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2013 Daytona 500 (Test) Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup Friday - Greg Biffle
Posted by: newsla on Jan 11, 2013 - 05:34 PM
2013 Daytona 500 (Test) Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup Friday - Greg Biffle

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, was part of a handful of drivers who met with media at Daytona between the morning and afternoon test sessions Friday. Biffle talked about what the team has done so far, hopes to accomplish and more.


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GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – HOW HAVE THINGS GONE OUT THERE FOR YOU SO FAR? “So far so good. I kind of seems like the cars drive the same every time you come here. Every year that the simulation guys work on the stuff and we get better and better at the shop. It was amazing how we unloaded off the truck. The thing didn’t hit the race track. We have made very, very little gains on the race cars because they have them so good at the shop now that it is amazing when you come to the track. You can’t find a whole lot to make them better.”

HOW FAR ALONG IS ROUSH FENWAY RACING WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CARS AND HOW MUCH WILL IT HELP HAVING RPM AND FRONT ROW WITH THE NEW TESTING PROCESS TO BE ABLE TO RELY ON THEM? “I think it will help a little bit. I think every team has kind of that alliance so it is going to be pretty level of a playing field for everyone, Toyota and Chevy as well. They will have outreaching teams that will bring information or data back. I don’t think we are any further behind than any other team. This is a new car and NASCAR is struggling through making the rules the way they want and making sure everything is validated. Getting the rules kind of late and changing some things has been hard. We have had a hard time getting parts but I don’t think any team is in any different boat than we are. Everyone is working hard to get prepared for the season.”

ANY CAUSE FOR CONCERN THAT THE FORDS HAVEN’T BEEN AS FAST YET AS THE CHEVY’S AND TOYOTA’S? “I wish that we were higher on the speed chart for sure but I don’t think it is cause for concern. I think our car is reasonably fast. We know some of those cars up there did full qualifying runs. Pushed out completely taped off and we didn’t do that. We know that we have a couple tenths of speed in that part of it. That would move us up into the top-five. I don’t think there is any reason to panic at this point. I think we are pretty close.”

DID YOU FEEL THERE WAS ANYTHING SIGNIFICANT IN THE SAFETY MEETING TODAY? “Not really. I liked to see the windshield. I am really happy about that. That has always been a concern of mine, something coming through the front of the car. I hit a piece of brake rotor at Charlotte last year and it sounded like a shotgun went off inside the car. It was amazing. It blew all the window braces out of the windshield and they were hanging in the steering wheel and I was trying to throw pieces off of my hands before the corner came. The windshield and hitting big pieces of metal on the race track has been a concern. That is new for this year. Just continuing to try to make stuff better, seat belts and seat mounting and stuff.”

IS THERE SOMETHING THAT SEPARATES ONE DRIVER FROM ANOTHER IN THE ABILITY TO WIN ON A PLATE TRACK? IS IT INNATE STUFF LIKE REACTION AND JUDGEMENT OR WHAT IS IT? “I think it takes all those things. I wouldn’t say it comes down to luck but the end of these things, people are pushing and shoving and someone gets sideways and comes out of the gas and your lane slows down, guys get broke up at the end. It is just so hard to predict what is going to happen. When is the right time to pass? In the final restart of this race last year I debated whether to try to pass Matt (Kenseth) at that point but I felt like I wanted to wait to the white flag to make my move there on the white flag. That is the biggest thing. You don’t want to make your move too soon. Then Tony (Stewart) and those guys got a big run and broke us apart. We were split up and coming down the backstretch to the white. You just never know. You can look back at that and think that you should have gone around him then, but you just don’t know what is going to happen.”

CAN YOU TALK MORE ABOUT WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THE WINDSHIELD? “It is two pieces of material with something in the center similar to a passenger car windshield that has the protective stuff in the middle of it. Typically when you layer something it becomes stronger than a single piece anyway.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED -- WHAT WILL YOU TELL FROM THE DRAFT TODAY? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING TO FIND OUT FROM IT? “A lot of us are skeptical of how the car will drive because the spoiler is much shorter and we feel like the car will be much more free. With the weather being warm it will make it closer to the track conditions that we will see for the 500. Normally you are testing in 50 degree weather. It will be nice that it is a little warmer. I think we want to see how the car drives around other cars. I think we know what to expect but there may be something we are missing.”

WHAT KIND OF AFFECT HAS THIS CLEAN SLATE NEW CAR HAD ON THE TEAMS AND DRIVERS? “It is definitely challenging. The one good things we have going for us is that the chassis is like 80-percent the same. The chassis part of the car is quite a bit the same. In fact, this is our 500 car from last year, what we have here today. The body is different and the rear axle housing is different. The way the setup is, the axle in the car is straight and all the new rules make it a lot different yet underneath there is a lot that is the same. It is definitely a challenge for the guys because the cowlings are different and the hood is different. There is so much that is different that they are used to touching and feeling and working on that they have to get used to. It is challenging for everybody. They are always changing stuff inside the car and getting better gauges and there is more and more data and the engine guys want something different in there. Unfortunately with the data there is a report card too. They can see what we are doing, what RPM we shifted at. They put the duct tape on the dashboard that says to shift 8500 and if we don’t the data tells on us.”

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