Ford Drivers Talk About The Sprint All-Star Rac
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, was the winner of the inaugural burnout contest prior to the Sprint All-Star Race. Biffle, who won $10,000 for the Greg Biffle Foundation, spoke about his victory on pit road.
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – "It was pretty fun. I wish it would have started a little bit better because I dumped the clutch over there to get the tires going and the clutch slipped. The clutch just started spinning and didn't get the tires spinning, so I had to stop and rev it up again to get the back tires spinning. These things don't have a real heavy race clutch in them, so it was hard to get the tires spinning. They had a lot of grip, but once I got them spinning it was just kind of donuts as usual, I guess – a burnout after the race. I haven't had much practice this year, but, hopefully later tonight I'll do another one."
WHAT ABOUT THE FAN REACTION? "It was awesome and I gave them a little slide job over here around the Legends track, so the fans loved it. They want to see the smoke and the excitement and I think they saw that."
HOW WOULD YOU RANK YOUR BURNOUT? "Kind of a D- taking off, but I would say after that a strong B, I guess, maybe a B+. It definitely wasn't an A burnout, but it wasn't bad."
YOU GET $10,000 FOR YOUR CHARITY AS WELL. "Yeah, that's great. We're gonna give the money to the Greg Biffle Foundation. We support a lot of animal shelters. We're getting ready to build a shelter in South Iredell County right now, in the Mooresville area, so Friends of the Animal Board, we've been working on it for about a year-and-a-half. We're excited and just getting ready to launch that thing and get it going."
JOHNSON BLEW OUT SOME TIRES. "Yeah, he definitely put on a show for the fans. We had to follow the rules a little bit and he knocked some cones down and some other things, but it was good fun for the fans."
SHOULD THEY DO IT NEXT YEAR? "Yeah, I think they should do it next year. I don't know how to make it better. Kind of change it up and maybe give us a little more room or something and start the cones back a little further, but it was a lot of fun."
HOW ABOUT BRING YOUR OWN STUFF? "I want to bring one of my cars because I think the fans would get really juiced up about us bringing our stuff out here and doing it. That would be pretty cool for them to see that. I'm talking about one of my personal cars. If Goodyear would bring us some tires, I would bring my Shelby GT500 car. It's got a lot of power and it would look cool out there laying down some rubber and some smoke."
ALL-STAR SHOWDOWN RACE
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Finished 3rd) – "When it counted we just weren't that good. Staying out was the right call, but it just wasn't good enough at the end when it counted. We just got tight. We started out just a hair on the free side and we thought that would be pretty good. That was the right call to stay out, but the77 could keep his momentum up through the corner and I was having to slow down way too much to get the car turned, so it's something we can learn from and, hopefully, some of our teammates can benefit tonight." THIS IS A DISAPPOINTED AS I'VE SEEN YOU AFTER A RACE. "Yeah. We had a good car. We could have got a little more. Third on any weekend would be great, but tonight it might as well be dead last."
TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 28 Yates Racing Ford Fusion (Finished 8th) – "I think we learned a lot. I'm really disappointed in how that race went. In the two weeks we've been here, that was the worst the car has been, whether it was just a factor of being back in traffic in the dirty air, I don't know. We made some adjustments and hit it pretty hard, but it didn't really respond. I think we've got some pretty good ideas as far as what we might be hurting on, and we've got some other Ford cars out there that we know where they're at, so hopefully some will run good and some will run bad and we can learn from that."
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 freecreditreport.com Ford Fusion (Finished 7th) – "That was exciting – the showdown, there are only two spots that matter and that's first and second, so we came up a little bit short tonight. We learned a lot for next week that's gonna make us really good. We're excited. I'm definitely coming out of here very positive about what we learned and what we can put towards the 600." YOU GOT INTO IT WITH THE 41, BUT THAT'S WHAT THIS NIGHT IS ABOUT. "Oh yeah, sparks fly. Like I said, there are only two positions that matter and that's first and second. I think he stayed out and didn't get tires or something and was kind of going backwards, so it's just one of those deals. We're here for two reason – first or second."
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion (Finished 10th) – "I thought we were the car to beat. I thought we were gonna be great there (in the second half). I was already thinking about what I was gonna do with all the money, having a good time, but something with that last set of tires on that last run, it was just off. I couldn't go any faster. That's that. That's racing. Congrats to Kasey, he did a great job." DID YOU NOTICE ANY MAJOR CHANGES IN JUST A 25-LAP SPAN? "I'm telling you, next week is gonna be a marathon. There are gonna be guys coming and going and people figuring it out and it's gonna be about timing and hitting it right on the last run. If we would have run in the last run like we did the second one, we were spectacular fast, so we just have to figure out how to do that the last run of the Coke 600."
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion (Finished 2nd) – PRESS CONFERENCE – "I tell you what, we were just a mediocre car. I was running third, fourth right there and I was just way too tight, way, way too tight. I think we finished in the first segment second, I think, and then we fell back a couple more spots. We got the big break and we took a look at what Matt was doing and Carl and made some adjustments to our car – pretty aggressive. We wouldn't have done something like that in a normal race and loosened it up a bunch. When the green flag dropped, I mean, man alive, I could not believe how fast my car was. It was unbelievable. I could just drive it anywhere – on the mat – drive it in the corner and just hold it to the floor. And Matt and Junior were racing really hard with each other and I didn't want to get up in the middle of that mix because I knew we had another segment to go. Once they cleared each other, I was able to get in there and get by them. At the end, I thought it was gonna be just easy. I thought it was gonna be a Saturday night drive and just went down into turn one after the restart and the tires just chattered – just way, way too tight like I was at the beginning of the race. Then it got good and I chased him down. I had one opportunity and he kind of closed the door on me a little bit and I figured, ‘No sense pressing it right now. I've got plenty more laps to go,' and then it just got tighter and tighter as it went and never got a chance to get back at him again. It's kind of crazy to think if I would have just stayed out that I would have kept my balance and probably would have been able to win, but thought for sure two tires was the right call. I'm just excited that we ran that good and really excited for next week for the 600. This was a big confidence boost for our team. After the Darlington race, this is a big comeback for us."
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion (Finished 3rd) – PRESS CONFERENCE – "I'm just happy to run that good. With the All-Star race, honestly, you guys might remember for a day or two, but I don't think anybody else really remembers anybody except for the winner that got the million dollar check, so to finish third is great, but it's not like we finished third and got a lot of points and all that. But for us it was almost like a test and it was a good morale booster, I think, for the team and a big confidence booster. We haven't really been running very good this year and when we have run good, we've had a lot of problems. We were kind of back, I thought anyway, back in form a little bit. We were pretty competitive at times. Sometimes we were a little behind the 99, sometimes we were a little behind the 16 and a couple of other guys, but, overall, I thought we had a pretty good car. If it runs solid like that for 600 miles, I think we'll have a car that can be a contender and that's something I haven't felt like for a while."
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S HARD TO PASS THE LEADER. "When you're that close together competition-wise or speed-wise it is, you just can't pass. But earlier I was able to drive through that traffic and just mow ‘em down and drive off. My car was three-tenths faster than everybody else, so when it's that much faster, you can pass. But, yeah, you're right – when they are really close to the same speed, it's just so tough to get position on somebody. The old cars were like that a little bit, but this car is a little more like that. But a big race track, you can run up and down the track – up a the top and down at the bottom and try to get some clean air." DO YOU KNOW WHAT ANYBODY CAN DO WHO IS RUNNING SECOND NEXT WEEK? IS IT ALL ABOUT PIT STRATEGY AND TRACK POSITION? "There again, if I would have had my car like I had it the segment prior, the segment prior we ran four-tenths or a half-second faster every lap than the last segment, so I just got my car off or I would have been able to pass Kasey – I wouldn't say easy, but without him taking tires, if I wouldn't have been too tight, I think I could have got by him. Yeah, I mean, you're just gonna have to get a run at a guy. You're gonna have to take his line away somehow, either way at the top and get on the outside of him or get up in the corner high and kind of diamond it down to try and get a run at him is kind of how you've got to pass a guy. But I think there will be passing, just not probably a lot, I guess."
MATT KENSETH CONTINUED – DID YOU CONSIDER KAHNE A THREAT AND WHAT'S YOUR FEELING ON THE FAN VOTE? "I felt like everybody was a contender – almost everybody really. Even though we never really raced with Kasey all night, when you get out front with this car it's like magic and if you're got just the right balance – if you're a little tight and you get out in that clean air, I mean, it's a big deal. At Texas, we were just one of the boys and had a pit stop and got out in the lead and ran almost a half-second faster. We were in position to win the race and got ran up out of the way by a lapped car and got back to fifth or sixth and we were a fifth or sixth-place car again, so track position is just so much more important with this car. There could be a guy that's just running fourth or fifth all day with a good car that would be really good out front and just until he gets a chance to get there, you don't know what he has. But, I never really thought of Kasey that much because we never had to race with him until the last pit stop." DO YOU THINK PEOPLE ARE HITTING THE PANIC BUTTON WITH YOUR POINTS SITUATION? "Every year and every situation is a little different. The year when we came back, we got on a roll and we were running really good. We won a couple races and we were just running awesome at the time. We had a ton of momentum going, even though we got so far behind at the beginning of the year. This year, up to this point, it hasn't been like that. We've been behind and it's like, ‘OK, you can make up those points,' but to make up those points you've got to be running good. You've got to be running better than all the guys in front of you and not have trouble and we haven't run better than any of those guys and we have not had trouble, so we've got to get running. If we can run like we ran tonight and even how we ran at Darlington – we had a top three or four car there probably and finished sixth because we were saving gas. If we can have the cars drive like they did the last two weeks, I think we can get back in it."
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – SEEING THE AGGRESSIVE ADJUSTMENT WORK SO WELL, IS IT SOMETHING YOU CAN CARRY TO NEXT WEEK? "Yeah, exactly. That gave us a lot of confidence on making changes to our car under a green flag pit stop or for any normal race. I think we got a good idea of what that much adjustment we did is going to do. What kind of blows our mind is that we didn't change anything and put two right-side tires on it and it just went way back tight again. It's hard to put your finger on it. It's a moving target, but, yeah, now that I know what that did, certainly, that's an option for us in the race and the 600 and everywhere else – Kansas, Chicago – any kind of track like this."
MATT KENSETH CONTINUED -- THIS SOUNDS LIKE WE'RE GOING TO SEE SOMETHING LIKE TEXAS. DID THE TEST HERE AT CHARLOTTE MAKE THAT MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE? "Everybody has a different opinion on that test and in my opinion, the test did nothing to help us. I say that because you go out there in single-car runs and you go out there and run all day and the track is hot and greasy, whatever, you go out there tonight and tonight is a lot better of a test. Even though it's only half the field, you get half the field together, you're two and three-wide, you're all racing as hard as you can race for the million bucks and that trophy and that's the true test. Part of the thing is I'm sure the car is gonna get better. I think the racing is OK. I don't think it's as terrible as everybody makes it. It's probably not as great as everybody makes it. I mean, I've seen races here after they paved it with the old car too, where the same car has led almost every lap and nobody could get up there and get around him. That's nothing new. Usually the guy in the front, especially if he has the fastest car, he's gonna drive away. I mean, that's what racing is – once the fastest car gets to the front, he's usually gone. That's what it's about. But I think this helps. I think there are things Goodyear can do to help, although I think Goodyear did a great job last weekend at Darlington and they're doing a good job here, I think there are things you can do to help the car. But when you get behind somebody and this car is bigger than the other one, and when you're behind somebody, there's a bigger hole in the air and the car is more aero deficient than the other car was, we can't work on the bodies. The old cars we could come here and test and move quarterpanels around and move fenders around and change noses and you could find an aero balance that you'd like, that maybe you could make work in traffic. But these cars we can't mess with. We can't tough the bodies, so we're not gonna fix an aerodynamic push situation with this car because we're not allowed to work on it, unless there's some kind of rules change."
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – WERE YOU AWARE KYLE BUSCH WAS DOWN A CYLINDER AND STILL FASTER THAN 18 OTHER CARS ON THE TRACK? "Yeah, I mean that car has been fast. It's easy to kind of keep your momentum here, but, yeah, it was hard for me to pass him. I had a hard time getting around him because I was so tight – once I got my car better – but we know that they've been tough about everywhere we went."
MATT KENSETH CONTINUED – "It didn't surprise me. I think he could be us all on six cylinders easy. Easy."