Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 11/7/14

LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 02: NASCAR driver Greg Biffle (R) signs autographs as he arrives at Las Vegas Motorspeedway for the Roast of four time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson during Day 1 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week on December 2, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, led the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings for 15 weeks and was on top when the 26-race regular-season came to a close at Richmond two weeks ago.  As the series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend, Biffle finds himself eighth in the Chase standings after a 13th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday.  He spoke to the media as part of NASCAR’s weekly teleconference.

WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET WITH NINE RACES TO GO IN THE CHASE?  “Certainly we didn’t get our Chase off the way we thought we would with the finish at Chicago, but we really, really feel good about going into Loudon, New Hampshire.  We built a brand new car that we ran earlier this year at Richmond, just a few races back, a short-track car that we’re taking there, and ran extremely well at Richmond, so we’re excited about how it’s gonna be at Loudon.  That’s a great track for us.  The fall seems to be a better race for us than the spring and we have a win there in the Chase, so hopefully we can back that up with another win this weekend.”

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TRACK IN THE CHASE?  “I think my favorite track in the Chase is gonna be Texas.  I’ve got a few wins there, but it’s hard to choose one because we’ve got a bunch of great tracks coming up for us.  But the one I’m probably looking forward to the most is Texas.”

DO YOU THINK MORE GUYS WILL BE IN THIS CHASE LONGER THAN PREVIOUS YEARS?  IT SEEMS THERE’S NO WAY TO HANDICAP IT AT THIS STAGE.  “No, I don’t think so.  You look at this particular weekend – three Chase guys had big problems in Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin running out of gas and Matt with a shock breaking.  That’s probably gonna carry through the next nine races.  You’re probably going to see guys having a little bit of trouble here and there.  Now, if those same guys continue to have trouble, that might start eliminating a few guys, but I with this field people are gonna be climbing back in this game because other guys may have trouble or may have a mediocre race and a guy wins, so I think there will probably be more guys in it for a longer period of time in this Chase.”

DO YOU STILL FEEL YOU’RE IN IT DESPITE THE CHASE NOT STARTING LIKE YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED?  “Yeah, it was an unfortunate race for us.  We were really looking forward to Chicago.  We felt like we were gonna be on the money there and we just ended up off a little bit all weekend and, actually, I find a little positive in a 13th-place finish, if you can, in that it’s about the best we were all day.  We were a little better than that, but we missed that caution flag that would have put us in the top 10, and maybe top five almost, but we still came out of there 13th and kind of minimized the damage of having a bad day and move on to Loudon.  We’ve put that race behind us.  It’s not that bad of a race.  It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great.”

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE EBBS AND FLOWS OF THE CHASE?  “We’re paying attention to what we did wrong last week to try and prevent that from resurfacing these next nine races, so I spent a fair amount of time talking to Matt (Puccia).  I was at the shop earlier today looking at where we think we made a mistake and then what race track is more similar to that and how can we be ahead of the curve or start working on that even more.  So we’re looking at Dover as being a track that’s a little bit slick and a lot bumpier than what Chicago would be because it’s all concrete, so I feel like that’s the next race track that we want to make sure that we’re 100 percent at, so we’re doing the things we have to do to look ahead and trying not to make anymore mistakes when it comes to this Chase.  We didn’t feel like we did anything wrong this weekend, but we all felt like we were unprepared in a way that caught us off-guard and then we were off our game and really didn’t get back on the horse in time before the race started and adjusting on it during the race, but certainly not what we thought was gonna happen.  It caught us off-guard.  We sat down and regrouped and say, ‘Hey, we came out of their 13th.  Let’s not let that defeat us.  Let’s move on and keep our head up.’”

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU NEED YOU FEEL TO WORK ON SPECIFICALLY TO COMPETE WITH THE 2, 48 AND 11?  YOU ONLY HAVE ONE TOP 10 IN THE LAST FOUR RACES.  “Yeah, we know that when it comes to a slick, lower-grip type of race track we have struggled a little bit as of late.  As you said, the last four races have been those type of race tracks, so that’s why we’ve looked ahead in the Chase saying, ‘What else lines up like those race tracks?’  I see Dover as the only track that really lines up like these last four, so we actually are spending a great deal of time looking at Dover, figuring out what we can do to be a little bit better when it comes to that.  But we feel this weekend and Talladega, Charlotte – all those other races – not to be a factor like this weekend was or these last few races.  So we’re definitely looking into it and trying to figure out where we’re missing it a little bit.”

SO THE PERFORMANCE THESE LAST EIGHT RACES WILL BE CONSIDERABLY BETTER THAN THE PREVIOUS FOUR?  “Oh yeah, absolutely.  We finished third at this Loudon race coming up last year.  I’ve got a win there.  I think we finished in the top 10 there in the spring (ninth) with a bad brake problem, so we’ve got great brakes now.  We took a brand new car to Richmond earlier this year.  That was the other top 10 you talked about.  We’re taking that car to Loudon this weekend.  We feel like we’re definitely gonna be a factor and certainly a top-five car this weekend at Loudon.  We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.”

HOW DO YOU HANDLE ALL OF THE CHASE EXCITEMENT TALK?  “Definitely coming into it we were a lot more optimistic than after the first race because we did come in leading the points by 12 points after the Richmond race and then they got re-set and we got bumped down to fifth.  So we go to the first race thinking, ‘We’re gonna be back on top.  This is gonna be a great track for us,’ and we come out of there with a 13th-place finish and fall three more spots.  But, like you said, it’s a very, very tight points battle going on right now, so we know a couple good finishes and we’re gonna be right back in the top three in points.  That’s what we need to do and, yes, you’re right, everywhere we go it’s about the Chase.  This is an exciting time for our sport and we just need to get back on track right now.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE THERE’S A BIG DIFFERENCE BEING AT THE TOP OF THE STANDINGS OR WHERE YOU ARE NOW, WHICH IS STILL IN STRIKING DISTANCE?  “Certainly there is, especially now since the Chase started because it really matters now.  Unfortunately, we’re not where we want to be at eighth in points.  I’m actually not looking at the number.  I elect to look at the amount of points back we are – 19 points – so I’m focusing on that more importantly than what position we’re actually in right now.  We know 19 points is a little ways to go.  That’s a couple of races to get back into the lead.  I picked up that many points when I won at Michigan, but those were extreme circumstances when the guy one point behind had engine problems, so we went in there one point out of the lead and left 19 points in the lead, so we need a miracle race like that to get back in the groove, but, more importantly, if we have a solid run at Loudon, I think we’re gonna be fine.”

IS THERE ANY SPECIFIC STRATEGY IN THE CHASE THAT TELLS YOU, ‘THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT?’  “Not really.  We all know that minimizing the bad days is the most important thing because when you have a good day, you have a good day.  You run up front, you challenge for the win, you finish third – those days are almost like normal days, if you will.  The bad day is when your shock breaks or you run out of gas or you miss the setup.  Those are the days that you have to persevere on and we did that at Chicago and finished 13th.  I think that’s gonna determine this Chase, versus how many good days you have.  It’s how you minimize the bad day.”

WOULD YOU SAY KESELOWSKI IS JUST AS DANGEROUS THIS WEEKEND AT LOUDON EVEN THOUGH HE’S ONLY RUN SIX RACES THERE WHILE MOST OF YOU GUYS HAVE RUN ABOUT 20?  “I think so because once you’ve been to a place four or five times, or six times, I won’t say you quit learning about the race track, but you pretty much know everything there is to know about that place.  So I would say once you’ve been there three or four times, you pretty much have experienced everything that track has to offer, so I would say under his experience level he’s run as many or more Nationwide races at that race track as well, so he definitely has the experience it takes and he will be tough this weekend.  They’re fast on these type of race tracks.”

ARE YOU MORE APT TO GO TO A DRIVER WHO DOES NOT HAVE A TEAMMATE IN THE CHASE COMPARED TO ONE WHO DOES?  “Not really.  To be perfectly honest with you, today we really look on the computer at what these other guys are doing versus going to talk to them because there’s more information on paper than there is you can get from the driver.  Before it used to be, ‘I’ve got a 900-pound spring.’  ‘Well, I’ve got an 850, but I put a little spring in it.’  Today, there are so many moving parts to this thing you have to look at the whole setup sheet and understand every bit of it to learn anything, so you look at their lap times, their setup, and their driver comments to try and digest what you need your car to do and what they did to their car to see if there’s anything you can apply to your car.  That’s really what it boils down to today, so it doesn’t really matter whether they’re in the Chase or not.”

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THOSE TRACKS THAT CAN BE HARD ON THE ENGINE?  “Definitely the throttle-on type of race tracks, so Charlotte and Texas, I see are the two engine type of race tracks coming up throughout the Chase.  So those race tracks are definitely places that the engine builders are a little bit on edge and so are the drivers about taking care of the components, parts and pieces – not only during practice and qualifying, but the race as well.”

CAN YOU GIVE US SOME COMMENTS ON THE THREE TRACKS COMING UP?  “I talked a little bit about Dover earlier.  We’ve been working very hard at Dover behind the scenes on the simulation and the seven-post, which we’re getting ready to go to work on, and kind of looking through what we’ve done in the past few races there.  So we’re trying to target Dover as a track we want to run better at because we feel we’ve slipped a little bit.  Talladega, everybody knows it’s a roll of the dice to see what happens.  You never know what you’re gonna be caught up in, how the finish is going to be.  The last few finishes have been four-wide, two cars deep, and Charlotte back under the lights is really a bread-and-butter track for us.  We feel really confident coming to Charlotte.  It’s our standard mile-and-a-half and it’s fun to be at home for a week, so we are really looking forward to those next three.”


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