Biffle Wins First ...

Chase Race Of 2008; Edwards Assumes Championship Lead

Greg Biffle won Sunday's Sylvania 300 and moved into third place in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup while teammate Carl Edwards posted a third-place race finish to takeover the championship lead with nine races remaining.

Greg Biffle won his 13th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and first at NHMS.

·        Biffle becomes the first Ford driver other than Carl Edwards to win a Sprint Cup race in 2008.

·        Ford has now won seven races in 2008, equaling last year’s total with nine races remaining.

·        Ford has now won 588 all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion –

VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – WERE YOU HOLDING BACK ON BRAKES AND FUEL?  “Yeah, I was.  This Turbo HD Ford really wanted to go, but I was holding back at the end there – at the middle part of that run – and then we got those cautions thankfully.  That’s what my plan was inside the car – close us up to Jimmie Johnson and get me a shot at him.  I was a little better than him on that short run.  He was a little bit loose and I knew it, but I just want to say we’re thinking of all the fans going through Hurricane Ike.  I just want to thank everybody – 3M and Dish Network – Jackson Hewitt supported us this year.” 

KANSAS WAS A WHILE AGO.  HOW DOES THIS FEEL?  “I can’t describe it.  I needed a lot of help to get here and all these guys behind me and the engine department, everybody has just given me so much help and support.  All of my friends and family at home just keep telling us we can do it.  One other guy that’s not here told me we can do it and I’m gonna try.” 

NOT MANY PICKED YOU AS A CONTENDER.  “The horse rode today, didn’t it.”

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Ford. Drive one. Ford Fusion (Finished 41st) – “Somebody wrecked in front of me and the track was blocked.  I got into Matt, but the track was blocked.  It’s a bummer because the Drive one Fusion was not bad today.  We were holding our own and was kind of moving up the longer the race went, but it was just unfortunate there.  I don’t know.  I heard that Hornish maybe got on the inside and got into somebody, but I didn’t see it.  It’s just a terrible way to end our day.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion (Finished 40th) – “I’m fine.  That was a couple of hard hits there, the hardest I’ve hit in a while.  That’s not the way we wanted to go out with our Carhartt Fusion.  All of the guys were doing a really good job.  We had good pit stops, good strategy, good adjustments today.  We didn’t have much to work with.  We were really slow today and overnight they made the car a lot better.  We weren’t gonna be a factor to win, but we were gonna get a decent finish out of it anyway and try to go onto next week.  This isn’t the time to have it happen, but those things happen.” 

 IT WAS FIVE WIDE.  “Yeah, it was pretty crazy.  Everybody makes mistakes.  I know I’ve made my share and caused my share of wrecks, so you hate to ever point fingers at anybody, but, yeah, it was crazy.  There were some of the lap cars that, instead of being in one line or instead of being three-wide, were trying to be three-wide with one of the lead lap cars outside of them.  I saw somebody, I don’t know if it was the 45 or who it was get into three pretty deep and pretty low on the track and get into the first car and that seemed to start it.” 

HOW BIG OF A HOLE IS THIS WITH NINE TO GO?  “You just kind of take it one week at a time.  We’ve got to get running better.  Today, we were gonna salvage something decent, I thought, after not much of a Friday and Saturday, so we’ve just got to keep working and get our performance better.  We just really have to approach it one week at a time and work as hard as we can every week to get our cars better.  If we can get our cars better and run up front, most of the time things like this won’t happen.  If we would have been up running where Greg and Carl were running, we wouldn’t have got wrecked to start with, so I always feel it’s partially your fault.  Even though we got caught up in somebody else’s mess, if we would have been running better, we would have been ahead of their mess.” 

TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 28 Valvoline Ford Fusion (Finished 16th) – “We were just consistent.  We really struggled here the last race, so to come back and work on our setup and make some big improvements from our last race is great.  We had a decent run last week at Richmond.  We applied some of that to here.  We were just solid.  We needed to be quite a bit looser.  Our car was pretty tight, but we were just solid and steady and stayed on the lead lap and got a good result.”  ANY DIFFERENCE IN INTENSITY TODAY?  “Not really.  It’s the same Cup racing that we know and love.  There was a lot of beating and banging and just good short track racing.  I’m just really happy with my Valvoline team.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Finished 28th) – “The 18 was kind of all over the place and just spun out.  The spotter said that he was in the middle of the track and I just slowed down too quick.  I locked up the brakes and I guess Jamie and some of those guys were coming hard from behind and just didn’t have anywhere to go.  If we could have dodged that one, I felt like we had a good car today to contend for a good run, but after that we just struggled getting fuel in it and had poor track position all day.  When someone is spinning out and there’s smoke everywhere, all you can do is just try to slow down and I just basically stopped and the 26 didn’t have anywhere to go.” 

BILL ELLIOTT – No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion (Finished 29th) – “We struggled with track position all day.  We were tight in the middle and loose off.  I fought that all day.  Then we got the middle better, but would be loose up off.  I just couldn’t get going.”  YOU MET SENATOR MCCAIN BEFORE THE RACE.  HOW WAS THAT?  “That was a pretty neat deal.  For what he stood up and did for our country, I don’t think they give the man enough credit.  Regardless of some of the other issues, the way I see this whole deal is we’re either gonna be fighting them over there or over here and I’d rather be fighting them over there than in our country.  There are a lot of things, but he’s a neat guy and I wish him the best.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion (Finished 3rd) – “My guys did awesome.  Everything worked.  The Vitamin Water even tastes good right now.  It’s cool to be leading the points.  It’s awesome for Greg Biffle and great for Office Depot, Ford, Aflac, everybody.”  WERE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW YOU RAN TODAY?  “Yeah, that’s why it sounds like I’m in Victory Lane here.  I’m pumped.  It just wasn’t any good in practice.  Bob Osborne, he did a great job coming up with a setup – four springs, shocks, track bar, all that stuff.  He showed me the sheet this morning and I said, ‘Man, I hope it works,’ and it did.”

CARL EDWARDS PRESS CONFERENCE – “Man, I feel like we won that thing just because of how terrible we were in practice, and to finish this well and to be tied with Jimmie there in the points, that’s a huge day for us.  It was really cool that Greg got the win. That’s awesome for him and the Dish Network team and it was really fun to watch Jimmie and him race.  That was wild.  They were fighting hard, so it was a good day for us.” 

DID YOU EXPECT GREG TO PASS JIMMIE?  “No, I didn’t expect it to happen.  After hearing Jimmie was having trouble on the short runs, it makes more sense, but it was just so hard to pass, I mean, real hard to pass and I think it all just worked out perfect for Greg.  I didn’t expect it to happen, no.  It was a surprise to me.” 

IS THIS A RELIEF TO HAVE THIS RACE OUT OF THE WAY WITH NO ISSUES?  “That’s a good question.  I mean, for me, like I said, it’s a huge relief.  I mean, I was out there thanking everyone I wanted to thank.  Last night, I didn’t go to bed thinking that today was gonna end up like this, so it’s a huge relief for me.” 

GREG BIFFLE PRESS CONFERENCE

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion – YOU MUST FEEL GOOD.  “Man, I do.  I love this race track and with the old car we ran extremely well here – almost won a couple – top fives everytime we came, and then when we came with the new car we haven’t run very good.  It was really troublesome to get going and finally we got onto something that worked here and the race car just drove phenomenal right off the truck.  It was really fast.  Greg and I worked through some things.  I think our practice we executed really good and when the race started off today my car was just perfect.  I hardly adjusted anything.  I think I took a half-round of wedge out of it all day and that was it.  Really, I just took care of my car through the middle part of the race and ran pretty hard when I was trying to catch Junior to get the lead and then the 48 caught us and I just decided to ride for a while and wait toward the end.  My car just kept getting better and better as the day went and that’s not normally the case, so that’s why I didn’t adjust much on it.  I knew I had a little bit left at the end.  I backed way off trying to save some brakes and fuel for the end and I’m sure that Jimmie did as well.  Greg told me we were catching him about a tenth a lap, so either he slowed down or his car was starting to slow down and at that point I felt like we’d have an opportunity to pass him if the caution came out, so that’s what we were hoping for.”

GREG ERWIN, Crew Chief – No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion – HOW DID THE TEAM PERFORM ON PIT ROAD?  “Spectacular.  We’ve made some changes, the progress of the 16 pit crew has been pretty well documented.  We had one hang-up on one stop that cost us a couple of spots, but the difference is nobody got down because everybody knew the potential is there.  We’ve seen that the last couple of weeks as strong as we’ve been and I couldn’t be happier for everyone.”

JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion – “Let me say first of all that all the Red Sox fans, we’re glad to be here with John Henry.  They won last night and we were able to win today.  They probably felt as bad about their chances halfway through the game last night as I watched it as I did from the lap times we had on Friday and Saturday, although the bright spot was how the 16 was running, which wasn’t at the top of the board but was pretty good.  We’ve really enjoyed the support of Ford Motor Company to help get us here with all the technical things that the other manufacturers are providing to their teams.  Today, though, it was a blend of the things – the algorithms, the predictive and analysis things that the engineers would suggest and, of course, the real life experience that Greg’s had and that Greg Erwin has had as well.  So it was a blend of those things.  I don’t look forward to the day when we’ll be able to have somebody put on a piece of paper for you all the things you need to do, but it certainly wasn’t the case that we were able to define precisely what we needed to be in the car and it was a blend of the things that worked for Greg in the past and the things that worked for Greg Erwin in the past and what they believed to be true.  The team tested real hard.  The pit crew, you can’t say too much about the pit crew.  I don’t know which stop Greg Erwin is talking about, but he called to have some tape taken off a brake duct and that was an impossible task from where I was, and Greg Biffle had the good, common sense not to run over the guy that was trying to get the tape off.  That was the only bad stop I saw.  Except for that, I had a 12-second stop and a 13-second flat stop.  They were on their game all day.  They did a great job.”

WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE IF YOU DIDN’T GET LATE CAUTIONS?  “Greg was giving me all the information that I needed and I could see the 48.  We were catching him and being even with him, so he wasn’t getting away from us at that point when I was saving, so I knew with about 15 to go I was gonna have to start pressing to try and catch him.  I knew I could run about a tenth or two faster at that point, so that would give me enough time to run him down.  I wasn’t letting him get too far away, but I was just really arcing the car in the corner, trying not to use too much brake.  I had some pedal fade, so I didn’t want to get the brakes too hot, and if I did get a caution I knew I was gonna have to race the 48 in pretty tight quarters, so I was gonna need a lot of brake.  If the caution wouldn’t have come out, then I was hoping the 48 was slowing down because his car was starting to get tight in the middle of the corner and not because he was just backing off to save fuel, I don’t know.  I was being as fast as he was, a little faster, by saving so I knew at that point that I might be able to run him down if that caution didn’t come out, but I felt pretty confident there would be some kind of caution in 40 or 50 laps pretty easily.  And I almost did run over that guy that was in front of the car taking the tape off because I couldn’t see him.  I saw him go across the hood and down and they dropped the jack and it was like, ‘I didn’t see that guy run out of there.’  I jumped the clutch and was on the gas and then he popped his head up, so I had to push the clutch back in and give him a chance to get out of there, so it was kind of funny actually.”

GREG ERWIN CONTINUED – “He’s a big, strong kid.  He’d do anything for a win.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – “It was like, ‘I think there’s somebody down there, but I’ve got to go right now.’  It was kind of funny.”  CLINT BOWYER DID THIS LAST YEAR, WINNING HIS FIRST RACE IN THE FIRST CHASE RACE.  DID YOU THINK YOU NEEDED TO DO THIS TO BE A FACTOR?  “I felt like we were a definite threat for the chase if we made it because of the momentum we’ve had and how good the race tracks are in the chase for me.  Dover, I can’t name them all.  Dover, Homestead – we’ve won at.  Texas, Kansas, there are a bunch of great race tracks for us in the chase.  There were some that I was a little nervous about and one was Loudon and the other two are Martinsville and Talladega, so we’ve gotten through the one a little better than I expected, which is here, so I feel like we’re definitely the darkhorse like a couple of people said we are.”

GREG ERWIN CONTINUED – “Our history here hasn’t been real strong, so quite honestly we thought if we come of here with a top-10 finish and roll into Dover, where we’re second and third and fifth or sixth in our last three trips there, that we’d be able to put a solid string together and get up there in the points.  You combine with that the effect that maybe we’ve been playing a little conservative the last four races not wanting to take ourselves out of chase contention and last week we talked and he said, ‘The heck with that, man.  We’re going hammer down, wide-open, as fast as we can go from here on out, so this is what you get.  I guess he wasn’t kidding.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – KYLE’S ISSUES GAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE NEW LIFE IN THIS CHASE.  “That’s a credit to NASCAR and all those guys that came up with that chase format.  It gives 12 guys – 10 guys it used to be – 12 guys a chance to win a championship.  That’s exactly why they designed it that way to reset the points basically and, yeah, I’m surprised that the point leader coming in – especially with an 80-point lead, I’m not sure, but I’m surprised to see him that far back.  I knew he was gonna finish bad when he was two laps down, but that can happen with the chase.  We all know that.  That’s what hurts so bad when we’re trying to get in the chase.  We’re leading at Darlington and had a problem and finished 43rd and you take such a hit in the points when you finish dead last.  It’s unbelievable how fast you can fall.”

GREG ERWIN CONTINUED – WHEN HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THIS CAR GETTING BETTER AS THE RACE GOES ON?  “We’ve had that happen sometimes – not often here and not often on the flat track, but we made very few adjustments today, but I think we knew at the end of the day yesterday, when we kind of laid out everyone’s lap times there, we had a pretty good idea that we had plenty of speed in the car and it came down to, ‘Don’t tune yourself out and don’t screw it up.’  That really kind of seemed to be the ticket for today.  You had a good thing, let it ride.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – YOU CAME SO CLOSE TO WINNING THE TITLE IN ’05.  “It was unfortunate to come that close and somebody told me one time that you have to lose one before you can win one, and I didn’t understand that theory.  Unfortunately, I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case in 2005 when we came so close and finished second, so I guess I got that part out of the way.  I lost one in 1999 by eight points in the truck series and then I lost one in the Nationwide Series and won it the next year.  I came in second in the Cup Series, so, hopefully, history will repeat itself and maybe we’ll be there.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – 99 AND 16 GOING INTO HOMESTEAD.  WHAT WOULD YOU THINK?  “99, 16, 17, I’m good with all those numbers, but I was as surprised as Greg Erwin was that the car got better because throughout the race we really didn’t get an inkling of that except for watching the lap times.  Greg didn’t give anybody relief saying it was gonna be OK.  But I’m in the company of real fast people.  Fast drivers and dedicated crew chiefs.  Of course, the thing that’s happened here is Greg Erwin and Greg Biffle have become good friends in the last year and a half and they’ve figured out how to help one another and that takes a while, it really does.  But I think that we’re ready to peak on this thing and to really see what they’re both capable of in the races that remain here.” 

DO YOU FEEL GREG IS READY TO WIN A TITLE AND IS ROUSH FENWAY IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT NOW?  “I wouldn’t say that we’re in the driver’s seat, but certainly we’re competitive.  I will not sleep tonight based on what happened to Matt Kenseth.  I won’t take enough joy and glee from what happened to the 16 and the 99 that I’ll get past what happened to the 17.  Greg is obviously ready to win a championship.   For just a handful of points, he would have won a championship in the truck race early.  He would have had two of those.  He would have had an earlier Nationwide race – Busch race as it was at the time – and, of course, the Cup race, we’re really enjoying the fact we’ve got great pit stops now, but I think that Greg would say that we had a pit situation that really let him down and that was the difference on the Cup race that we missed in 2005.  So we’re determined not to do that.  Robbie Reiser is doing a great job and getting all the things lined up and the people in their right spots.  We think we’ve peaked and we’re certainly gonna be able to make a run at it with two if not three of our cars.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – DID YOU EVER FEEL JINXED?  “I think sometimes you often wonder why things happen or go wrong when they do, but I think a lot of times you create your own luck.  When you’re saying you get jinxed, that’s just the luck of the draw.  A lot of times you create your own luck.  You know, got caught up in the accident all the time or whatever might happen, but it’s not luck when you have a bad pit stop or you have something else.  It’s not bad luck, it’s just you didn’t do it right.  When I spun out and got up in the fence at Richmond last week, it wasn’t bad luck, that was an error on my part.  You can say you’ve been jinxed sometime, but I feel better than I ever have about running these next nine races.  I’m physically and mentally prepared for what we’ve got coming up.” 

WERE YOU AND GREG THINKING LET’S NOT SCREW UP THIS DEAL AND END UP LIKE KYLE DID TODAY?  “For most of the time that’s our mindset, but yesterday we had the fastest lap average of every car here in the final practice.  We’ve got a computer that takes every lap time and then gives the fastest to the slowest and we had the fastest lap average of all the cars.  Greg and I were both surprised to see that on one set of tires.  We never changed tires and we saw a lot of other cars put tires on, so we knew at that point that we had a pretty good horse for today.  So we were in the mindset of, ‘Let’s get out of here with a good top-10 finish.  We felt like yesterday we could be a threat for a win or a top five for sure.” 

GREG ERWIN CONTINUED – WHO WAS THE CREW GUY?  “That guy’s name is Collin Pasi and he’s a big, strong kid.  He’s an engineer who works in the engineering department at Roush Fenway.  He came over here this year to carry tires for us.  I’ve known him for a long time.  I’ve known him since he was a little kid, so I feel good that we didn’t run him over.  We’re trying to save on the brakes a little bit and trying to get a little bit of tape on the right side brake duct.  We were probably generating a little too much brake heat and wanted to be a little safer for the end of the race, but it’s good.  He knows when the jack drops it’s time to go.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – YOU SAID YOU FELT LIKE A DARKHORSE, IS THAT WHY YOU DROVE A DARK CAR?  “I didn’t feel like a darkhorse, they named me that.  They named me the Biff and then they said I was a darkhorse and now I don’t know what else they’re gonna call me.”  ERWIN INJECTS, “Winner.”  BIFFLE CONTINUES – “It was cool to have that Turbo HD car.  I always win with special paint schemes, so we’re gonna have to change it up for the rest of the year.”

GREG ERWIN CONTINUED – WHAT WENT INTO THE DECISION TO MAKE THE PIT CREW CHANGES?  “It was all chase related.  It had been something that was being discussed between the crew chiefs and, quite honestly, Robbie Reiser and not just with the 16 team specifically, but with the three and potentially four teams we were gonna have in the chase.  There were some members on the 26 car that were proven veterans and both our team and the 99 has had some issues with one guy in particular on each squad and Reiser stepped up to the plate and decided, ‘Look, this is our best foot forward.  These are what we think are our most experienced, under-the-gun-type players,’ and made the decision and allowed each of our teams to get some guys from the 26 car and it’s helped.  Without a doubt it’s helped.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – “I want to add something there just so it’s clear.  For the 6 and the 26, we are building toward next year.  We’ve got new talent in and we’re looking at everything that we can to make those programs as strong as they can possibly be, so at the same time we looked and said, ‘How can we close the deal for the chase?  How can we make those programs stronger, too?’  We’re a promote from within company and we’ve got people from both of those programs that will take more responsible jobs throughout the company as we make their lives more interesting and develop their careers and, at the same time, the vacancies made here as we move some people out, give us a chance to bring in some real talented people and demonstrate what they can do in the next 10 races.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – KYLE IS 74 BACK.  HOW BIG A DEFICIT IS THAT?  “I don’t think it’s a big deficit because he was 80 ahead coming in, so that can be made up fairly quickly.  When you reset the points, a point shift can come so easily.  Just today, all the chase guys were running in the top 10 and I just knew if I finish first, second or third it was gonna catapult me past a lot of those guys because a lot of them we were even with, but they were staged in front of me just because of the way NASCAR did the seeding.  If I was in front of somebody that had one win, that was gonna bump me up, so you’ll see those swings like we do at the beginning of the season.  He’s certainly not out of it as long as he doesn’t self-destruct.”  WHAT DOES IT DO TO COME BACK AND MAKE A CAR BETTER?  “The white coats did a good job getting the car ready for today.  That was a question outside by a TV guy, ‘Where are you planning on testing?  Or what’s your test schedule coming up?’  I thought about it and we’re testing Charlotte and we talked about going to Kentucky or someplace else.  We might be better fit to rummage though all the test data we have and all the information and paperwork and just science out scientifically look at what everything’s been done and try and analyze what the best scenario was gonna be for going to Dover and going to Kansas for the first time and all these other places, and back to Phoenix – look over the test data, look at what we did at Milwaukee and here and make a good decision on it.”

GREG ERWIN CONTINUED – “For the people that haven’t been on the white coat side of it – a previous white-coater myself – you need to understand that when we go to just a two-day test, the amount of information that we can collect nowadays with the systems that we run on the cars is more than myself and my engineer and the engineer next to me and the engineer next to him can look at in three days or four days or a week.  I mean, there’s that much information there.  Sometimes you don’t realize it until two weeks after the test.  It’s not like you can test 10 hours and go to the hotel that night and page through that stuff.  The answer may not be right there and it may not be until two weeks later that you actually find it.  The benefits of things like that don’t immediately come out.  You don’t show up the next day of the test and run three-tenths faster because you stayed up all night.  It’s like trying to read a book that’s this thick.  It just doesn’t happen that quick.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – DO YOU LIKE BEING A STEALTH CANDIDATE?  “I think it inspires me a little bit to want to make a statement, I guess.  I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time and I just thought about what I need to do for the next 10 weeks.  I’ve thought over and over about it.  We’ve just got to get my car right on Saturday – Friday and Saturday – and drive the best race I can on Sunday and the best man is gonna win at the end of the 10 weeks.  I just can’t wait to go to Dover.”

GREG ERWIN CONTINUED – DOES THAT MOTIVATE YOUR GUYS?  “Overlooked, darkhorse, not the favorite, it really makes no difference to me.  I look at it, it’s common sense.  You’ve got a guy out there that’s won eight races, you’ve got a guy that’s won six and you’ve got a guy that’s won two or three of the last four, of course they’re gonna be the favorites.  That’s just human nature.  It’s like that in any sport.  I certainly


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