Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:
Pure Michigan 400 Friday Advance (Michigan International Speedway)
Friday, August 16, 2013
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion and Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Best Buy Geek Squad Ford Fusion, were part of a joint media session Friday at Michigan International Speedway. The Roush Fenway Racing teammates talked about their respective seasons to date, the team’s success over the years at MIS and the countdown to the Chase.
CARL EDWARDS, No. 99 Geek Squad Ford Fusion and GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – GUYS, CAN YOU EACH TALK ABOUT YOUR SUCCESS OVER THE YEARS HERE AT MICHIGAN?
CARL EDWARDS: “Yeah, it is a great track for us. We love Michigan. It is a lot of fun. I actually beat Greg here which is the only thing I have beaten him at in a long time. I was in front of him and enjoying that at Michigan. I was finally in front of him for something. We appreciate you letting us do media together. We hope that we can get another win for Ford. That 1,000th win for Ford here in June was really neat. I actually got a watch the other day that said, “Congratulations Greg Biffle on your 1,000th win”, I don’t know, maybe Greg sent that over to my hauler. We are hoping to get another win here and we have won really well. I love this race track. This will be a lot of fun.”
GREG BIFFLE: “Like Carl said, this is a great race track for Roush Fenway as a whole. Going back to Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth. All of us have had a lot of success here and Carl has won here a few times. This has been a good track for us. I was worried about when they repaved it what would transpire but we have been really good since the repave and the track is really coming back in and racing a lot like it used to race. I really love this place. It is one of my favorite places to come and you can run two and three wide through the corner in a down force situation where you normally can’t do that at most race tracks. That is always a strategy and fuel mileage plays a factor. It is hard on the engines here too. This is just a fun place for myself and our team to race.”
WITH THIS NEW GENERATION 6 CAR, DO YOU START THE SETUP AND AERO PACKAGE FROM ZERO OR CAN YOU USE DATA FROM THE PREVIOUS CAR?
GREG BIFFLE: “I think that we start with a modified setup from the old car but one thing we have learned over the last little bit about the car is that it is much more finicky than the old car was. At least that is my opinion. If we are off a tiny, tiny bit with this car it goes from being running the top-five or top-eight to running 25th. There is a really fine line. That is something we have learned in our camp. We have to be right on the mark with this thing or we don’t have any speed. I don’t know if it is just us or this car in general or whatever but we have learned that we have to be right on with the setup of this car. We thought a half pound or quarter pound or a wedge made a difference before but it has multiplied. Yes, we can use some of the old information but you have to be right on. Sometimes a couple hours of practice isn’t enough.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI A FEW DAYS AGO WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW THEY WERE POLITICKING WITH NASCAR AND THE FORDS WITH REGARD TO PROCESS AND DEVELOPMENT TO CATCH UP WITH THE OTHER MANUFACTURERS. WHAT DO YOU GUYS KNOW ABOUT THAT? HE SAID EVERYTHING WILL COME INTO PLACE WHEN THE CHASE STARTS.
CARL EDWARDS: “That is good news. I think as a group, Brad has been a big part and Joey (Logano) have been a big part. Greg and Ricky (Stenhouse) have worked probably closer than we have in the past to try to be one Ford and the best we can and do whatever it takes. If it turns out that we need to do some politicking for things to be different than we will do everything we can. Right now, I can only speak for Jimmy Fennig and my team and I am sure Greg and Matt (Puccia) are doing the same thing and that is to make our car the best it can be for the final 10 races. Greg is fast every week. We are fast every week. We just need to find that last little bit, that last little adjustment, so we can race with these guys. From where we are at, all we can do is build the best race cars and drive the hardest we can and we are hoping that gets us a championship. If Brad wants to or somebody at Ford wants to go work on bigger picture stuff we will help with that all we can.”
GREG BIFFLE: “The only thing I really know about it, which is very little, is that the car is much different now in the race trim package that we have now with the spoiler and splitter and all of the way it ends up getting specked out – it is much different than the way this car began life and was submitted. All our CFD and wind tunnel work around that has changed slightly. When they changed the spoiler and splitter and those things, did our car get affected differently than the other cars? I think I have scratched the surface of understanding a little bit of what the talk might be between the cars. One thing we do know is our car has a tremendous amount of speed in it. But again, we have to be right on the setup. Last race here, I remember and Carl and I were just talking about it walking up here. We were running seventh or eighth and I was kicking and screaming and I couldn’t get it to go any better. We made tiny adjustments and gained track position then got out front through a pit cycle and I got the car driving perfect and off I went. Yeah, the 48 was still faster and catching us a little bit but we were able to level out that difference in speed it seemed like as we fine tuned and adjusted in on our car. That is something we are working hard on as a group and getting our cars fine tuned. That could be part of it too.”
HOW DO YOU BALANCE WHAT YOU WILL TRY TO DO THE NEXT FOUR RACES? A WIN OR TWO WOULD PROBABLY GET YOU IN THE CHASE BUT YOU CAN’T HAVE A BAD FINISH EITHER. HOW DO YOU BALANCE THAT?
GREG BIFFLE: “Unfortunately we aren’t in a great spot. Indy really killed us. That was the turning point for us. We felt like we were really on some momentum and qualified 27th and finished 24th and never ran better than that all day. That buried us in the points. We go back to Pocono with a lot better finish, 10th, and get caught 20 feet from getting onto pit road at the Glen with the caution coming out. We come out of the pit cycle sixth and get sent to the back of the field with 30 laps to go. You are right. We can’t have things like that happen. We need to finish where we are running and are struggling with that some. The next four weeks are going to be about who is on the plus side of that. If you get caught a lap down or this or that or pit road penalties or something – or are you getting good finishes. We have four races left to do that. We are in the middle of the bees nest and we understand that. All we can do is get the best finishes we can the next four weeks.”
THIS TRACK HAS BEEN NAMED TRACK OF THE YEAR IN TERMS OF FAN EXPERIENCE. IN TERMS OF DRIVER EXPERIENCE HOW WOULD YOU SAY IT RANKS?
CARL EDWARDS: “I think this is one of our favorite race tracks. For me, this is the site of my first start so it is real special for that reason. It is just a fun place. It seems the weather is always great and the race is great and the fans are into it. The infield here is like none other. It is pretty amazing out there. I think it is a good experience overall and we all enjoy coming.”
WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE FOR YOU GUYS WHEN JACK ISN’T AROUND AT THE RACE TRACK AS MUCH?
GREG BIFFLE: “I think it will be a long time before he is not at the race track every weekend. These things not having carburetors anymore and looking at the spark plugs and those things, technology changes. Carl and I used to go in and sit down with the crew chief to figure out what right front spring we are going to start with and what front sway bar. We don’t do that anymore. The technology is changing so Jack is still involved and he has less of a role but so do we almost because technology has taken over a little bit. I think you are going to see Jack around a lot and still involved.”
CARL EDWARDS: “It is his team and he is the leader. It is nice to have that leadership and so I don’t want to see him step back. Hopefully he stays as involved as he can be because we really enjoy having him here.”
CARL, YOU STARTED THE SEASON OFF WITH JIMMY FENNIG KIND OF LIKE A FRESH COUPLE JUST DATING. HAVE YOU MOVED BEYOND THAT PART OF THE RELATIONSHIP? “Yeah, we fought over who was going to do the laundry for a little while and stuff like that. I think we have a very good relationship right now. I was actually talking to some folks about that this week that listen to the races on the radios and I am starting to understand Jimmy. It is true, he is as dedicated as he seems to be. He cares more about winning – there is nobody that cares more about winning than him. I have been around Mike Mittler and Jack Roush and Jimmy Fennig and those guys are unmatched. I really respect him. We are starting to communicate better. I think for a little while he didn’t really understand what I was saying. He understood but not to the degree of me being loose or tight. I think we both have more faith in each other than we ever have. It is coming together really well in my eyes.”
IT HAS BEEN A FEW WEEKS SINCE THE CITY OF DETROIT FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY. SINCE YOUR MANUFACTURER IS SO CLOSELY TIED TO THE STATE OF MICHIGAN AND ITS ECONOMY, HAS ANY OF THAT TOUCHED YOU GUYS?
CARL EDWARDS: “All I can say is that in 2008 when Jim Farley brought us all in and explained to us how Ford was in big trouble and that they were going to have to make some tough decisions to make it through it, that was really sobering to hear him speak that way about the company, our company, Ford. To see how they came through that, making tough decisions was inspiring. I can only imagine the decisions being made in Detroit and how tough they are. At the end of the day, if the tough decisions now come out better in the end and make things viable for more people then it is the right thing. I only have read about it and understand it from a distance.”
GREG BIFFLE: “Like Carl said, a lot of people had to make tough decisions back in 2008 and it is tough to correct that ship but Ford was able to do that well. It takes a lot to be able to do that and it is unfortunate that the city has gone through what they have. I know Ford has been a huge supporter of the area and provided a lot of jobs and I think the ship will get righted and it will get better once it gets going back to the right direction. I think it will be a good place.”
IT WAS ANNOUNCED TODAY THAT NASCAR AFTER THE LAP WILL RETURN TO CHAMPIONS WEEK IN VEGAS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHY IT IS SUCH A FUN EVENT FOR YOU DRIVERS?
GREG BIFFLE: “Well, I hope I am there. That is about all I can say about it. I am really looking forward to being there and making the After the Lap award show but I think it is really neat that Ford has stepped up and done things there that they are doing with that program and sending some fans out there. Somebody is going to get to win a new truck and a lot of cool things.”
CARL EDWARDS: “The thing that makes me nervous about that is it usually gets pretty loose and things are said and done like Jeff Gordon break dancing. Once it is done I kinda think, man, as that okay? The fans seem to enjoy it. The website is NASCARAfterTheLap.com and someone is going to win a 2014 F-150 Tremor truck.”
GREG BIFFLE: “Have you seen that truck? That thing is really cool”
CARL EDWARDS: “There is a sweepstakes and you go to NASCARAfterTheLap.com and you can win a 2014 Tremor, which is a pretty awesome truck. Each year, that is one of the neatest parts, they give someone the truck right there in front of the crowd and it is spectacular.”
GREG BIFFLE: “I wonder if we are eligible”
CARL EDWARDS: You already have one don’t you?
GREG BIFFLE: It has the EcoBoost motor in it and is a really neat truck. I wish I had one.
CARL EDWARDS: “You will have one. You have every car.”