Ford Watkins Glen (Greg Biffle)
Greg Biffle, fresh off his first victory in 64 races last weekend at Pocono, stands 11th in the latest point standings heading into Sunday’s race at The Glen. Biffle talked about the victory last weekend, his visit with Jack Roush and momentum gained heading down the stretch.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE RELIEF YOU MUST HAVE FELT AFTER WINNING LAST WEEKEND AND HOW YOU FOLLOW UP THAT PERFORMANCE?
“Certainly last week was a huge relief for our entire company and Ford and 3M. It was a big win for us. I really enjoy road racing. It is a lot of fun and I like this track a lot. I have a win here under my belt in the truck series. Things felt really good off the truck this morning. The track is starting to free up a little bit for everybody. We lost a little speed toward the end, but we will keep working on our car. We had a flat tire, so we lost a set of tires and we won’t probably be quite as good in the next one. We are going to fire-off at about 15-lap tires. I think we are looking decent for a good top-five and I think we can challenge for a win if our weekend goes right.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS THEY HAVE MADE HERE?
“Unbelievable. It is amazing to see what they have done around this race track. It is so nice to see a race track respond so quickly to what appeared to be a pretty bad accident last race. They have done a fantastic job with this race track. I think it is going to be a fun race and they have definitely made it a lot safer. I keep saying that it is hard to drive these cars in the grass. It makes it real difficult when it is next to the edge of the race track and you can get off in that area. That is a huge improvement for this race track.”
HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ANY EXTRA WORK ON YOUR ROAD COURSE RACING TO HAVE A GOOD FINISH LAST YEAR AND BE FASTEST IN THE FIRST PRACTICE TODAY?
“I think it is just a natural progression. This is a different race car than we had before. Actually, this is a completely different race car. We went more towards the RPM cars and what they had for road cars at Sonoma and here. We made that decision in the spring time when we took what we raced last year at Sonoma and here and what the No. 9 raced at both tracks. He won Sonoma and was running good here. We took and compared those two cars and I drove both my car and Kasey’s car and Kasey drove both cars as well and I felt Kasey’s car was better in regard to the way it drove. I think both organizations have that type of front suspension in their cars here. This is a different race car here for me than last year. It has a completely different front suspension setup and I like the way it is driving.”
DID YOU VISUALIZE YOUR NAME AT THE TOP OF THE FIRST PRACTICE SHEET BEFORE YOU GOT HERE AND HOW DO THE CHANGES TO THE TRACK MANIFEST THEMSELVES ON THE RACE TRACK IN YOUR FEEL IN THE RACE CAR?
“The car just turns a lot better and is a lot more sensitive with the steering wheel. It seems like it is better through the high speed corners, which this race track is mostly high speed compared to Sonoma. Sonoma is not nearly as high speed. I don’t do as well on low speed corners like at Sonoma, so it is good for me that there aren’t that many here. I have been thinking about this race a lot. I like to road race. It is fun to do a couple of times a year. I had been thinking about coming here and being able to challenge for the win. Before the last few weeks, I felt like there would be four or five guys that we would be able to run with at this race track and I would just have to hope that we could out smart them on strategy. I don’t think that is the case now. I think we can challenge the fastest cars for the win on Sunday. I didn’t think I would be at the top of this sheet, but I am sure happy about it.
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED … WHO ARE SOME OF THE GUYS YOU CONSIDER TO BE TOP DRIVERS HERE? “Tony (Stewart) has won five of them here in the last seven races. He is definitely one to watch. Jeff Gordon’s name is thrown around a lot. The 48 won at Sonoma and has momentum coming in. The 11 and 18 are both usually good. Those are kind of the guys. You can always throw a road racer in there like Marcos Ambrose. We knew that Marcos was going to be tough when he was faster than Jeff Gordon here at the tire test. There was a handful of guys that I felt would be really tough, and they still are, but I am happy that I am at least as fast as they are.”
DID YOU GO SEE JACK AND HOW DEFENSIVE CAN YOU BE ON THIS RACE TRACK?
“I think that when you have double file restarts on a road course that you will see guys knocking into each other. These race tracks are hard to race side by side. When you get the field bunched up and get side by side, it is very hard to stay on the course and not give your neighbor enough room. You will definitely see some bumping and banging here. As far as Jack’s condition, before we left to see him yesterday morning, before we went to ESPN, I was told there was an outside chance that he wouldn’t be there. He had a procedure in the morning and had gone to get a MRI. They were still looking at his face. Unfortunately when I had gotten there, they had taken him to do the MRI and he wasn’t there. He was expected to be back but wasn’t back yet and he was going in for his procedure. Unfortunately the timing didn’t work out. I had to be on the ground by noon at ESPN, so I left the trophy in his room on the end of his desk right there at the end of his bed. I am sure when he came back in he was excited to see it. I told him that if he didn’t get out of there soon I would be bringing him another one.”
HOW MUCH DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NOW HAVE UNDERNEATH YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO WIN?
“100-percent everywhere we go now. You can play ‘what if’ all day long, but we had a car that could have won at Chicago. We could have competed for the win there. Whether I could have beaten David on the last run of the race, who knows. Certainly we were as good as or a little better than Carl with one run to go, or whenever that was. Carl finished second. That race I feel like I had a chance to win, not scratch and claw for a 15th place finish. In Indy, arguably myself and Montoya had the two fastest cars there and it came down to four tires or two tires and track position. Sunday was a different circumstance. I didn’t feel like I had the best car early on or three-quarters of the way through the race. My car really turned on at the end. The adjustments really came around. I felt like at the end, even if the caution came out, that I had a piece to race with those guys. Coming here after a race at Sonoma, I think that I got at least an equal opportunity to win here and Michigan I can’t wait for. It is one of my favorite places to race. I think we are going to take our Pocono and Indy car there, no we aren’t, but we are taking something similar to what we have at those two races.”
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THE SET UP OF THE CAR AND CAN YOU, CARL AND MATT DRIVE A SIMILAR CAR SO THAT AS YOU MOVE FORWARD YOU CAN FIND SOMETHING THAT HELPS YOU ALL OUT?
“I think our driving styles are fairly similar. Our crew chiefs have a little different philosophy, so you look at the set up sheet and see minor differences in the car, whether it is springs or bars or whatever. I think Matt and I are probably the closest out of our organization as far as set up and what we like to drive and what we like to feel in a race car. It has been surprising that Matt has lacked a little bit with this new suspension package and new geometry. I thought that I would be swatting against him for the front. He is right there and they are getting better. We will wait and see how he is at Michigan.
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED … WHAT IS YOUR MINDET COMING DOWN THE STRETCH TOWARD THE CHASE?
“Last week did a lot for our mindset. It did a lot for our team internally. We know we are in the fight of our life to get in the Chase right now. I feel like, confidence level, I really feel like we can win again in the next five races. I really do feel that way. We have run so well the last three or four race tracks and we have Michigan, Atlanta, Bristol, here all coming up. Those are some great race tracks for us that are right down our alley. If things go right, we can run right up front and be competitive. Even if we don’t win, we need to run top fives and I definitely think we are capable of that.”