Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is in eighth place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings heading into this weekend’s race. Biffle’s best career finish in five career starts at Infineon Raceway is fourth (2006).
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “I really like this race track. It’s fun to go road racing a couple of times a year. We weren’t that fast this morning. We were, it looked like, 28th or so on the sheet – just didn’t get a good qualifying effort in. Ran some pretty good race-trim laps, but when we switch over to qualifying we haven’t been able to find the speed we need yet. So, I think we’ll be able to improve that, probably not more than we did last year – we qualified 16th last week, it looks like we’re going to be around that general area again. But, I feel pretty good about the car. Ran some decnt laps and stayed consistent. I think that’s a good part of it.” UPDATE ON HIS CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS. “We’re really close to having it done – I’ve said that for a while now – but I think we’re just to the point where we’ve got to get, I think Geoff [Smith] was out of town this week and I’m going to be out of town next week, but I’m going to be in town for a day, so I think that we’re down to just getting it signed, more than anything. I think we’ve worked out all of the finance details on it, so I imagine we’ll have a press conference in Loudon next week. That’s what I’m planning on.” MORE ON THE CONTRACT. “It’s done yet. Anything can happen. The wheels can fall off of anything, I suppose. I’ll be excited to get it done and behind me. That’ll put me at Roush Fenway for 13 years, at the end of that contract. That’s a long time to be with an organization. We’ve got good cars. We’ve worked really hard, they’re working really hard – everybody is. We want to win the championship this year, that’s what our goal is – that’s everybody’s goal, all teams are. But, we really feel like we’re that close, that small percentage all the way around to just get us a little bit better and I think we’re going to be right there in the hunt. But, I do think that we’re going to get it done and behind me.” WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE LOOSE WHEELS WITH YOUR CARS THIS YEAR? “We had a wheel stud and lugnut. We switched manufacturers – I did not know of; not that they need my approval anyway, but I just didn’t know that the hardware, the product had switched on the car. And, we weren’t the only car with loose wheels in our organization. Matt had a loose wheel in the Nationwide race, we had a loose wheel at Texas. The 6 had loose wheels at the Showdown. They torqued the wheels prior to the event, and after the race the wheels were loose – they never had a pit stop. So, that just goes to show you what can happen when hardware isn’t mating up properly. So, it took a lot of work to research what that was, and I don’t know exactly what they found, but I know that they switched some of the hardware around and cured it. So, we’re happy that that’s behind us. Definitely.” YOU’VE BEEN SAYING FOR WEEKS THAT YOUR CONTRACT IS ALMOST DONE. ARE TEAMS STILL COMING TO YOU? ARE YOU STILL GOING TO TEAMS? “I haven’t bene talking to other teams as of recently because we’ve been focused on getting this done with Roush Fenway. But, the phone still does ring, is what I’m saying, every once in a while. People are inquiring about what we’re doing, more than anything. So, we tell them that we’re signing a deal with Roush Fenway – don’t tell them that – but we’re signing a deal with them coming up here in the next couple of weeks. That’s what we’re working towards. That’s what we we’ve been working towards the entire time, is doing an extension. I just want to make a comment about how, I guess, flattered I am from the teams that have at least made the phone call and inquired about my future was going to be. I respect all those race teams and team guys in this sport greatly. And I’m really blessed and lucky to have the opportunities that I do right now, and I feel like I want to stay driving the 16 car, so that’s the decision I’m going to make.” THE WAY THIS RACE WORKS, GENERALLY, IS IF YOU QUALIFY WELL, YOU RACE WELL. IS THERE A QUALIFYING NUMBER YOU’RE LOOKING AT IN WHICH THIS BECOMES A THREE-STOP INSTEAD OF TWO STOP RACE? AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FACTORS THAT GO INTO THAT? “That’s a great question. That just tells you how technical this race track is, because there is a lot to that. I don’t focus on that as much; I let [Greg] Erwin and the guys doing the fuel mileage and everything try and focus on that more. I try to worry about staying on the race track, not skidding the tires and running into anything, so that’s about all I can handle.. But you are right. There are strategies. Where you qualify, the complexity of the race can change very easily. Last year we qualified 16th; I think 20th place is a big mark of where you qualify. We were 28th earlier this morning, if I can pick that up maybe 10 spots or possibly a little more, that would be a great qualifying position. But, that’s a good question. I don’t have a good answer for you on that.” SO FAR THIS YEAR, AT LEAST THREE DRIVERS HAVE HAD HOT STREAKS – INCLUDING YOUR TEAMMATE, CARL EDWARDS. YOU’VE BEEN CLOSE TO WINNING A COUPLE OF TIMES. DO YOU SEE YOUR TEAM WINNING A RACE AND THEN GOING ON ONE OF THOSE STREAKS? “Yeah, I really do. I think we’re kind of on our own streak. We’re not getting into Victory Lane, but we ran really good at Darlington and then we had two good races at Charlotte, good finishes, went on to Dover with a good finish, sat on the pole. So, we’re kind of on a good streak. Granted, Michigan didn’t turn out like we wanted. We had a faster car than 20th place. We know we’re going to rebound from that. We’re going to not let that bother us. We got the hose hung up. We looked at what happened and how we can avoid that in the future. All of us sat down and looked at it and I think it’s an isolated incident. You’re right; I feel like we can get on that deal and win some races. But, if we continued to knock off those top-five finishes, and keep us up in there in the top – I’d feel better about being in the top six in the points where we were, than eighth, but as long as we stay up there in the points.” CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EFFORTS IN TRYING TO HELP THE PEOPLE IN THE MIDWEST RECOVER? “It’s an on-going thing with 3M and American Red Cross. 3M put the Red Cross back on the TV panel of the car for the next four weeks with the 1-800 number. I was reading the USA Today this morning, and it’s amazing the amount of devastation in that area. And I think we all need to pitch in and do our part to try and help all those folks. It’s just so overwhelming. It’s kind of like Hurricane Katrina all over again, only different. It seems like almost the same magnitude or worse. I’m excited for 3M and American Red Cross. They’ve become good partners, and, hopefully, with the race car they can get that word out there for all the folks to kind of pitch in.” IS HEAT AN ISSUE THIS WEEKEND? “It’s definitely an issue. It is hot inside those cars. I can’t really say that this car is any hotter than the old car, unless you brought the old car out here for me to run 10 laps in and then let me run 10 laps in that one. I just don’t know. It feels hot. The old car feels hot. The new car feels hot. But it is going to be hot. I remember a couple of years ago, last year wasn’t so bad, a few years ago it was like this, and there were some guys having trouble sitting in the seat, getting hot. I’ll tell you, my gas-pedal foot is burning up, you know, hot. That’s one of the first for me in a long time, to have my foot hot. Definitely you’re feet are hot inside the car The car’s hot everywhere, and it will be an issue.” DO YOU THINK THIS YEAR’S CHAMPION IS GOING TO BE SOMEONE WHO WINS FOUR OR FIVE RACES IN THE CHASE, BUT MAYBE HAS A COUPLE OF DNF’S, OR WILL IT BE SOMEONE WHO GOES THROUGH AND DOES MAYBE NINE TOP-FIVES AND ONE TOP-10? IS IT GOING TO BE SPEED OR CONSISTENCY? “You know, it’s so hard to predict what the future is going to bring, but certainly consistency over the years has been the best. Whoever has been the most consistent week after week has been typically been the one to prevail. We made a huge jump in the points, and we hadn’t won a race – just being real, real consistent. The main thing is not having a 40th-place finish in this race. That’s the biggest thing. The guy that can avoid that 43rd-place finish and runs in the top 10, I think is going to be the guy that comes out on the deal. I don’t think that fours wins and he crashes twice is going to make it happen.”