Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, has two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Michigan International Speedway. He comes into this weekend’s event in 11th place in the point standings and before Friday’s practice session spoke with the media about what makes Roush Fenway so successful at MIS.
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – ONE MORE WIN HERE WILL MAKE JACK THE WINNINGEST CUP OWNER AT MIS. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS PLACE THAT HAS MADE YOUR GROUP SO SUCCESSFUL? “It’s kind of neat to be able to win here, being in a Ford, and there’s not a big rivalry, but kind of a rivalry between the manufacturers – and with Roush Industries here. I don’t know what it is about the race track and why we run so good as a company. It’s a fun race track for me. I really like it and, going back, Mark (Martin) and Jeff (Burton) and everybody has won here. I won here in the Truck Series and ran really good in Nationwide and have a couple Cup wins, so it’s just a great race track for us. It kind of fits our driving style and our race cars and, hopefully, I can make that stat come true and have one more to add to the list.” DO YOU KNOW IF JACK IS GOING TO BE HERE THIS WEEKEND AND HOW BIG WOULD IT BE FOR ONE OF YOU TO WIN THIS WEEK FOR HIM? “It would be really important to win here for Jack. I was able to obviously win at Pocono, which was pretty neat, but this would kind of be icing on the cake, if you will. Winning here this weekend would be pretty special, and I think that all of us have a great opportunity to win – every one of our cars. We haven’t been on the race track yet, but I feel really, really confident that our cars are gonna be fast. Two, I heard a rumor that he may try to make it, but, of course, that’s gonna be how he’s feeling and how he’s doing. He just came home, I believe, yesterday or the day before, so I’m not really sure. You know Jack, the iron horse, he’ll want to be here for sure, but whether he’s feeling up to it or not, we’ll just have to wait and see.” YOU WERE IN STURGIS THIS WEEK. WHAT WAS THAT MOTORCYCLE RALLY LIKE? “It was kind of neat. I got invited by Mike (Helton) and he goes just about every year, I think. I know he didn’t go last year, but it was kind of neat to go out there and see that. I don’t ride that much, but to see all the people and that many motorcycles was crazy. We went on a few rides Monday and Tuesday and there wasn’t a spot where it was 10 seconds and there wasn’t a motorcycle going the opposite direction. I’ve never seen so many motorcycles in my entire lifetime. I think they estimate 300,000 or more motorcycles and that’s crazy. We were sitting at a stop light and we were half a mile from the light and it was solid motorcycles in all four directions, so it was neat. We got to see Mount Rushmore and some really neat highways – a place call The Badlands. It’s really scenic stuff, so I enjoyed that. It was something neat to see.”
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES WHEN JACK IS INVOLVED WITH THINGS VERSUS WHEN HE’S NOT AND WHAT HAS IT MEANT TO DO WELL FOR HIM AT THIS TRACK IN THE PAST? “It’s meant a lot to do well here at Michigan for a couple of reason. One, Ford has a big presence here, obviously, and then Roush Industries. A lot of people don’t know a lot about Roush Industries versus Roush Fenway Racing. Jack has a huge engineering company here and does a lot of work with all the automotive companies, and a lot of different things. And, of course, Roush Performance is here, too. There are lots and lots of employees and fans of Roush in this area, so it’s pretty neat to be able to win here. Secondly, it’s been a little bit different. I think everybody has really dug in and worked extra hard at the company, knowing that Jack’s not here. Everybody is wanting to kind of pick up a little bit of the pieces, so to speak, so everybody is really trying hard and focused on making sure all of our stuff is as good as it can be and try to make Jack proud. But he’s only missed one Monday meeting so far and that’s a pretty incredible thing if you think about it. He’s only missed one meeting where he didn’t call in, so he’s actually been there quite a bit.” ANY OTHER NASCAR DRIVERS IN STURGIS? “Yeah, I saw Clint (Bowyer) and Tony (Stewart) out there. We rode together and I don’t know if there are anymore.” ANY REACTION TO CHICAGOLAND BEING THE FIRST CHASE RACE NEXT YEAR OR ANY OF THE OTHER CHANGES? “It’s kind of interesting to see it move all around – pretty big changes. I like Chicago. We run really good there, so I’m happy to see that be one of the first chase races for sure. If I could convince them to maybe move Martinsville to Las Vegas or someplace like that, I might be much better off. I think it’ll be a good lineup. I’m okay with the changes. We run really good at California, so I think I’ll run just as good at Chicago and Kentucky as I did, so it’s gonna be different. We know it’ll be different, but I’m looking forward to it.” WHAT HAS BEEN THE REASON FOR FORD’S RESURGENCE? SIMULATIONS, FR9? “It’s been all of those. We feel like we’ve got a front suspension geometry or model that’s running much better now, thanks to some help from the RPM guys and help from some of our Roush Fenway guys. They’re really working well together. That’s helped us. The FR9 is in full swing. We’ve had a few issues, but they’ve gone to the drawing board and really got those worked out. The engine is running good. We have a little history with it now. We know a little bit about it and our cars have gotten better and our simulation is getting better as far as how the cars are racing and driving, so I think you’re gonna see us run well, I really do. We ran well at a similar race track in Chicago, and then Indy is not so much the same, but we ran well there, so I think we’ll run well here.” THOUGHTS ON SOME OF THE RACES NEXT YEAR BEING SHORTER IN DISTANCE, AND DO YOU NOTICE A SHORT RACE LIKE WATKINS GLEN AS FAR AS TIME OF THE EVENT? “I think it makes a little bit of a difference. There are a couple ways to look at it. If you purely look at it from a fan’s point of view. If I put myself as a fan and I watch a Nationwide race sitting in my motorhome, the length of time that the race is – kind of the most exciting part of the race is really the start – you get to see the race start – and one of the more exciting times is the finish or counting down to the finish. So you could say the center part of the race, depending on how many cautions there are or whatever happens, could be not as exciting of a time – maybe a time where they’re gonna get up and go do something and come back. I don’t believe that shortening the races will be detrimental. I think it could actually improve the time of the event to keep the fans’ interest and it would keep my interest if I was watching. Obviously, there are some strategies that may not unfold as much, so you’ve got to watch that part of it, but I think it’s good for our sport to maybe shorten some of them up a little bit, like they’ve done, and keep the interest peaked a little bit more – a little bit more excitement possibly.”
ANY DIFFERENCE AS A DRIVER IN THE CAR? “It won’t really make a huge difference in the car, other than we’re in there for a little bit shorter period of time. Definitely, at Watkins Glen, when the race was over, I was pretty wore out just because it’s intense and there’s a lot going on with your concentration level. You don’t want to make mistakes shifting 15 times a lap and braking hard, and being on the edge of the pavement right next to the grass, so I wasn’t physically as wore out as I was mentally kind of exhausted from the concentration. That’s about how I felt.” WILL HAVING DRIVERS LIKE KASEY AND PAUL AND ELLIOTT LEAVING AFTER THIS YEAR HAVE AN EFFECT ON HOW YOU OPERATE NEXT YEAR? “I think it affects us because, one, we can’t keep any proprietary information, not that the drivers know a whole bunch about it, but other people in the company do so are there other people leaving along with the drivers? That’s a concern. Definitely setups and things like that are going, but the sport is changing relatively quickly still, and technology is still changing. One week the trackbar is mounted up above the fuel cell and the next week we’re talking about adding to the bottom so we can get it lower, so you never know what the next thing is gonna be, so that’s not so much of a concern, but it’s a disruption to the flow, if you will. This guy is out, that guy is in. This guy is doing this. That’ll make some difference. The one thing that’s nice is over on the Roush Fenway side everything is gonna stay pretty much intact at this point, it looks like, so that will be some stabilization among the Ford camp.”