2012 NSCS STP 400 Pre-Race Q&A with Ford Racing Driver, Greg BifflePress Release
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, has been leading the point standings since finishing third at Las Vegas, and increased his lead to 19 points after winning last weekend at Texas. Biffle, a two-time winner at Kansas Speedway, held a Q&A session before the first of two practice sessions on Friday.
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – WHAT ABOUT WINNING LAST WEEK? “It certainly was kind of a relief to finally get the 3M Ford Fusion in victory lane. It was an exciting race for us. I know it might have been a little bit caution-free, but we had a good car, good pit stops and I really look forward to coming to this race track. This is one of my favorite tracks. It’s pretty high on my list because I’ve got a couple wins here. It’s always fun racing at this race track.”
WHAT MAKES A RACE EXCITING FOR YOU BEHIND THE WHEEL? “As a race car driver, when you’re driving around under caution it’s no fun. Restarts are fun and challenging in a way. We had a few of those. The 56 and I start side-by-side twice. Once he picked the inside and once he picked the outside. Pit stops and pit cycles and where you’re running on the track, trying to make your car better – every single lap something happens or you’re grading yourself. I’m getting my lap time and the leader’s lap time, or if I’m running third I’m getting second-place and fourth-place lap times. Every single lap of the race something is happening. When I enter the corner, maybe I’m trying a little bit different line like running the bottom – a lap car is coming up so I’m gonna try and run the middle. The tires are falling off and I’m changing lanes and trying to figure out where I’m running faster. My spotter, Joel, tells me the 29 is running all the way up against the fence and he’s the fastest car on the track, so I look and see, do I have room behind me to take the chance of going up there and running that high line? Because I know it’s gonna take me a couple of laps to get going. So Mark Martin is 20 car lengths in front of me. I’ve been trying to catch him and I’m driving my tail off, so I go up and run the top groove and I lose about eight car lengths to him, but the track felt like it had a lot of grip, so I’m gonna enter a little faster and try it. So I drive in the corner a little faster in three and four, and I almost get the fence because the thing is sliding up there and I go to the gas and I have good momentum off, but I lost another eight car lengths to him. Now I’m not 15-20 car lengths behind him I’m 30-35. That didn’t work, so I’m back to running the bottom and I reel him back in some and have gotten back to where I was, so, for us, there is constantly racing going on and adrenaline. I’ve got to be thinking, ‘OK, you’re gonna pit in 19 more laps. What do you want us to do to the car?’ So you’re thinking about what you’ve got to do to be better. Is more wedge gonna help me? Lower the track bar? So for us and the race teams, there’s constantly stuff going on.
“It may not look like it from the outside, maybe just standing up there watching, but when you’re 20 car lengths apart you can’t really visually tell whether you’re getting close or not per lap, but if you’re watching the lap times on a FanView or you’re listening on the radio to the teams, you’re understanding all the strategy and competitiveness that’s going on during that green run.”
DO YOU FEEL ANY URGENCY TO WIN THIS TITLE BEING 42 YEARS OLD? “I feel an urgency because I’m ready to win it, but that’s really, to me, about it. I feel great. I feel better than I ever have in these past five seasons with the way our team is and how competitive we are, and how I’m driving the car and how I feel personally. Yeah, I think anybody feels the urgency to want to win it and, obviously, some day I’m not gonna be doing this anymore.”
IF YOU COULD TAKE PRESIDENT OBAMA AROUND AT SPEED. WHAT TRACKS WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO THAT AT? “A couple tracks come to mind. One would be Bristol because it’s badass fast and people probably don’t understand what it’s like being inside that car, or at a place like Texas, Charlotte, Atlanta – one of our 205 mile an hour getting into the corner race tracks that has a lot of grip on a new set of tires. That will wake you up on what it’s like to sit inside there for 500 miles.”
DO YOU WORRY ABOUT POINTS NOW OR IS IT TOO EARLY IN THE SEASON? “I start thinking about points when we go to Daytona for the Daytona 500 and thinking about the Chase and how I’m gonna win the championship this year, next year or last year. It’s never too early and what I think about going into each race is exactly that, one, how am I gonna perform in this race, but, more importantly, when it comes down to the last 10 of the season how does this compare to one of those 10 race tracks and how are we gonna compete with one of those last 10, and how are we gonna be better now looking forward to the last 10? Obviously, you’ve got to make the Chase and we’re off to a good start on that, but I’m always thinking about that because the last 10 races are really what counts. All these races in between now and then there are two things – one is to win because that gets you bonus points, and, truthfully, other than that, it doesn’t really matter unless you’re learning something, learning about your cars and learning about your setups for those last 10.”
THIS IS ONE OF THE LAST 10 BUT THEY’RE REPAVING THE TRACK. CAN YOU DO ANY SCOUTING REPORT FOR THE LAST 10 AT THIS TRACK? “No. This is just for fun. This is just for the trophy.”
DO YOU FEEL WHAT YOU’VE DONE SO FAR THIS YEAR, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE THE NO. 1 DRIVER/TEAM AT ROUSH FENWAY? “No, I still think the 99 is the number one team at Roush. I’m the underdog.”
DOES YOUR GUT TELL YOU WITH HOW THE YEAR HAS STARTING THAT THIS COULD BE THE SEASON? “Yeah, I wasn’t doubtful let’s say two or three races into the season when we got the point lead. But, I was like, ‘OK, now we’ve got to keep it and we’ve got to perform at this level everywhere we go at all race tracks.’ So we ran good at Phoenix. We ran good at Las Vegas. We actually ran very well by my standards at Bristol and Martinsville, but we got 13th-place finishes at both of those tracks with a little bit of an excuse. At Bristol we broke a bump stop on the right-front shock with 17 laps to go. We were going to be well in the top five at that race track for sure. I don’t know if we were gonna compete for the win, we were the first car on tires, so our result doesn’t really reflect. Even though 13th is not a bad finish, our result doesn’t reflect how good we were at Bristol, and the same at Martinsville. We were in position to be the lucky dog twice to get back on the lead lap and would have finished inside the top 10, which, finishing inside the top 10 at Martinsville is really a win for me and our team. So Martinsville, I look for a top 10 finish. Coming down to the last 10 races of the season, that is gonna be the one race track we look to and say, ‘We just need to finish in the top 10.’
“And everytime I’ve run there I’ve gotten better, but now we’ve run competitively at every venue – superspeedway, intermediate tracks, which have always been our strongsuit, and the short tracks we’ve been pretty respectable on, so, at this point, I feel good about just improving on all those fronts – just getting a little bit better than we are now.”
HOW WILL THE WEATHER HAVE AN EFFECT ON THINGS THIS WEEKEND? “That’s really difficult to do because the race track has a tremendous amount of grip. You’ve kind of got the worst scenario. When we first show up on Friday the race track is what we call ‘green’ because it doesn’t have a lot of rubber down. So it tends to be the fastest then. Well, you compound that with cool temperatures and this being the coldest day of the weekend, that really compounds the grip. So the track will be very fast today, lots of grip, and then Sunday it will be the complete opposite. It’ll be slick and hot and not a lot of grip, so it is difficult to get your car set up for those conditions – doing a lot of our practice today. The one thing is tomorrow will help us some because the track will be a little closer to what it’s going to be.”
ARE YOU DISAPPOINTING THEY’RE TEARING THE TRACK UP AFTER THIS RACE? “Yeah, I am but the race track, I heard it’s coming up in some spots and we have to keep the race track in good condition where it’s not coming apart during a race. But, other than that, I think the race track has a lot of character. It gets slick, it gets slow, a lot of strategy it takes. The racing could be improved by the left side tire that we used at California. Goodyear knows that. I did all I could do. I was the president and gave the speech several times to get a different left side tire here because it was so much better at California and it was a lot better across the seams and it was easier to drive because it gave the car more grip and speed, but they didn’t want to change it because there’s only one race left. I understand that part, so, long story short, I’m a little disappointed they’re repaving it, but I understand we’ve got to keep the race track together as well and not have something happen like what happened at Daytona.”
Source: PCGCampbell for Ford Racing, Press Release
Article Tags: 2012 STP 400, Ford, Ford Fusion, Ford Racing, Fusion, Greg Biffle, Kansas, Kansas Speedway, KS, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, NSCS, RFR, Roush Fenway Racing, STP 400