28.5s and we just flat burned our tires off. I was not smart by not letting him go and just riding around like Scott did, licking his chops because he knew we were out of tires. We had to go 97 laps on that last set of tires and that's a long ways. I just ran it too hard at the beginning. Goodyear just brought a different tire here. The tire had great grip and ran really well. I just pushed it a little bit too hard lap 10 through lap 40 on that run and paid for it and the end. Last year, I was able to run it that hard the whole time. I just learned a lesson today and it was fun racing with Scott; he's going to do really well in Winston Cup and the Busch Series next year. I think he's going to win more than a couple of races."
"No way. I think at one point, I don't know how far back I was and blew up one day, and I said there's no way to make up those kind of points. Then, I had a couple of good runs and Jason had a couple of bad runs in a row. It turned the points around 180 points in two races. So this is the craziest points race that I've ever seen as far as up and down, up and down. Normally guys will have a bad runs and run 15th, but we took turns every other week going out of the race. We couldn't get any consistency. We look back and we only had two engine failures all season. That's pretty decent. One of them was our fault, we were just turning the engine too high, and the engine guys went back to the drawing board and fixed it, and now we can turn them what we want. It was kind of an up and down season, and, no, I didn't think I'd be here."
"I always think it's easier being in second, but every time it works out to be that it's easier if you're leading. And it's easier if you even have 30 points because no matter what you think about, you have an advantage to start with. So if you just finish even with him, you'll still that 30 points. It's a lot nicer leading, that's for sure."
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CELEBRATE TONIGHT?
"I haven't figured that out yet. I've just not been thinking about it, so I don't know. I'm in awe still, I guess."
NOW WHAT DO YOU DO INN HOMESTEAD?
"Just as hard as I race today. I think Scott will attest that I wasn't riding out there at all. I want to win every time I show up and when I quit driving like that I'm going to quit racing cars. We had a good test in Homestead. I think we can qualify on the pole or in the top-five there. We had really good qualifying trim runs, and pretty good race runs. I look forward to racing with Wimmer down there. I know he's probably going to be good. It's a flat-type race track, and I just wish I could have brought my Memphis car here to race him."
"It does. That's really exciting. This is kinda where I got my start, in Tucson don the road. ESPN televised the Winter Heat Series down there and it really spring-boarded me into the spotlight so to speak. Actually, Benny Parson did. There's another thing I think about when I come to Arizona. A buddy of mine got killed, John Baker, this season in Irwindale. He's from Tucson and I kept all of my cars in his shop in Tucson and did that, and you step foot off into the desert in these race tracks, and it's just something that I think about. I'll probably think about it for the rest of my life when I come out here racing. It's a good thing, I got my start here and excited about it."
"No, I haven't spoke to Jack yet. I think he had some other commitments to get to, and I think he's concentrating on the other championship quit a bit. I think he's having a difficult time with what's going on in the Winston Cup side. I just hope they get it all worked out, and hope that Mark and all of those guys run good out here and just see what happens on the points deal on that side."
IS IT LONG OVERDUE FOR JACK TO WIN A BUSCH TITLE WITH ALL OF THE SUCCESS HE HAS HAD IN THIS SERIES?
"Probably so. It's pretty clear that Mark or Jeff could have won a title in this series if they had run the whole season. I think that they might do that some day. Yeah, they have won a tremendous amount of races in this series and we feel pretty good about today. Today is the first day we've been able to beat Jeff Burton all season, head's up racing. Our team was better than his today. That's not happened to us much, and it's kind of frustrating for me because we're running a full-time program. It's fun racing against your teammate, but not when he's finishes in front of you every time."
"It was difficult, but seeing those guys get the opportunities is great for them. It didn't really affect me. But when they get the opportunity, and you look back a year ago when Jimmie Johnson got his job, I was probably an equal race car driver, or even a touch better with the track performance we had, fourth in points, we won five races and I had done a lot of things. It's frustrating when he moves to Winston Cup the next year and wins a couple of races and is second or third in points. And then you're like, 'Geez, how come that wasn't me?' The same with McMurray. It's just a classic, you try to give credit where credit is due. I say that that's the team members and the cars and the knowledge is 75 to 90 percent and then you say the driver is 80 percent, too. It's hard to balance that."
WHAT ARE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR YOU NEXT YEAR?
"I'd really like to win rookie of the year. I'd be excited to win a race my first season like a lot of these guys did. But, it took Johnny Benson 200 starts to win one. I'm not going to be disappointed if it takes me two or three seasons to win a Winston Cup race. There are a lot of guys that still haven't won one. I just want to run every race, try to stay on the lead lap, learn as much as I can. I ran Rockingham for the first time in a Cup car there and it's not predominantly my best race track and I stayed on the lead lap all day and ran out of gas with two laps to go. That was an excellent run for me. If I would have finished on the lead lap there that would have been a victory for me. Just to gain that experience so that I can give them hell next year."
"I think the most satisfying thing is getting our program turned around. We were running third and fourth and we couldn't break though that shell and lead a bunch of laps and be there at the end and win races. That was probably the most difficult. We had some engine trouble that over time snuck up on us. Guys are running more and more RPMs and when you get down into the middle of 1 and 2 and they put the throttle down, they drive away from you two car lengths, so you have to put more gear in it. But you're turning too many RPM at the end and you break your engine. Our engine program did a 180 on engine RPM. Jack Roush stepped in and said we won't be RPM limited to the rest of our competition. We'll turn 10,000 RPMs, whatever it takes. He stepped in and Edgar in our engine program stepped up our engine program right there and never had a failure since then. We just changed some things around, some simple stuff. That's two satisfying things that we're able to stick in much gear in the car as we want and the guys never gave up and kept digging. That's probably the two things that won us the championship - those guys and the engines."