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Greg Biffle Wins at Texas
BIFFLE BACK IN VICTORY LANE
• Greg Biffle won his 17th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race tonight.
• The win marks his second career Sprint Cup win at Texas Motor Speedway.
• The victory is the second of the season for Ford.
• The win is the first of the season for Biffle.
• The win is the 127th all-time NSCS win for Roush Fenway Racing.
• The win marked the 607th career Cup victory for Ford.
GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 Filtrete Ford – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW
WELCOME BACK. IT HAS BEEN AWHILE SINCE YOU MADE THIS TRIP TO VICTORY LANE. “Yeah but I know right where it is at. I have been here before. I tell you what, these guys did a great job in the pits and adjusting on the car all day. I can’t thank everybody enough for sticking behind the 3M 16 car. The fans that have supported us all the way. It is so exciting to get Ford and 3M and everybody that has been such a supporter back here to victory lane.”
WHAT DID YOU FIND IN THAT LAST RUN WHEN YOU BLEW PAST JOHNSON? “I just dug deep. I knew I had to do it and I kept trying and trying and trying. I knew the team would forgive me if I wrecked it trying to beat him so I just gave it all I had.”
HOW SATISFYING IS IT TO PICK UP THIS SECOND COWBOY HAT? “Very satisfying. I cannot wait and I am so excited about what Texas Motor Speedway does for the fans and drivers here in the celebration.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 17 Best Buy Ford
WERE YOU ABOUT ONE OR TWO ADJUSTMENTS AWAY FROM MAKING THE CAR A WINNING RACE CAR? “No. I don’t think so. We couldn’t quite figure it out with our Best Buy Ford. We ran pretty good in the beginning. There were a couple of runs that I was better than Greg and passed him and I could see he was loose. He got his car fixed and we could never fix ours. We could never get it right, I was just hanging on there.” HOW SURPRISED WERE YOU WE ONLY HAD TWO CAUTIONS TONIGHT? “Not shocked. We get a lot of green flag racing here. It didn’t shock me. It was hard to drive a car by yourself. It is pretty slick out there.”
CARL EDWARDS, No. 99 Fastenal Ford
YOU GOT AN 8TH PLACE FINISH OUT OF THAT – “Did we have a caution after we had that lug nut problem? I don’t think there was another caution was there? First off, congrats to Greg Biffle and 3M. A Ford in victory lane is huge. That is kind of fun racing like that. I don’t know what it is like to watch but as a race car driver that is neat to run the whole race. A caution would have helped us. We had a very fast race car. An eighth place finish after having to go to the end of the field, from the back to eighth under green I am proud of that. I am excited to go to Kansas.”
WHAT WAS THE WIND LIKE OUT THERE? “The car handles a little different on each lap with the wind blowing like that. It made it interesting and made you think a lot. Hopefully we can get a victory at Kansas for Fastenal and for our Ford team. These Fords are fast right now. It is pretty cool to see these cars running this well.”
DID YOU HAVE TO THINK A LOT ABOUT WHERE TO RUN ON THE TRACK BECAUSE OF THE WIND? “It is interesting. You drive down in the corner and you are worried about the car and balance and all this stuff and you feel a gust of wind but you never really know if it is the wind. I had to ask Jason if the wind was blowing harder or gusting. It was another variable. It was fun. This is a fun race track. Sliding around like that and having to manhandle the car like that for 500 miles was a blast.”
ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 43 Smithfield Ford (Finished 22nd)
“We were loose in all night. The car was really loose, but we got better in the middle of the race. Then it went back to loose. We just couldn’t get the car the way we needed it, but it wasn’t too bad. Just not as good as we needed tonight.”
GREG BIFFLE POST RACE WINNERS PRESS CONFERENCE
GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 3M/Filtrete Ford Fusion – YOU GOT THE WIN, YOU HAVE A 19 POINT LEAD GOING INTO NEXT WEEK, AND YOU HAVE SECURED A SPOT IN THE 2012 NASCAR SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE. “Man, that is a whole lot of stuff that just happened. I tell you what, I could say it is about time but hard work pays off still today. That is what this is about. The team and Matt Puccia putting together the group of guys he has and the engine shop with how hard they have worked with the fuel injection and engines and all that. I am thankful to get the opportunity to drive these cars as fast as they are. We knew it was a matter of time and we were going to win one of these things. We have been running so good. We’ve had good pit stops and good cars. At Vegas we were off a little bit and that ate at us a little because that is a good track for us. We came here and really focused on our car to get it driving good. I tell you what, catching the 48 car at the end, I had to dig deep and it was all I had to be able to get to him. It seemed like when I got to him that it was almost too easy. I don’t know if he used up his tires or what. He had a little trouble in traffic and that is why I could close in on him. Overall it was a really good night for us.”
JACK ROUSH, Owner Roush Fenway Racing – THIS IS THE THIRD TIME ROUSH FENWAY RACING HAS SWEPT THE NATIONWIDE AND CUP RACES IN THE SAME WEEKEND. YOU HAVE QUITE THE COLLECTION OF COWBOY HATS. “It is my pleasure and honor to be able to share the moment with Matt and Greg here. I realize how hard they have worked and the path that Greg and Matt have both taken individually to get where they are in the business to be able to win a race at this level. They both worked hard for it and they don’t take it for granted and assume that it is easy anymore than I do. We had the opportunity to test a great tire here with Greg earlier in the year and the tire that Greg helped Goodyear develop was a factor in the fact there was so little trouble in the race tonight. I was not surprised that it went as many caution-free laps as it did. I think somebody brought it to my attention that there wasn’t a single wreck tonight. That is unprecedented but it is a testament to how well the cars throughout the field are prepared and how well they are driven and what a good tire they’ve got. We are real happy to be part of the Ford program and to share with Fords engineers the understanding of the automotive principles that are involved in getting these cars right. For my part, you indicated this is the third time we’ve had a sweep. I don’t know if this is my last sweep or not but I am going to remember this one for awhile.”
MATT PUCCIA, Crew Chief No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – TALK ABOUT THE SUCCESS YOU’VE HAD WITH GREG THIS SEASON. “It is everybody involved. At the end of last season we sat down and established what our weaknesses were and what we needed to work on and we went to work. Robbie Reiser has done a lot for us and this team and we assembled a good team here. We went to work on our cars and it has shown. We started the season off and are running really good and the team is focused and ready to go into the rest of the season.”
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – THAT REALLY GOT STRUNG OUT FOR MOST OF THE RACE. WERE YOU WORRIED YOU MIGHT NOT CATCH THE 48 BECAUSE THE CAR OUT FRONT SEEMED TO HAVE SUCH AN ADVANTAGE? “Yeah, I was worried about that. I closed in on him a bunch on the pit stop. I beat him to pit road for the final stop of the day and I closed in on him a little bit. When we got back going again I decided to tighten my car a little bit more and it started getting a little free at the end of that run. I knew it was going to be tough so I knew we were close on fuel and for about eight or 10 laps there I took care of my tires a little bit. Somebody leaned in my window before the race started and told me a story about what a driver did before to win here and I just thought about it and I thought that I could save a little tire and it was going to be a long run at the end of the rest of the day and I was little short on fuel so I kind of lifted a little early and let the car run down in the corner. When he started catching a little traffic that is when I started going and I pushed as hard as I could and was driving the thing sideways around the corner trying to catch him. I could tell I was catching him and he had a little trouble with traffic so that was the combination. I was closing in on him pretty good and then he started catching those guys that he was going to pass. I think he just slid up off the bottom and got loose getting in. I was able to turn under him and get the left front down and put the power down. I was surprised I didn’t have to deal with him any more though. I thought he would be right there, and he was a little bit. My car drove so different out front. It was a little more free and I made some mistakes there early and had to adjust my driving style a little bit for being out front like that. Then I was able to pull away from him.”
YOUR TEAM HAD TO BE PRETTY MUCH FLAWLESS AND THAT HASN’T ALWAYS BEEN THE CASE FOR YOU THE LAST COUPLE YEARS. WHAT DOES THAT SAY? “That gives me huge confidence. I knew that from about the third race that these guys that Matt has put together we kind of held the handcuffs on them a little last year until we got to the end of the season. He revamped the entire team over the winter and I really like my guys. They are doing a great job. They are really focused and they all work really hard and they care about this team and that is good to have. There is a lot of energy, no matter how we run, they are pumped up and that means a lot. You are right, there weren’t any mistakes. I almost got caught speeding coming on pit road two stops to the end. I had an axle hopping pretty bad and was a little sideways and had to slow down in the zone and try to get some time back. I will be curious to look at the lap time and see what I was in that section. I think I slowed down quite a bit. You are right. We had to be perfect and that is what we did.”
YOU HAD TO SMILE WHEN YOU SAY JIMMIE HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE TRAFFIC AND THEN YOU FLEW PAST HIM. “Yeah, I was foaming at the mouth. When you haven’t won in a long time and you’ve got a guy, it doesn’t even matter who it was. If it was the five time champion or what. I was driving my heart out. I was doing all I could do. I kept moving up the track, down the track, up the track. I found a little something with about 40 to go down in three and four where I saw the 48 putting his left front tire on the race track and I drove across there one time and I found some grip right there and so I started driving that line and started closing in on him instantly. He was beating me down there most the night and that was probably line sensitive. I didn’t pick up on it until late. I kept moving around until I found something. I could beat him down in one and two all the time but in three and four he would kill me across there. I was a little loose in and slide the nose and the wind kept blowing the car off turn four. I would watch him and he was smooth as a sail. I knew his car was a little better than mine but I kept putting pressure on him and that is what it took. I drove up behind him getting in the corner down there and his car was loose and it moved up and gave me the opening.”
MATT PUCCIA CONTINUED – COULD YOU REFLECT ON YOUR PROGRESSION AT ROUSH FENWAY FROM THE TRUCK SERIES TO THIS WIN AND YOUR ANTICIPATION GOING TO KANSAS WHERE YOU AND YOUR GUY COULD VERY WELL WIN TWO IN A ROW. “Jack gave me this opportunity in the truck series and I got my first win with Roush in 2008 with Eric Darnell and it has been a great progression with the company. I have been really fortunate for Jack and Robbie and everyone giving me this opportunity. Looking ahead to this season and what we have built and what we have in front of us with great race tracks coming. Kansas and Richmond and Talladega and Darlington, we look ahead and there is not one race we can’t go and run good and be in contention to win every week. I am looking forward to getting going on this next part of this stint here.”
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NEEDED A WIN TO VALIDATE YOUR PLACE AT THE TOP OF THE STANDINGS? “It certainly doesn’t hurt. I think that you could look at the way our season has started unfortunately how Daytona finished for us and how we ran at Phoenix and Vegas. Bristol really wasn’t a good race for us to grade us on. We had a bump stop fail at Bristol and we probably would have finished fifth at Bristol. That race aside, we have run really strong and probably deserve to be at the top. Martinsville, arguable we should have been in the top-10. We missed a couple opportunities to get the lucky dog and the field didn’t get realigned properly. Out of all the races yeah, but to win like this and put a bunch of ground on the guys behind us certainly makes a statement I think for all the people that were wondering if this was kind of a fluke that we were still leading the points this far in.”
HOW HAVE YOU PERSEVERED OVER 49 WINLESS RACES GIVEN THE SUCCESS MATT AND CARL HAVE HAD LATELY? “It will wear on you. It will take years off your life. I’ve probably lost several. You know what? I’ve been doing this deal a long time and what kept me going or what keeps your spirit up is when you run good. You lead laps and qualify good or run good or are leading a race and you have stop because you can’t make it on fuel. Or you put two tires on and everyone else takes four. Or you stay out and everybody pits behind you and you get waxed. Eventually you are going to win again. When you can’t run very good, when you are running in the 20’s and aren’t fast and competitive, then there is time to worry about how you are going to win. If you are running 20th and that is the best you can run then you aren’t going to win. What has given me confidence over the last 49 races is that we have run good, we just hadn’t finished. That is why we didn’t make the Chase last year. We ran plenty good enough, no matter what we did we couldn’t finish compared to where we had run. That has been the difference this year. Matt makes the right decisions on pit road and makes the right calls and the team doesn’t make mistakes and has the cars prepared right and we are qualifying better and all those things. That is what keeps you going. I have been where I won six or nine in a season and you cherish those moments because you don’t know when the next one will be.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – “I ditto that. In my case I count a race whether it is good or bad by how many small victories I can find in it. If the pit stops are good, if the decisions are good, if the engine ran good or if the driver did a great job recovering from some adversity I consider that a win. On the other hand, if we break a part or miss an opportunity then I consider that a loss and I take that to heart. Through the drought as I think of it there was a lot of encouragement. We didn’t come back and find that we needed to revolutionize or to replace and tear up our hardware package. It was really an unusual thing when we went after the team the way we did last year and said that we just have great people but weren’t working together as well as they needed to and needed to organize differently. That was a rarity that we do that but it was the key to getting the momentum we’ve got going right now.”
MATT PUCCIA CONTINUED -- WHAT DO YOU THINK FINALLY GETTING A WIN WITH CAN DO FOR YOUR PROGRAM AND DO YOU FEEL MORE EXCITED OR RELIEF RIGHT NOW? “There are so many emotions going through me right now. Excitement definitely. I can’t say enough how much everyone on this whole team has worked to get to where we are at today. It is momentum. It is going to keep us going into this next little bit.”
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – “I tell you what, it has been 49 races like they said and it has been documented since I won. I don’t find more satisfaction in getting guys their first win than anything. I am so happy for Matt. He has worked so hard and he is a great guy and has great character and works and his life is about racing. He has worked his way up from the truck series and his first time as a full time crew chief he is leading the points and now has his first win. There are some of the guys on the team, Richie the car chief where this is his first full time Cup deal. He came from the Nationwide shop. You look at the experience level and depth of this team and it is not very deep compared to some of these teams out here. These guys are doing a phenomenal job with the tools they have and taking advantage of the tools they have. I wanted to win more for Matt than for myself. I know I hadn’t won in a long time but I wanted to get a win for him.”
MATT PUCCIA CONTINUED - ALL NIGHT LONG YOU GUYS WERE GOING 42, 43 LAPS ON FUEL RUNS. WAS THAT JUST EVERYBODY BEING SUPER CONSERVATIVE BECAUSE YOU RAN 50 AT THE END. “Yeah, it's just the tire falloff was so much. Goodyear brought a great tire, but some of the Toyotas weren't getting the fuel mileage we were getting and they has to stop that much shorter, which forced our hand a little bit to have to stop and that's why we stopped. We got down to that last run there and there was such a small window we had to get into 282 there. But the first we'd go was 284. So it was a really small window, but we had to press that issue there at the end.”
MATT, LAST NIGHT YOU KIND OF PEEKED YOUR HEAD INTO THE MEDIA CENTER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NATIONWIDE RACE. WERE YOU LOST OR SOMETHING, OR WERE YOU JUST KIND OF GETTING AN EYE ON WHERE YOU MIGHT BE SITTING TONIGHT? “Yeah, I was just trying to find out where my seat was going to be. No, actually I stayed for the Nationwide race last night to see what I could learn there on the tire that we had there and what the wears were looking like, and actually my ride was in here, so that's why I came in here.”
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED- GREG, COULD YOU SHARE A LITTLE BIT MORE DETAIL ABOUT THE STORY YOU WERE TOLD BEFORE THE RACE, AND DID THEY TELL YOU THAT WITH ABOUT 20 TO GO JIMMIE HAD HIT THE WALL? “Yeah. Well, this goofy guy leaned in the window and told me that Ricky last night was, they were having right front tire trouble so he kind of took care of his tire there on the last run of the day and felt like that's what made the difference for him, was able to beat those guys on those restarts, kind of saved him a little bit. You think about that as a driver, and I would have probably done that anyway, but I knew my only chance of beating the 48 was to get him at the end. You know, I wasn't going to catch him right there. He was a little better I could beat him on new tires for about four laps, then he'd beat me for a while, and then like lap 15 or 20 I could reel him back in, so it was really give and take. I thought I'm going to take care of this a little bit and try to be easy on it, push the gas down real slow and not try to get the car sideways where it would take life out of the tires. So just really tried to not give up distance to him but tried to be real smooth and real easy on the tire. That only lasted for about five or eight laps and I got tired of that, so I started driving as hard as I could to catch him. I could see where I could catch him, and I moved around the racetrack and found a spot in 3 and 4 that, like I said, I could do a little better down there, and that's really what I needed. I can't remember what else you asked me.
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED: “You can't imagine how hard it is to say something that's interesting and relevant to one of these drivers before the race starts. They've got their head on something else when they get ready to go. They generally look at me when I walk up to them and say, here he is again, what's he going to say tonight?”
GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED: GREG, YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHY THIS RACE WAS SO CLEAN. “You know, this tire made the cars drive a little bit better. The cars I say the cars drove better, but they slid a lot on the racetrack. I mean, it was very hard to drive tonight with the wind blowing the cars around and the way the cars slide. It's hard to object this size of track, once it runs green for a while, it gets spread out, and the cars get so aero tight or aero sensitive when they're around other cars, you typically don't run in packs. You know, I'm surprised that somebody didn't get sideways or underneath somebody because that can happen when these cars are sliding around a lot. I almost hit a lap car tonight because he pointed me to the bottom and I'm loose in, and I thought that he was going to leave me more than just one lane. He left me one lane, and that was it, and I that's when I was running second earlier in the race, and I jammed on the brakes because I was going to wreck. There was just no way I was going to turn down in that I was right on him, and he let out of the gas, and I started to turn and my car started to get sideways, and I knew I wasn't getting in that hole under him. The cars are getting better. The teams are getting better. And you know, people are just crashing less, I guess. Tony wrecked in practice if that's any consolation. I mean, I don't know. I came close a few times tonight, but I am surprised that nobody made a mistake, you know.”
SO THE WIND WAS NO FACTOR? “The wind was a huge factor, yeah. The wind was hard. That's probably why nobody wrecked because everybody was so I got a hole wore in my hand from holding onto the steering wheel. It was tough. The wind was blowing you all over the place. I was swatting flies all night long. The wind was blowing the car back and forth and over. That could be a factor in why there was no accidents. You would think that would cause one. Well, it made it so you couldn't really race side by side with a guy. I was nervous coming off Turn 2. I wouldn't run up on a guy coming off the corner like I normally would. I'd leave more room because I wasn't sure when the wind was going to blow my car one way or another. It kind of gives up sight for us coming off the corner and then it would quit. I was cautious when I was around cars, and I think probably everybody else was tonight.”
WITH ABOUT TWO OR THREE LAPS LEFT I THINK YOU ASKED YOUR SPOTTER IF THAT WAS THE 48 IN YOUR REAR VIEW MIRROR AND HE WAS ABOUT THREE SECONDS BEHIND. WERE YOU IMAGINING EVERY WORST CASE SCENARIO AND HEARING EVERY CREAK IN THE CAR AT THAT POINT? “I never looked at the track the last three laps, I just watched the fuel pressure gauge, so I was just concentrating on that. But what I wanted to do was run as slow as I could but not let the 48 catch me, and so if that was the 48, I wanted to keep an eye on him and start running slower and slower and slower and watch his progression, you know, how close he was getting to me. So I just wanted to know if that was him or not. I didn't think it was, but I wanted to make sure, I wanted to verify that wasn't him. I was pretty sure it wasn't, but I just wanted to make sure. And it kind of spooks you when you can't see him because you would like to be able to look up and judge where he's at and keep slowing down. I was trying to save some fuel in the last five laps, so I didn't want to try and push hard and pass the 18 and the 11. About the last ten laps or whatever, I just kind of backed off a little bit because the 48 wasn't coming. They told me that he got in the fence. I was just praying that there was no debris and there wasn't going to be a caution because I didn't want to come and put tires on again and try with a bunch of wolves around me with four new tires. I was comfortable with the lead I had and I was hoping that there wouldn't be a caution.”
YOU MADE IT LOOK SO EASY WINNING THE TRUCK CHAMPIONSHIP AND THE NATIONWIDE CHAMPIONSHIP, AND WE'VE TALKED OVER THE YEARS ABOUT YOU BECOMING THE FIRST GUY TO GET NASCAR'S TRIPLE CROWN. DID YOU EVER THINK IT WAS GOING TO BE SO HARD TO GET THAT NEXT ONE? DID IT SEEM SO MUCH EASIER THAN IT APPEARS TO BE NOW? “You know, when I moved from the Truck Series to Nationwide, it was a huge step. It was much, much harder. And when I moved from the Nationwide to the Cup Series, I had no idea that the competition was going to be what it was. I knew it was going to be hard. But man, it's tough, and there's a lot of great drivers in this sport and a lot of good equipment. But I knew it was going to be hard. But this year is my year, so I'm going to keep after it all the way to Homestead.”
GREG, THE LAST 234 LAPS WENT WITHOUT A CAUTION. WERE THERE TIMES WHERE YOU WERE HOPING FOR A CAUTION AND THEN WERE THERE TIMES WHEN YOU WERE SAYING, OH, GOSH, PLEASE, NO CAUTION? IT SEEMS KIND OF CRAZY THAT YOU COULD GO THAT LONG WITHOUT ONE. “Yeah, it does. You know, you get going inside the car and you don't realize it's been that long. You come with a green flag pit stop and you go and you just don't think about it when you're in there, I guess. So I didn't really realize it had been that long. But I could have used a caution a few times to work on the car, but certainly once I got by the 48 I was praying for no caution. And before I got to the 48 I was hoping there was a caution so I could restart up beside him and try and race him for position. But you know, once I ran him down and passed him, I was praying that there wasn't going to be a caution.”
GOING FROM THIS MILE AND A HALF TO THE MILE AND A HALF AT KANSAS THAT YOU'VE WON TWICE, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR MINDSET NOW? “Yeah. You know, a couple things I was hoping for. One, I was hoping to be the points leader when I left Martinsville and go on vacation for a week off, and that came true, and then I was hoping my best opportunity to win was going to be Texas and Kansas were the next two racetracks. I knew I had to tough it out through Martinsville, and I believe that we can win at Martinsville in the near future. But I thought here and Kansas would be two racetracks that stuck out. Talladega anything can happen; Richmond. But here and Kansas, so hopefully I'll make it two for two. I feel really good about next week, I really do.”