BUSCH: Phoenix: This Week in Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing April 19, 2005 NASCAR Busch Series David Green, driver of the No. 27 Taurus, adapted to numerous changes at the start of this season. Green, the 1994 Busch Series champion, has a new crew chief in Stewart Cooper,...

This Week in Ford Racing
April 19, 2005

NASCAR Busch Series

David Green, driver of the No. 27 Taurus, adapted to numerous changes at the start of this season. Green, the 1994 Busch Series champion, has a new crew chief in Stewart Cooper, a new manufacturer with Ford, various new teammates including Greg Biffle, and a new set of rules governing tire usage and impound procedures. Still, the Brewco Motorsports driver has risen to the challenge and is currently 11th in the point standings, 111 points out of the top five as the series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for Friday's Bashas' 200.

DAVID GREEN-27-Kleenex Racing Ford Taurus

THIS WEEKEND MARKS THE NINTH RACE OF THE BUSCH SERIES SEASON, ONE MORE THAN CUP. HOW HAS THE OPENING STRETCH THIS YEAR TREATED YOUR TEAM? "I think in years past it hasn't been such a big issue because we've had a break here and there. In the past, I think merely having Rockingham being the second race after Daytona, it wasn't such a blow to the teams, or at least the teams in the Charlotte area. Maybe the Brewco team was a little bit of an exception being in Kentucky, but I think what we saw this year going straight to California and then most of all the teams never coming back to the shop and going to Mexico and never going to the shop and going straight to Vegas was almost like a three hooks and a right to the teams and down to the mat we went just. Because of the logistics, not only of the travel, but back in the shop having to build a couple of intermediate cars for California and Vegas, building one to two road course cars per team and then tying that on to travel, I think the schedule has been almost murder, especially for the Busch Series guys. As far as the driver's end of it, I haven't really noticed much difference other than we've had a wide variety of race tracks that we've had to adapt to quickly where in years past we didn't have that. That's the biggest thing that I've seen."

COMMENT ON THE WEEKEND SCHEDULES WHERE THE TEAMS HAVE A DAY OFF LIKE TEXAS LAST WEEK AND TALLADEGA NEXT WEEK. "I've been all for the impound rule. I think by mid-season we'll see a domino effect of the teams saving money, but on the other hand, what we saw at Texas and what we'll see at Talladega with a day off, that to me doesn't make a lot of sense. The guys at the shop would kill for that day off at a more appropriate time. I say that instead of going to Texas on Thursday and Talladega on a Wednesday, why don't we back that up a day and don't have a day off because for the life of me there's going to plenty of people there at the race track on Friday at Texas and Talladega, and why couldn't we be there doing something? I think that's a major speed bump in this whole process from last year and now adapting to the impound rule. I really don't quite understand why we have to have those days off and I think that's a big wound to the Busch Series guys, and those are the teams that don't need to be handicapped."

WHAT ABOUT THE ARGUMENT THAT THE TRACKS NEED THE REVENUE FROM THE EXTRA DAY TO CONTINUE TO PAY AN EQUIVALENT PURSE? "That's the track personnel talking and my comments are going to be more geared toward the team. But, I don't see how they can say that. We all flew in on Wednesday and they had a decent crowd on Thursday, but I came back to the track on Friday just to hang out and watch and I kind of knew what I was going to see. When I drove into the facility, I was floored at how many people were there on Friday versus what we saw on Thursday. If the truth of the matter is that they need that Thursday crowd there to pay the purse, I just don't know where the fans were on Thursday. I just don't understand why we have to be handicapped and be there on a day where we could squeeze our sessions in on Friday. There was down time on Friday from Cup practice to Cup qualifying that would have been perfect for us to go out and do our qualifying session. I'm sure as they look at this and hear some comments back from the teams, hopefully they'll readjust that stuff because to me it doesn't really make a lot of sense, especially to put that burden on the Busch Series teams."

DID THE DAY OFF LAST WEEK GIVE THE CUP COMPETITORS AN ADVANTAGE IN THE BUSCH RACE BECAUSE THEY WERE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE THE TRACK CONDITIONS ON FRIDAY? "Absolutely. I think as much as their motive is to help us save some money, and with the guidelines of the impound rule causing us to be off on Friday, to me that doesn't make a lot of sense because we gave the Cup guys even more of a vision of what the track was going to be like. Between Thursday and Saturday from the time that our cars left the race track and got back on the race track, we had a big, big swing in track conditions. In years past I've always said, 'We need to make our Happy Hour a little closer to the race, or maybe not have it at all,' which I was hoping the impound rule would do, but it's very hard to consider the weather conditions on a Thursday afternoon at five o'clock qualifying for a Saturday race with a one o'clock start. You saw the Cup guys gain big dividends being there on Friday and obviously there again on Saturday morning."

DOES A SCHEDULE LIKE THIS WEEKEND'S IN PHOENIX LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD? "I think the schedule that we're seeing this week falls more in line to what a best-case scenario would be for us. I think it's productive to do our Happy Hour in close conditions for the race. Now, since we're doing an impound deal, I really don't think there's that much of a factor on when we do our qualifying. We're limited anyway, and we'll set our car up Thursday night in our final practice for our race the next night and thus we'll deal with what we have to deal with at one o'clock on Friday. I think that's the perfect layout because we're there two days and we're out of there. I really like the fact that when we qualify you can relax for a few hours after and the team can get prepared for the race that evening and everything is fresh and we get to see similar weather conditions, and I think that's the way it ought to be and I think eventually that's the way it will turn out."

ARE YOU SURPRISED WITH HOW IMPORTANT TIRE STRATEGY IS THIS YEAR IN THE RACE? "In our case the other day, we had another set of tires laying there, but we didn't feel that set was quite as good as what we had on our car because we scuffed all of our tires. We knew track position was going to be important. A track like Phoenix this week and Richmond coming up, I think races are going to be won by guys that have a set of tires laying there. On our team in years past, the crew chief and Stewart (Cooper), who was then car chief, were both tire changers. Stewart did the rears, and even now that Stewart is the crew chief he continues to do rear tires, and I think the day has come that we have outgrown the crew chief/tire changer. We're in a mode right now to hopefully get Stewart to stay on the pit box because I think the races are harder to call now because of the tire limitations. I've always said that Busch Series crew chiefs should make more money than Cup crew chiefs because the races are harder to call because you have a limit on your tires. Our goal is always to keep a set of tires laying around because I think tires are going to win races."

YOU ARE A TEAMMATE TO GREG BIFFLE IN THE BUSCH SERIES. GIVEN THE SUCCESS HE HAS EXPERIENCED SO FAR THIS SEASON, HOW MUCH OF AN ASSET HAS HE BEEN TO THE BREWCO ORGANIZATION? "I think as usual, having a quality teammate pays dividends that we can't put our finger on. It's still early in the year and Greg's been so busy back and forth in the Cup car that I've yet to be really able to bend his ear and that's one thing that I want to try to do. I hope and I feel comfortable that he will share some of his thoughts each and every week when we're together at the race track. I want him to share his thoughts on what's happening with the race track because he does have more track time running in both cars. I know back at the shop Stewart Cooper and Newt Moore (crew chief, No. 66 Ford) work closely together and I think if there's anything to be learned from Greg's extra track time, we will be able to diagnosis that information as well. The other cool thing about it is that it keeps me on my toes. There's always a competitive desire, and in my case I've had brothers that I've raced against, and I think as each team performs better on the race track it raises the expectations of the other team. I know one thing for sure, Greg will always keep us on our toes, and that's good. I like the fact that probably the hottest driver in Cup racing right now is my teammate in the Busch Series."

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Drivers Greg Biffle , David Green