It's a situation each of us hopes we never experience: Someone is on the phone with alarming news, and the details aren't all available yet.
Greg Biffle went through that sort of whirlwind of emotion on Tuesday night, when he learned Roush Fenway Racing team owner Jack Roush crashed his plane – but initially believed Biffle's brother was involved in a crash instead of Roush.
Jeff Biffle had wrapped up a visit to Charlotte and was on a commercial flight back to Portland, Ore., at 6 p.m. that evening. Greg Biffle caught up on some e-mail in his home office and left his cell phone behind as he joined his wife, Nicole, to watch TV in another room.
When the Roush incident occurred, whoever was trying to reach Greg with the news found there was no answer, so the person called Nicole's phone.
"She was talking to whoever and was bright-eyed and I thought that she said, 'Jeff's plane crashed,'" Biffle said. "I couldn't believe what she just said, and then she said, ‘Yeah, it's confirmed. It was his airplane.' That was the second thing she said, so I'm like, ‘Oh my gosh.'"
We can only imagine what Biffle was feeling at that moment. Or maybe we don't want to.
The shock over what he was hearing about his brother's plane then changed when he heard his wife say, "Yeah, it's his tail number – November6JR."
That tail number, Biffle knew, belonged to his longtime team owner Roush. But any sense of relief that his brother wasn't involved was replaced by more worry over Roush.
"I was just as devastated," Biffle said. "Come to find out it wasn't my brother, it was Jack. And this all takes place in about 15 seconds."
Biffle said the first reports were that Roush had "crashed on arrival," which he said is much worse than "crashing on landing" since if a plane goes down prior to reaching the airport, "you've got big problems."
"That was the initial report that we got, and then news started coming in – that he was OK and been taken to the hospital," Biffle said. "I was pacing back and forth and just couldn't hardly stand it."
The driver called teammates Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards to see if they had heard the news or had more information. Kenseth hadn't heard, and Edwards knew a bit more than Biffle had after speaking with someone at the airport.
Biffle said everyone in the organization is grateful that Roush will eventually be back to normal, given that it could have been worse.
The latest report from the team is Roush remains in "serious but stable condition" and has been moved to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota following facial surgery on Tuesday night.
"We're thankful that he's kind of out of the woods now," Biffle said. "We know that he's got some surgeries to probably go through and it's gonna be a little bit of a road to recovery, but we know he's gonna be alright and back at it."