Biffle prepares for fast Texas track

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion –

TEXAS IS A VERY FAST RACE TRACK. IS THE SENSATION OF SPEED AT THIS TRACK GREATER THAN DAYTONA OR TALLADEGA? “It is a little bit because things are closer to you – walls – and you’re just going down into corners so fast, there’s just so much more G-force on your body, on your cars, so you do feel like you’re going faster here. You think about it, it’s a smaller race track and faster than a two-and-a-half-mile track on a one-and-a-half-mile track, so certainly things are going by a lot quicker.”

JEFF BURTON TALKED TODAY ABOUT THE GRASS ON THE BACKSTRAIGHTAWAY AT POCONO AND THAT NOW IS THE TIME FOR SOMETHING TO BE DONE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? “Absolutely. He’s hit the nail on the head. We haven’t stopped addressing safety issues, but it seems like we have because they haven’t been topics. We had the Jeff Gordon crash at Las Vegas. We had Kentucky crashes just like that a couple of years in a row. Those are issues that we need to address, and the paving at Pocono – we saw Junior and Steve Park, and then Jeff Green, and who’s going to be the next guy? We’ve got to start making an effort to do something about that. There, it’s so simple because it’s just simply paving, hardly any grading, hardly any kind of work involved, it’s not building structure, it’s just simple pavement on the ground.”

IS THAT THE MOST OBVIOUS RACE TRACK THAT NEEDS HELP? “I would say that that’s one of them. There are other race tracks that the SAFER barriers on the inside of the walls and the openings are, I think, our next enemy, if you will. About every race track has an opening; it’s how it’s constructed – it’s not if they have an opening, because you’ve got to get safety vehicles out on to the surface, so it’s how they’re constructed we need to look at, and then the SAFER barriers on the inside of the walls. That’s the key right now.”

RYAN NEWMAN TALKED ABOUT HAVING A WALL ON THE FRONTSTRETCH TO PROTECT THE PIT CREW. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT IDEA? “There are a lot of things that I agree with safety-wise. What happens – and, like I said, the Jeff Gordon crash, I keep going back to that – people, drivers and crew guys, people get hurt on freak accidents, not the normal blew-the-right-front-tire-and-went-in-the-fence. That stuff happens. Or, spinout. What happens is the guy got hooked wrong, just at the right time, the car got turned, couldn’t steer it, at the exact wrong spot at the wrong angle. Or a guy will have an axel break, or a ball joint or something, going down the frontstretch in qualifying. When you have 30 cars lined up and people standing all around not paying attention – absolutely it can happen. Is it likely? No. It’s not likely, but it can happen. And it’s weird – you go stand out there when they’re qualifying and watch how fast they’re coming by, you’re not going to out-run that stuff. And, NASCAR’s gotten better about Daytona, all crew guys staying on the inside, but, still, you hit something at 180, another car, it’s going to go a long ways. It’s would to be hard – the problem is you’re going to create more of a safety issue by doing that, for the competitor, simply because there’s no way, you’re going to have a butt-end wall down here, getting on to pit road that we’re traveling 200 miles an hour, there’s no way that you’re possibly going to protect that from the driver’s point of view. You think about how many people spin through the grass here, Las Vegas, Atlanta, all those places. Daytona. Daytona, we’re always in that grass. There’s no way that you could put a wall in there to protect the guys down on pit road, and you’re going to hurt drivers, for sure.”

SHOULD THERE BE GRASS AT ANY TRACK? WHY NOT PAVE IT AND PAINT IT GREEN? “Yeah, artificial grass or something with some paving underneath it or whatever the case is, yeah, that would probably be much safer.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS PRACTICE TODAY WITH THE NEW CAR ON THIS TRACK FOR THE FIRST TIME? “It’s really important. We need to get out on this track. A little bit different tire construction here. Same compound, I believe, but a little bit different construction aspect of the tire. So, it’s certainly going to be advantageous, as much track time as we can get.”

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT HERE WITH THIS CAR THIS WEEKEND? “I expect real normal, like Las Vegas or Atlanta was. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Obviously, Atlanta we had the tire issue with the harder tire, but I feel like here it’s going to be pretty straight forward. Really no issues.” DO YOU EXPECT GOOD RACING? “Oh, yeah. I expect good racing. You’ll race up and down the race track, two- and three-wide. This place widens out. I think we’re going to see good racing.

WHAT DO YOU SAY THE RACE FAN WHO WATCHED THE ATLANTA RACE AND HEARD ABOUT ALL OF THE GRIPING AND COMPLAINING? CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO THE RACE FANS WHY THEY WON’T SEE THAT AGAIN THIS WEEKEND? “Real simple. We’ve got a different tire for here. A softer compound tire. This tire is going to have more grip. I’m speaking a little out of context here, but I was on this tire at Darlington. This tire was great. This tire was too soft for Darlington. I don’t think it’s going to be too hard for here. I just don’t think that. I think this is going to be a good tire.”

YOU HAVE SAID THEY’RE CLOSE TO RE-SIGNING WITH ROUSH FENWAY RACING, BUT CHILDRESS RACING DOES HAVE A FOURTH CAR AVAILABLE. DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A CANDIDATE FOR THAT CAR? “I don’t really see that being an alternative for me. One thing a guy’s got to look at is you’re third in points and got a chance to make the chase right now, running fairly well, and to go to a team that has no points and then try and qualify for the Daytona 500, go to Las Vegas and California and try to qualify on time, dodge the rainouts like we’ve seen all these teams struggle to get in the top 35, I don’t see that as a smart career move for myself. Now, is Childress a good organization, they’ve got great cars, great people? Sure, they do have that. And you can say the same about Gibbs or any of the other teams. Simply from going to third in the points, or whatever you would be at the end of the season, to not being locked in – if you miss two races, you’re going to have to qualify the whole season. The engine blows up. You didn’t make the Daytona 500 and it rained out in California and you didn’t get in. That happened this year. It happens again, you’re trying to climb out of a hole for the whole season, and you’re a championship- or a chase-caliber driver now you find yourself in a bad situation. So, those are things to consider when you’re in my situation – would that be something that I’d be willing to walk that tightrope on? And, anybody’s got to make that decision.”