Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, posted the fastest single-lap speed in Saturday’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Biffle, who won the pole for tomorrow’s Bank of America 500, along with crew chief Matt Puccia, spoke about how the weekend has gone to this point and what they’re looking for tomorrow night.
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – WHAT WILL YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THE FIRST PRACTICE SESSION TODAY? “I think we’ve got a pretty fast car for tomorrow night. We’re just working on trying to get a good balance and good drive. A lot of guys are getting tight and then it’s falling off as far as speed, so we’re just continuing to try and work on the good balance in the car.”
YOU WON’T HAVE THOSE SAME CONDITIONS TOMORROW NIGHT IN THE RACE, SO HOW VALUABLE WAS IT? “I guess balance is the only thing we’re looking for and how is our total grip. Is it too tight? Is it too loose? We know the grip is going to increase, but you’re just trying to look for an easy-driving and good-driving car right now. My car drives pretty good, but we’re also kind of testing. We’re pretty happy with the car, but this practice time gives us a chance to try some different things and see how the car reacts.”
YOU’VE LED PRACTICE BEFORE, SO HOW DOES THIS BENEFIT YOU FOR TOMORROW NIGHT? “I think the main thing is just having a little extra track time to practice and try all of those different things. That’s the big thing that not only helps you here, but next week at Kansas and maybe some of the other places we’ll go to because you get a chance to try things that might make a difference at those tracks.”
MATT PUCCIA, Crew Chief – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – YOU’VE WON THE POLE AND THEN TODAY’S FIRST PRACTICE SESSION, SO IS THE WEEKEND GOING LIKE YOU HOPED SO FAR? “So far. We’ve been working pretty hard on our intermediate program over the last few weeks leading up to this race and next week at Kansas because some of the stuff that has worked in the past here, and in the first race when we ran so well, is kind of obsolete. So we’ve spent a little bit of time working on our intermediate package and it seems like some of the stuff we’ve learned in practice is correlating into the performance, so it seems to be going well so far. This last practice is going to be the closest we’re going to have to our race conditions, so this is going to be the one we really go off of here.”
IS TOMORROW NIGHT A CREW CHIEF’S RACE? “I think they’re all about strategy now. It’s just really tough because track position is so big these days and it’s hard to pass at a lot of these places we go. Being up there in the front and in clean air is huge and this place is no different. You want to be in that top five all day long to be in contention to win the race. That’s what it’s going to take is to run in the top five, so strategy plays a big part in that and being able to take two tires, no tires or stay out is going to be big when it comes down to go-time tomorrow.”
WITH SIX RACES TO GO ARE YOU FOCUSING MORE ON WINNING RACES CONSIDERING WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS? “Right now we’re looking at performance and trying to win races. That’s the only shot we’ve got right now is to win races, so if we have to take chances to do that, we’re going to do that. If those guys are going to have any problems, we’ve got to be able to be in position and pounce, and the only way we’re going to do that is if we get some wins and have solid runs. I feel good about the races we have in front of us and where we’re at with our program, we just have to be able to capitalize on the good days and minimize the bad days.”