This Week in Ford Racing November 5, 2002 NASCAR Busch Grand National Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 60 Grainger Ford, is rewriting the NASCAR record book as he closes on his second NASCAR championship in three seasons. Biffle, who came away...
This Week in Ford Racing
November 5, 2002
NASCAR Busch Grand National
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 60 Grainger Ford, is rewriting the NASCAR record book as he closes on his second NASCAR championship in three seasons. Biffle, who came away with top honors in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2000, is looking to become the first driver in NASCAR history to clinch rookie-of-the year honors and the driver's championship in two of NASCAR's three main divisions. With two races reaming in the season, Biffle holds a 212-point lead over second-place Jason Keller as the series travels to Phoenix International Raceway for Saturday's Bashas' 200, a race in which Biffle is the defending champion.
GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Ford Taurus
YOU HAVE A 212-POINT LEAD WITH TWO RACES REMAINING. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU THAT YOU HAVE WON THE BUSCH SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP?
"The lead we have now is almost unbeatable unless disaster strikes these last two races like a wheel falling off or a first-lap crash if a guy blows an engine in front of you. It's pretty much wrapped up for us in our eyes. If something happens where we don't win the championship, it's totally out of our control because we're in control of what we do every week. We run in the top five, we qualify good, we won at Phoenix last year, and we're having a good test at Miami right now. That's a pretty good insurance policy. For something disastrous to happen these last two races, it would be out of our control if something goes wrong. I'm still 100 percent confident that we've got the job done. We're just really excited about it, really excited about it."
YOU WON BOTH THE BUSCH SERIES AND CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES RACES AT PHOENIX LAST YEAR, AND ROUSH RACING SWEPT THE WEEKEND WITH JEFF BURTON WINNING THE WINSTON CUP RACE. DOES ROUSH HAVE THE WINNING COMBINATION AT PHOENIX?
"They've been really good out there and it's kinda funny because I didn't use anybody's notes but our own going there and what I learned over the entire first season in the Busch Series. I went there using what I had learned in the trucks, what we thought was going to work and we were really close. We ran well and fine-tuned on it, qualified decent and ended up winning. The truck race certainly helped me get more aligned with winning the Busch race, but we're excited to go back. We've got the same setup, we've got a lot of the same stuff and we feel like we're going to be at least a top-five car, no doubt about it."
YOU HAVE HAD A COMFORTABLE POINTS LEAD THE PAST FEW WEEKS, BUT DID YOU EVER FIND YOURSELF POINTS RACING?
"I was points racing a little bit. I didn't really at Rockingham. I really just raced for every position I could get. I started out with the mindset that I needed to be cautious. With the long runs we usually see there I knew I had to keep the tires on my car. That mindset, it's sorta points racing, but it's just typical racing at Rockingham at the same time. It falls under the same category. You can't be overaggressive at Rockingham or you'll burn your tires off. At the same time, you have to use patience at Rockingham without even trying. That was the way I approached Rockingham. I was real aggressive there; I passed all of the lapped cars and was three wide on the straightaways and almost got in a few tangles. I was driving hard, nobody can say we didn't do that. I was driving my equipment to the highest finish I could get on that day. That's not points racing to me, but smart racing and that's what it takes to win the championship. I wasn't going to take any stupid chances and I wasn't thinking that I just need to finish fifth to keep my lead in the championship. I didn't do that."
YOU ARE ON PACE TO BE THE FIRST DRIVER TO CAPTURE BOTH ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR HONORS AND THE DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP IN TWO OF NASCAR'S THREE MAIN DIVISIONS, THE FIRST TWO JEWELS IN THE NASCAR TRIPLE CROWN.
"I keep joking with Randy and it's kind of funny. I told him that it took us three years to win a truck championship and that it took us two years to win a Busch title, so it should only take us one year to win the Cup championship. We kinda got a laugh out of that. But, we know what we're up against in a really tough series next season. We failed to qualify for the Michigan race. We know how tough it's going to be. What I'm excited about is that I've got the rest of my career hopefully to win a Winston Cup championship. I knew I wasn't going to race in the Busch Series or truck series forever, and that's why I'm happy I got the chance to win those championships. I hope that I get to finish out my career driving a Cup car, and that means I have more time to get that championship, in theory. I know I can't choose where I'm going to race for the next five or ten years or however long my career lasts there, but to know that I have that opportunity, that's going to be exciting. To have those two in the bag, the pressure is off so to speak. We just need to concentrate on getting top-20 runs instead of top-fives. That's the way you have to approach the Winston Cup Series. You can't be shooting for the top-five every week because that doesn't happen. It doesn't happen with Mark Martin, it doesn't happen with Jeff Gordon, it doesn't happen with any of them. We just have to change our focus a little bit next year, at least for me as a driver. It's just like racing in the Cup race at the Rockingham race this weekend. My goal was to stay on the lead lap. I know if I stayed on the lead lap that I was going to have a good finish. We stayed on the lead lap the entire day until we ran out of gas at the end. I knew that was promising for us for next year."
YOU HAVE A UNIQUE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF, RANDY GOSS, IN THAT YOU HAVE PROGRESSED WITH HIM FROM THE TRUCK SERIES TO THE BUSCH SERIES, AND NEXT YEAR YOU TAKE HIM WITH YOU TO THE WINSTON CUP SERIES.
"What else is unique, what people don't realize is that we've learned everything together. He has no Winston Cup experience. He had no Busch Series experience before last year. He never looked at a Busch car in his life before we started this deal. It was the same with the truck. He did race the truck for two years before I came along. He's not like the other guys that have a tremendous background in oval track racing and the type of cars that we run. He was in the Trans Am Series. He was working with GTP cars in the 24 hours of Daytona. He did motorcycle racing. Now, if you combine all of that experience, he'd have more racing experience than most of the crew chiefs in the Winston Cup garage. It's his racing experience and not his oval track experience that makes him successful. That shows he's made up for it the whole time. He's got all of this experience, but it just wasn't with these cars. Neither one of us have done this before. Some times when we show to the track we're embarrassed. When we showed up to Daytona, that was the first time ether of us had been superspeedway racing before. We tried to on the trucks but that wasn't the same. We came out of Daytona with our tails between our legs, but Randy spent all year on how to be better at restrictor-plates track, and we qualified eighth and finished second in July. That shows we're still learning this game and improving each time we go back to tracks, and that's promising to me."