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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
March 26, 2008
DENISE MALOOF: Today we have a very special line-up of three teleconference guests. Kicking things off will be Martinsville Speedway President, Clay Campbell. He'll be followed by former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Todd Bodine. Then at approximately 12:30, Greg Biffle, who is currently second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings will join us.
We'll start off with Clay Campbell, who operates the only track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule that was part of the very first NASCAR schedule way back in 1948.
CLAY CAMPBELL: Thank you, Denise. Appreciate you having me.
DENISE MALOOF: From your perspective, how important is the history of Martinsville to the history of NASCAR?
CLAY CAMPBELL: I think it's very important, obviously going as far back as we have gone. This is our 61st year. I think it speaks a lot for what we have done here at Martinsville and I think it speaks a lot for our relationship with NASCAR.
Obviously the fans still love this type of racing. And, really, if you look at the Speedway here, nothing has changed on the track itself, shape-wise, size-wise, or anything like that, from the very first day it opened back in 1947.
So I think here you've got a little bit of mix of the past and the future all bundled in together.
DENISE MALOOF: Questions.
Q. Clay, first of all, is in this era, this economic time, what are the challenges for track operators? And are there things you have to be creative at trying to get people to your track and on top of that just kind of where you guys feel like you are at this point just a few days out in regards to ticket sales? Looks like on your website certainly there are plenty of good seats still available.
CLAY CAMPBELL: Okay. Yeah, that's something that we're all faced with this year. Obviously the economy has affected just about everything and everybody.
Yes, we still do have tickets available. And normally we do up to this point. But it's been soft this year versus years in the past.
And I think the biggest reason that track operators have a challenge versus other professional sports, our people have to travel from such a great distance to see our events. It's not like a professional sports team where the majority of the fans are local.
So it's a challenge for fans to come in via campers or flying in or driving. Gas prices being what they are, it's just -- I haven't seen it like this in a long time, since I've been involved in the sport.
So that's our biggest challenge now is just getting people to travel. And then you tack onto that the accommodations and ticket prices and on and on and on, it's just tough times right now.
Q. I think last year I think you guys were about a thousand short of a sell-out or something kind of like that, that type of a number. If you have fewer this year, what does that tell you? What do you have to do and what kind of a concern does that start to become?
CLAY CAMPBELL: Well, I think the way we look at it, the economy is one thing that we have no control over. Things that we do have control over, then that's what we address. And we have actively promoted the event and we always do. But we have gone probably outside that box this year in trying to reach other markets and trying to retain the ones that we've had.
So we've really been putting forth the extra effort, realizing that times are different now than they have been in the past. Like I say, the economy is one thing that we can't control. But we do everything that we can to make our events attended by as many as possible. And the ones that do attend it, they enjoy their experience and thus they come back the next time.
Q. Do you worry if you don't sell out that the talk again is about the future of the track and what happens and what the track will need to do to maintain its position on the NASCAR calendar?
CLAY CAMPBELL: Well, if we don't sell out, I don't like that, but, no, it doesn't concern me as far as that question. If you look back to some tracks that didn't sell out in the past, that was when everybody else was selling out.
It's different now. If we were the only ones not to sell out, then, yeah, I would have concern. But it's a challenge that, like I say, we all face at this point in time.
Q. It's still free parking on the track grounds?
CLAY CAMPBELL: Absolutely. All parking we have on the Speedway grounds is free.
Q. What are some of the things you're going to do, you're hoping to do or some of the projects you have in plan after this?
CLAY CAMPBELL: We have numerous things on our wish list. Being a part of a public company, we have to go through the process of having it approved at the board meeting in April. So I can't really announce what we're doing. But there's numerous things we're looking at. We hope to get our pit road resurfaced, either concrete or asphalt.
The one thing that we are doing, the cross-over gate, we're redoing that to a safer barrier system, extending safer barrier coming out of Turn 4. That will start probably the week after the event. So it will be starting in 10 days or so.
So we've got numerous things we're doing. Certain things in the grandstand we're putting in stadium seats, fold-down seats. They'll go in starting probably next month. So there's a lot of things going on. A lot of things we want to do. And as we go forward into our five-year plan, you'll see considerable changes.
Q. Clay, you've sort of covered this in your opening remarks, but I wonder if you could elaborate a little bit on for those who have not been fortunate to cover races at Martinsville, what is the appeal of I guess not just the racetrack and everything, but the whole area there? I mean everybody just seems to enjoy going there.
CLAY CAMPBELL: Well, I think it's -- you know, you come -- I don't know -- back to the future. That kind of sums it up. But when you come to Martinsville -- in fact, somebody said it the other day. One of the race drivers said it. I don't remember which one. But he said he loves coming to Martinsville because, unlike some places, if you want to leave the track to go get a burger or leave to go to a drugstore or whatever, you don't have to drive far.
We're pretty close to everything around here. Obviously it's a small town. And when we have the events here our population is pretty much doubled. We put more people in the Speedway than we have in Henry County and Martinsville. So it's a real big city that day.
But I think that's the appeal. Our location with the Blue Ridge Mountains close by. We have a lot of scenic things to see and places to go. You're not out in the middle of nowhere. It's a pretty neat place. It's not a big city by any stretch of the imagination.
But, like I say, there's things you can see and do. As far as the racetrack goes, I think the biggest thing people like about that, when you sit in the grandstand here you get to see the action up close and personal. You don't really need binoculars to see from one side to the other.
It's old-fashioned racing like it used to be. And touching on what we were talking about earlier with Dustin's question, one thing that we offer that most don't, we probably have the cheapest ticket prices of anybody.
And like I said before, I'm not talking about the last-minute slash prices. Our standard prices are lower than some people's highest -- our highest is lower than some people's lowest.
We want it to where a family can come here, enjoy the day and do everything they want to do and buy what they want to buy and leave here and still have money in their pocket.
Q. What do you think the drivers like and dislike most about your track? And what do you think they respect most about the history of your track?
CLAY CAMPBELL: Well, I think there are a few -- and it's getting fewer and fewer -- that understand the history of the sport. But you've got some -- this track is unique in the fact that drivers either love it or they hate it. Because, number one, it's not an easy track. Although it's a half-mile track it's a short track. It's unlike any short track you'll find anywhere in the country, with the long straightaways, the tight turns. Very minimal banking.
It makes for a long day. From what I understand, if you've got a car that handles, a car that works good, it can be fun. If you've got one that's not doing too good, it can be a real long day. It's a lot of work. Versus, you know, some other places where you're not in tight confines all day long. You're not in traffic all day.
Let's just face it, you put 43 cars on a half-mile racetrack you're going to be in traffic most of the day and it's mentally demanding and physically demanding.
So we're in that part where, like I say, they either love it or they hate it.
Q. Clay, how important is it to keep a family-owned track on the schedule?
CLAY CAMPBELL: Well, Jim, as you know, we're part of ISC International Speedway Corporation now. I think the ownership doesn't matter as much as your values and the way you approach the families that come to your event. That's the main thing that we look at. This track is not now owned by my family. We still have the same values and we still approach things the way we did pre-ISC. And this has always been a family atmosphere-type facility. And that's the way we continue it today.
And like I say, we want it to be where a man can bring his wife and kids and have a great time, affordable. And I think we accomplished that.
Back in the '70s, I believe we were referred to as the "Walt Disney World of Speedways." And that was a pretty doggone good compliment. And today we still adhere to those values.
Q. So fans should not be concerned that a couple of large kind of corporations are taking over all the speedways, in your opinion?
CLAY CAMPBELL: Absolutely not. In fact, it's good. Because pre -- before we sold to International Speedway Corporation we were kind of the lone ship at sea. And, trust me, that's not fun at times.
So it's been much better. And I said it at the time that we were purchased, for the long-term viability of this speedway, it was in the best interests of everyone concerned that we became part of ISC. The resources that we now have, whether it be capital, whether it be personnel, just everything together, we're a much better facility now than we ever had a chance to be before.
Q. So being part of them has allowed you to do some of the upgrades you were talking about before?
CLAY CAMPBELL: Absolutely. And just from a personal standpoint, you know, being president of this place before ISC and now, it's much better now because if I have a problem, if I have an issue, all I've got to do is pick up a phone because nine times out of ten somebody in this company has already experienced it and I can get an answer and I can get it resolved. So I think it's much better now and I think it's the way to go, definitely.
Q. Clay, you talked about the economy causing a lot of problems with ticket sales. That's true. I'm down here in Michigan. We see it also. But one thing that comes to my mind is NASCAR's always looking to build other tracks around existing tracks. Has there been any talk, first of all, what about adding extra tracks close to yours, that in my opinion would present a big problem other than even ticket sales?
CLAY CAMPBELL: Now, the only tracks I've been familiar with in the past were the ones in New York and Washington. Besides that I'm not familiar with anything else.
But that's an issue for the companies involved in this sport and for NASCAR to determine. I've got my hands full with what we can do here. But I think it's good that the sport of NASCAR has the different tracks that we have now.
And if we expand, so be it, that's good too. I said the other day, I believe that's the appeal of NASCAR versus other sanctioning bodies and other motor sports in this country and the world, for that matter. We've got something for everybody's taste. We've got the short tracks and road courses and super speedways, so I think that's really caused us to be the leader in motor sports.
And all of us have our place in this sport. And by growing -- and I don't think that NASCAR wants anything too close to another track. They've always been cautious of that. So I don't foresee that happening where you would leach off something else.
Q. What is the history and the story behind the Martinsville hot dog?
CLAY CAMPBELL: That's something that just kind of evolved. I think it goes back to earlier days when we ran our own concessions. And my grandfather, Clay Earl, formed the speedway, that was something going back to what I said earlier about making the experience nice for a family.
Food was one of the priorities then. And at that time we made a hot dog and just didn't put a wiener on a bun and that's all you got; you got the whole works.
As time went on, it took a life of itself and it became the World Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog. It wasn't intended that way but it has evolved that way. It's something that folks look forward to seeing and having when they get here. It's just different than what you would find at most sports arenas. And it's something we're proud of. But it just happened. Just nothing really intended that way.
DENISE MALOOF: Clay, thank you for joining us today. Good luck this weekend.
For those who are on the phone, we're now joined by former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Todd Bodine. The driver of the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota. Todd, a native of New York, actually grew up in Rocky Mountain, Virginia, just a bit north of Martinsville. Todd, welcome.
TODD BODINE: Thank you.
DENISE MALOOF: Both of your brothers, Jeffrey and Brett, have won NASCAR National Series race at Martinsville. If you would follow suit this weekend it will be the first time three siblings have won a National Series race at the same track. How important is that?
TODD BODINE: Well, it's important. But more important is to get another win for the Lumber Liquidators Tundra. But, like you said, I graduated high school from Rocky Mountain, about 45 minutes north. And I've been going to Martinsville since I was seven years old, been there watching my brothers race and win races. And I was there as a crew member changing tires on modifieds. I've been there in every series that's raced there, Cup, Busch and the truck.
And to win at Martinsville is a very gratifying accomplishment. Because it is like, if there's such a thing as a home track, I would call that one of my home tracks. I love it there. And Clay has always done a great job. It's just a place that I really want to win. It's very special to myself and my family.
DENISE MALOOF: Questions.
Q. Todd, really, I don't have a question for you. I have a comment. And I truthfully mean this. I've been covering NASCAR now for about 30 years. But it's people like you and your family that southern hospitality that has made this sport grow to what it is. That's my own opinion. People ask me, how did NASCAR get so big. My first response is: The southern hospitality of not only the people but of the drivers especially. So I just wanted to say thank you.
TODD BODINE: Thank you. We were brought up to try to be good people and do everybody the way you would want to be done. And we grew up in this sport. It's all we've ever done. And, of course, I think if you ask my brothers this question they'd say the same thing: We learn by example.
I learned from my brothers and they learned from guys like Richard Petty and David Pearson. And especially Richard, just appreciative of the fans and always signing autographs and smiles.
You learn by example. And I think that some of that has been lost in racing. I think some of these new kids need to learn a little bit of that. But I really appreciate it. Being part of this sport is very important to my family and always has been. And we're proud to represent the sport the best we can.
Q. I think you hit it on the head when you said Richard Petty and the other drivers and your brothers and so forth, because so many of the young drivers in my opinion, today, don't even understand what the word "public relations" means and you guys still do. So thank you.
TODD BODINE: Thank you, we appreciate it. Like I said, you learn from example. And Richard Petty was the best example we could all have and try to emulate ourselves off of what he did for the sport and for the fans. And we try to do it the best we can.
Q. I wanted to ask you, with the trucks having lost a little bit of horsepower now, how does that impact you what you do at Martinsville and how does that change? I think I heard at testing some guys said they were going a little deeper drive it a little different than they were and they were happy with the test because at first it was throwing them off a little bit.
TODD BODINE: Yeah, the thing about that spacer -- it's a tapered spacer, it doesn't hurt the bottom end torque of the motor. It's meant to take top-end horsepower, top-end speed, off of the motor. And it's exactly what it's done at all the tracks. And Martinsville, I was very surprised, it didn't slow us down hardly at all.
If you think about it, the fact that we still have that bottom-end torque. We do get up off the corner almost as well. They did take some gear away from us, so that hurt us a little bit. But where it slowed us down was the last 100 feet of the straightaway. Martinsville top-end speed is only like 100 feet long, because it's such a short track.
So it really didn't slow us down a lot. But it did exactly what you heard: You end up driving it in the corner just that smidgen deeper because you know you have that little bit of speed left. The one thing that did hurt us was taking the gear out of the trucks. It's going to be hard on brakes. Because now we don't have the motors to help slow us down as much.
So I think Martinsville, it's all about getting under somebody up off the corner. And I think that you're still going to see a great race because that didn't hurt the bottom-end torque of the motors.
So I'm very pleased with the spacer. Even at all the other tracks we've raced at. Like California, it took about six miles an hour off the top end of the straightaways but we still had the lift in the corner because you can only go through the corner so fast. And I think it's worked out really well.
Q. Can you define a few of the best things that have happened in the Truck Series say in the last five years that have attracted so many veterans and rookies to the series?
TODD BODINE: I don't know if there's one or five particular things. I think that the series itself has evolved into a very competitive, the manufacturers have gotten involved with the onset of Toyota, it made the other manufacturers step up their programs.
And I think the fact that we do have a lot of veterans has made this series very interesting, because the fans can relate to the drivers that are involved. Guys like Skinner and Hornaday and Sprague and Rick Crawford and guys like Rick who have made their careers in the Truck Series and David Starr and guys like that.
Then we've got a great crop of rookies and we've had a great crop every year. We've had a tremendous group of kids. And the trucks are a great place to learn because they're a lot more forgiving than a car. It's just evolved because of a lot of circumstances and become an incredible series to watch.
We do autograph sessions a lot. And we get to talk to the fans. I love talking to the fans. And the one thing that is a constant that we hear every time is how they love the trucks over the cars because it is so competitive. The races are shorter. We have to -- when they drop that flag, we have to go. We can't ride around for 400 laps.
So they understand that and they appreciate it. I think it's drawn the fans to the series, and it's made it an incredible place to be and guys like myself and Skinner and guys up in their careers and only have probably five, six, 10 years left, it's a great place to be and earn a living and enjoy what we do.
Q. Todd, I was talking last night about Colin Braun and how he has come in so quick in the Truck Series. What's your opinion on him?
TODD BODINE: Well, I'll tell you what, he's got a tremendous amount of talent. I haven't gotten to know him that well. What little bit I have talked to him, sounds like a really good kid. But he's got a tremendous amount of talent. A lot of guys will come in from other series and just not get it. Just not understand how to drive these trucks and the cars even. Because it is different than road racing and kart racing and the open wheel stuff.
So you have to change how you do things, how you drive them. And he's adapted incredibly well. He's doing a really good job. He's had some bad breaks along the way, but I think he is definitely one of the kids who has a future in our sport, not only in the Truck Series but probably in the nationwide and sprint series.
DENISE MALOOF: Thank you very much for joining us. Good luck this weekend.
For those on the phone, we're now ready for our third and final guest today, Greg Biffle, who is the driver of the No. 16 Jackson Hewitt Ford. Greg is a former champion of both the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Comes in second this week in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
Greg, you've never won a short track race in the Cup Series but you got pretty close two weeks at Bristol. What's your outlook this week at Martinsville?
GREG BIFFLE: Certainly, Martinsville over the years has not been my best track, but certainly the last couple of times I've been there I've gotten tremendously better.
And I remember the last race there I was bumping on the back of the 48 car for the lead. So that was the highlight of my career, if you will and finished seventh. So really looking forward to going back this week. Don't know if I've really got the opportunity to win at that kind of place. Bristol, I would say, a win would come first there before Martinsville, but certainly not going to count us out.
But just looking to continue that top 5 streak. That's really our focus. And the reality is if you put yourself in that top 5, you're in position to win. So kind of goes hand in hand.
DENISE MALOOF: Questions?
Q. Greg, you talked about your performance last year. What helped you get better? What do you feel like you were able to do to get in that position? Because I know we've talked in the past just that obviously, like you say, that place hasn't been the best of luck for you. And also, when you just said you thought it was a highlight of your career, you mean highlight of your career at Martinsville or highlight of your career total to be bumping the 48 in that situation last year?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, probably the highlight of my career at Martinsville. I mean, every time I've been there, you know, I've been a lap down or the brakes quit working. You know, things have happened. And we've just not run as competitive there as we have everywhere else in the series.
And so to be legitimately up front and beating, bumping the leader for the lead and running there, that was certainly a bunch of confidence builder for us, or for myself personally, because Martinsville is in The Chase. And if I cannot run in the top 10 consistently at Martinsville, it's going to be tough to win a Sprint Cup title. And I felt like last time we were there that we were capable of that now as a team and as a car and as a driver, to compete in that, in the top 10.
So we just need to go back and do that again.
Q. I know the year you nearly won the title a couple of years back, a lot of the talk was about the Texas pit stop really set you back. Looking back it, as you look overall, 20th place finish at Martinsville. How much of a factor did that have in holding you back from that championship a few years ago?
GREG BIFFLE: Certainly, if I got 10th at Martinsville I would have won the title. So, like I said, Martinsville has been in the past one of my downsides, is overcharging the corner; our brake package isn't efficient enough, and Roush Fenway in general, I think that particular race Matt finished 18th, Mark finished 19th, I finished 20th. All of us were kind of as a group were not that good at Martinsville.
I still think we have some work to do as a group. We don't all go in there and run -- we don't have three cars in the top 10 or top 15, normally. Normally we're 10th on back, all five of us.
So for us to get a little bit better and understand that flat track and front geometry and how to get our cars to turn really good in the center, which is what Martinsville's about, a little paper clip place, you've got to get your car to turn really good around the center of the corner and that's what makes it fast.
If your car won't do it, you've got one arm rubber banded behind your back. There's nothing you can do. You can't change your driving style. You can't loosen your car up. You can't really do anything. If your car just, raw, won't turn around there, that track's so small and so finesse, you're just kind of doomed.
Whereas, Darlington, Texas, any of those other places, Phoenix, you can kind of change your line-up, if you will. Get a little higher getting in. Get your car a little looser. Try and burp the throttle in the center. All that stuff doesn't work at Martinsville.
Q. The teams and drivers at this level seem to burst forward at times in the points then they seem to slip, too. You've been a part of that. Did you ever sense a good wave coming or does the tide simply arrive?
GREG BIFFLE: You know, you just work at it and work at it. And this sport is so humbling. It's so tough. One day you feel like you're pretty good. The next day you're way behind.
And it is hard to keep a level head and level playing field and keep consistency. That's the most difficult thing.
When you've got something that's working and going and then all of a sudden it changes, it is very, very difficult to do that.
And we look at last year. You try and look at positive things. You try and look at the bright side. If there is anything positive, you know, if you had a flat tire or something else. It's like well we had a good car. We ran in the top five or something to that effect. You always try and make a positive and build on that. But the end of last year, New Hampshire, our first race there we were 4th quick. We were the slowest car there that had run in the top 5 all previous races.
So that was the most disappointing point in my career, almost, was to be the slowest car at the racetrack ever. And no light at the end of the tunnel. At the end of the year, we come back and we run in the top 10 most of the race, finished 13th.
We take the car to Dover, try to catch Carl in the end we finish second. We go to Phoenix, finish second. Five, six more laps we would have caught Johnson for the win. And then the season was over. And we've picked up right in those footsteps this year right where we left off last year.
But since it was in The Chase, since we were so far down in points, those finishes and that run we made hasn't really -- didn't show up anywhere, so to speak.
So really this all started toward the end of last year and everybody has worked, that inspired us for over the winter to really make sure we got it done this year.
Q. Last summer, after Greg Erwin was named your crew chief. I spoke with Greg, he's from the Philadelphia area. He said he totally understood that you might be skeptical of him because he's never been a crew chief before. But it appears things are looking out quite well. Can you talk about how that relationship has evolved?
GREG BIFFLE: Greg's doing a great job. He has an engineering background. Has been around the sport a long time. His father has. He has a lot of knowledge. And, any more, a crew chief has to wear so many hats. He has to be a team organizer. He has to be a travel agent. He has to be cheerleader for all the guys. He's got to schedule all the stuff. He becomes a manager, a business manager, if you will, of a race team.
And so getting the car to go fast is one of the very top priorities. But running the whole team. And that not a lot of people can do that efficiently. And Robbie Reiser certainly has been the model citizen when it comes to that. With him inside the organization I think helps us.
But Greg has done a fantastic job. And if we play our cards right, we're in this thing for the title this year. I feel like we've got it dead in the sights. We're on it 100 percent. And he's motivated and focused. I talked to him at 8:00 at night. We're talking on the phone for an hour about what they found and what they're working on and what we're going to go to Martinsville with and Texas.
We're staying in front of this thing. And I think that's what's going to make the difference in the long run.
Q. Do you see any advantages in a track being family-owned or because of the economic expense involved in racetracks these days, is it necessary that tracks be part of the ISC ASMI families?
GREG BIFFLE: That's a good question. I certainly think that independently owned tracks can prosper, certainly. I don't think it needs to be inside those two large umbrellas that own a lot of the race tracks.
If you will, you kind of look at it as Hendricks and Roush or whatever or one of the bigger teams. I think there's room for track owners to promote the track properly and keep the fans happy, keep the drivers happy, keep NASCAR happy with the facility. I certainly think that there's an advantage there or that they can survive. The thing where the advantage comes from is the bigger places is they basically have a lot of information, a lot of models to go off of. I guess if they had owned five or six tracks, they know what works and what to do and whatnot to do.
Where, if you only have one, you know, that may be trial and error, more so than the other guy, having a wealth and more knowledge than you. I think it kind of boils back to looking at the big teams compared to the single car teams. It's almost the same format when you look at it from that perspective. But I think it's certainly possible, because the racetrack really kind of stands on its own when it comes to our eyes. The racetrack kind of makes -- when I go to Las Vegas or when I go to Chicago or Kansas or Darlington, I couldn't even tell you who owns them, honestly, with 100 percent deal. So I look at it as the track and the facility and the way it's laid out and the way it works.
Q. No sense of romance when you go to a place like Pocono or someplace like that?
GREG BIFFLE: A little bit. Some of those places you know who owns them and you know that they're outside of that umbrella, just because they're unique. Like Loudon was and some of the other places. But I look at it as from a competitor, I drive through the tunnel and I think about where my motor home spot is, I think about what garage stall we're in. I think about how the racetrack is going to race this weekend and how we're going to get track position at the end and come out of here with a top five or a win. That's kind of my focus when I drive into a place.
Q. Real quick, can you just kind of talk on, you know, what sort of help you're given to Colin Braun because I know he's a big up and coming driver for Roush Fenway and he's leaning on your advice as well as Carl's?
GREG BIFFLE: We're certainly trying to help him. And the thing about it is a driver today has to have, I don't know what the proper word is, just has to have the drive or the energy to want to be competitive and want to be successful at this game. And to do that you've got to lean on people, whether that's your teammates or spotters or whoever you can gather information from and try and help yourself.
And I was working in my shop on Friday. I think it was Friday or it could have been Saturday. Must have been Saturday. I'm working on my shop in my sand car trying to get ready to go to the desert. And he called me. My cell phone rang and I answered it and they were at the racetrack. He wanted to talk to me about Nashville and get some pointers, tell him what I could about the racetrack.
I tried to explain the track as best I could to him. I told him what to watch for, what not to do. So he's one of the few drivers that have called me on my weekend off. He's the only driver that's called me basically at home and asked me for advice about a racetrack, which I'm more than happy. That's what we're here for, is to try and help these guys.
But I'm not going to get his number and call him in the middle of the day and tutor him on what he needs to do. He has to be the aggressor. He's got to be the car salesman, running around trying to figure out what the right thing to be doing is. And he's doing that.
Q. The fact that he's from a small town out in west Texas, does that really help him or is that kind of a hindrance?
GREG BIFFLE: I don't think at this point in his career it makes a difference where he's from. Because he's inside a good organization and he just needs to use his resources to the best of his ability. So I think that's the most important one.
Q. I guess I wanted to ask you if you could just sort of overview how the next couple of races look to you and where you think your program stands right now?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, I think that we're obviously in really good shape right now. Our program is really, really running well. I'm really nervous about Martinsville this weekend. Like I said, that place has not been my best racetrack in the past. But I'm excited about it now because we ran so well there last time.
That's what I'm excited about going back to. Texas and Phoenix, I can't wait. I just can't wait to -- I want to win a race bad. I'm not saying I can't win at Martinsville. But it is more likely for me to win at Phoenix or Texas than Martinsville.
And Talladega, of course, just throw the dice out there and see where you end up. You really can't predict anything there.
So looking forward Martinsville and Talladega are pivotal races coming up, and the rest of them we're looking forward to winning one. I'm hoping in the next four or five races we get a win under our belt.
Q. I've noticed throughout the season all of the major teams have had their chance at victory lane with Penske and Roush and Gibbs and now RCR has come alive. Why do you think it's been so mixed bag this year as opposed to last year? Is it the car?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, I'm kind of losing him a little bit, but I'll answer the question. I think it's the car. The playing field has been leveled a little bit simply by the fact that there's less we can do with this car. And everybody's starting to -- this is still all foreign ground for us, even though we've run this car for a little period of time the new car. There's still a tremendous amount we do not know about this car and are learning every day new things about it. So that can certainly make a difference.
The other thing is, if you get off a little bit, I mean before we were winning an eighth of an inch, let's say on your split or balance or whatever, just ballparking things, this thing is 30,000ths. I mean you're talking about such a fine line. And if something changes a tiny bit throughout the race, the bump spot gets a little weak or soft or whatever happens and you change your tire pressure a little bit, a little tweak here or there, you can go from being one of the fastest cars to trying to stay in the lead lap all of a sudden.
And we've seen that with the 48, Gillette-Everham cars like Casey Kahne, I've seen him a lap down almost at every race. And then at the end and, our guy's been like that, too, David Regan, and bang, they're right there.
And it's hard, with the old car, that would be a major adjustment, major change from running that bad to running that strong. And this car, the window is so small. So you see a guy hit that window perfect. Burton hit it on the nail head, right place at the right time. And then Carl just got it just perfect at California. Kyle Busch got going good at Atlanta. It's such a fine line. And it's easy to miss it.
Q. You talked about being excited about going back to Texas where you've won. How about the fact that Goodyear is coming back there with a tire they used there last year, compound slightly different for the sidewall given what went on at Atlanta and the 1.5 mile problem we saw there?
GREG BIFFLE: You know, it's hard to predict what it's going to be like when we get there. But I think they've changed the construction from what I understand the sidewall construction some and not necessarily the compound, is what I believe to be the case.
And I think they've just learned Goodyear is testing and learning just like the race teams are all the time. And they've just come up with a better construction that's overall better than the one they had. And so just makes sense to apply that new construction everywhere they go now. Now they've found an improvement, certainly they're going to use it everywhere. And you would expect them to, that construction process.
We used that tire out at Darlington. That's where I am at now. The tire is great here. It's a little too soft, a little too much grip for this racetrack, but the tire drives real, real nice.
So I'm pretty excited about going to Texas with that tire.
DENISE MALOOF: Greg, thanks very much for joining us today. And good luck this weekend.
End of FastScripts