Found May 19, 2012 on Start 'N' Park Blog:
PLAYERS: Greg Biffle

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M/American Red Cross Ford Fusion, has never won the Sprint All-Star Race, but his season is off to a good start as he leads the series in points.  Biffle spoke about his chances tomorrow night before today’s practice and qualifying session.

IS YOUR MENTALITY GOING TO BE DIFFERENT TOMORROW NIGHT?  “I’m really excited about this All-Star Race.  One, you get to take a week off from the pressure of the points.  There has certainly been a lot of emphasis on that for us as a team, so this is kind of fun.  We like this race track.  I like this race track.  We’ve run really, really well here.  You look back, last year we almost won the 600.  We ran good in the All-Star Race and we ran really good here in the fall, so this has been a good race track for us.  Our mile-and-a-half program is really good.  I feel good about my chances tomorrow night in this All-Star Race.”

IS THE ALL-STAR RACE MORE NERVE-WRACKING AT THE END THAN A NORMAL RACE?  “It’s probably more nerve-wracking because of the emphasis and the build-up to this race.  So much is put into this race and so much emphasis.  It is $1 million to win, so a lot of prestige goes with it, so that final restart you still have the butterflies like always, but probably less than the 600 race.  You’re still going for a win, but a lot is built up about this race and it’s so short.  Your adrenaline is at peak all of the time.”

DO YOU THINK YOU’RE THE FAVORITE?  “Everybody has run so good this season.  To be honest with you, I wish I could say I feel like we’re the favorite.  I feel like we have a great opportunity, but to look at the 48 car, the 11 car, the 99 car, the 17 car and all those guys, I think any one of us can win this thing.  The guy that starts in the top two rows, the guy that’s got the setup right for the last run of the night seems like that’s gonna be the guy and I hope that we’re one of them right there.  I would say you throw about 10 numbers in a basket and every one of us has about an equal chance.”

TO YOU AGREE THE WINNER WILL COME FROM THE FRONT TWO ROWS? “I think the winner is gonna come potentially from the top three rows because if the two guys in front of a certain row get racing each other, or whatever happens, it opens the door up for basically that third row.  But if you’re gonna come deeper than that with 10 to go, something maybe more extraordinary is gonna happen.  But if one guy gets slowed up a little bit sideways and bunches up some cars, a guy makes it three-wide coming off of two, you can get a run from back a little bit further and get up there, but, typically, it’s probably gonna be the top two or three rows.”

DO YOU AGREE WITH DALE JR. THAT DRIVERS GET A PASS AS FAR AS THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THIS RACE WITH THE MONEY AT STAKE?  “We know there’s gonna be a little pushing and shoving and rubbing and grinding going on for that $1 million bucks on the last lap.  Typically, it’s hard to get beside that guy on that last lap, or hard to get to him, so that is true, but my feelings will be hurt if you cost me from winning that $1 million bucks.  We all are gonna do whatever we can.  We’re not gonna intentionally, or at least I’m not gonna intentionally wreck somebody, but you’re certainly gonna rough them up and try to maybe stop their momentum a little bit or find some type of advantage or edge if it’s coming down to the checkered flag.”

WHAT IS IT LIKE DURING PRE-RACE FOR YOU HERE AT CHARLOTTE?  “It’s certainly exciting now because I’ve got a 10-month old daughter.  With her being out on pit road, not every race but a lot of them, it’s kind of a little inspiration when I get ready to buckle in that car.  It’s neat to be home in front of what we call our hometown track and all of our friends and family.  All of our team guys’ families get to participate, so that’s exciting to spend a couple weeks at home and see all the people that are able to come out for this event.  It’s nice to be in this situation.”

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN ANYTHING AT A LOCAL LEVEL THAT WAS A LESSER VERSION OF THIS ALL-STAR FORMAT?  “Not really.  There are a couple things.  I’ve been involved in about every one of them at some level, so on Friday night after we qualified, they’d bring this wheel out to the frontstretch and you’d spin it to know what the invert is.  That was kind of typical of the short track days – 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 or whatever it was – and then the other thing I did is I ran some enduro races when I was running street stocks and coming up.  They were 300-lap enduro races, so we’d run kind of like what Tony recommended a couple weeks back, we’d run 100 laps one direction on the track, we’d run 100 laps the other direction, and then track had a half-mile and quarter-mile, and then we’d run 100 laps one way on the quarter-mile and 100 laps the other way on the quarter-mile to finish.  That was a lot of fun.  Those are fun races and the lemon races or whatever they run around here, where you just take an old beater car and go out and have a little fun, so nothing quite like this format.”

DO YOU EXPECT ANYBODY TO TAKE TIRES ON THE FINAL PIT STOP?  “You’re exactly right, there’s no mystery to what’s gonna happen.  Track position is what’s gonna win the race and we’ll see what this track thinks of new tires.  As the track ages, as the tire is maybe a little bit different – the same tire but maybe it acts a little different on the race track, so after 20 laps we’ll see how important a new tire is.  Maybe it doesn’t really matter that much, so we’ll have some practice and a little bit of that race to figure that out, but you’ve got to be at the front at the end.  You’re not gonna win from the fourth or fifth row, sixth row, just because you have new tires – I don’t think.  Anything can happen, but it’s gonna be track position and maybe it’s two tires, maybe it’s no tires.”

WHAT MAKES A CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER?  “I think what makes a championship driver is a driver’s ability to adapt to all situations.  One week you’ve got something going on, you’ve got things you’ve got to do inside the car, you fall behind, you get a lap down, it’s a driver that can adapt to all race tracks, all situations, and be kind of cool under the collar when things aren’t going right.  That’s what makes a championship driver – car control, talent, and being able to manage everything from every race track.”

RUTON SMITH IS NOT ON THE FINAL LIST OF 25 FOR THIS YEAR’S HALL OF FAME BALLOT.  IS THAT SURPRISING TO YOU?  “Yes, I would have to say it’s surprising.  I would say that he should definitely be on the list.  He’s done a tremendous amount for our sport.  He’s done a tremendous amount with this race track and other race tracks like Las Vegas and other places.  He’s
been a huge contributor to our sport and definitely deserves an opportunity at some point, or at least gets my vote to be counted.”

ARE YOU AS CONFIDENT ABOUT THE 600 NEXT WEEK AS YOU’VE EVER BEEN?  “Yeah, I feel really confident right now getting ready for this race and the 600.  Typically, how you feel going into a race track is how you ran there last, so you open the notebook up and see how you ran at that particular track and how well you run at that particular track and then how much better our program is from the last time we were here.  You add all those things up and you can convince yourself that you’re gonna be unbeatable, but it feels good coming here in the situation we’re in and we know we’ve got good cars.  We know everybody else has stepped their game up too, so we just have to show up here and go out on the track here in a little bit and lay down some fast laps and get our car driving good.”

WHAT WAS YOUR IMPRESSION OF THE FIRST ALL-STAR RACE YOU SAW?  “I honestly don’t remember the first All-Star Race I saw, but I do remember watching the one that had light rain and everybody when down into turn one and they all wrecked.  That’s one that sticks out in my head.  I think that we were in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, I don’t remember exactly where we were racing then, I know Nationwide was off racing somewhere else, and we watched that event.  That’s one that really sticks out in my head of when I was involved in the sport and coming up.”

WHO IS THE BEST ON RESTARTS RIGHT NOW AND ARE THE TIRES GOING TO BE SPINNING LIKE AT DARLINGTON?  “A lot of times it’s reflex time and the leader, when he puts the gas down, how much he puts it down, does his tires spin a little bit, does he get good grip off that, and then just reaction time of that lane.  You want to put the gas down as much as you can, but if you do that too quickly, you start spinning the tires and then there’s no way to really get them to stop spinning.  It happened at Darlington.  I don’t know what happened to Tony.  I think he ran out of gas a little bit, it might not have been him, but the bottom lane got jammed up and the top lane is going and the bottom lane is not.  I’ve got guys going out three-wide behind me, driving down in the corner on the apron.  It’s a hornet’s nest that last little bit, so any one of those things.  I don’t say any guy is more proficient or better at it right now than just putting the gas down and going, and whoever gets that best little reflex jump or the tires take about all the power you can give it and whoever just does it perfect.”

WHAT WAS YOUR EMOTION WHEN YOU WON A RACE AND QUALIFIED FOR THIS EVENT?  “I’ve been in this race, I didn’t make it my first year.  I won after I was here in the first year I was in Sprint Cup, so I didn’t make it the first year, but I’ve been in it every year since, except for one year we went winless.  I’ve won a race every year since or finished second and got in, and it’s pretty exciting to be in it.  It’s pretty exciting to be in here right now while they’re out there practicing for the race to try and get in.  It feels good to be a part of that group, but it certainly is exciting for your first time to win a race and know that that’s put you in the event.”

IS IT HARD BEING ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN?  “Yeah, it’s hard being on the outside looking in.  It’s like the Bud Shootout or anything else when you don’t qualify or you’re not in that position to race that race.  That one year was pretty disappointing because it’s just another nail in the coffin, so to speak, where you went a year without winning a race and then you didn’t race your way into the All-Star Race.  I missed it by one spot, I think, so it kind of continues that toughness to get back into Victory Lane.”

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