|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
February 19, 2012
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
KERRY THARP:¬† Starting on the pole for the 2012 Daytona 500, the first Coors Light pole winner for 2012, which means, Carl, you have already qualified for the 2013 Shootout at Daytona.
The front row of Roush Fenway Fords.¬† The No.99 Fastenal Ford is sitting on the pole for the Daytona 500.¬† Owner Jack Roush.¬† I understand crew chief Bob Osborne had his father pass away and is certainly in our thoughts and prayers.
Carl, congratulations.¬† What does it feel like to be the polesitter for the biggest race in our sport?
CARL EDWARDS:¬† It's an amazing feeling.¬† I just cannot thank Jack Roush enough for all the work that he's put in.¬† Doug Yates, I feel like he should be sitting up here with us.¬† Those guys have done an unbelievable job of working through the transition to the EFI.¬† It's just amazing.¬† To know for the next week Bob and all of us are going to be working on the fastest racecar here at Daytona and preparing it for the biggest race of the season is a lot of fun.¬† It's great.
I'm glad that I'm driving it.
KERRY THARP:¬† Chip Bolin crewing the car today.¬† Congratulations, Chip.¬† Talk about when the car unloaded till the time it went to qualifying, did you think you were going to be sitting on the pole?
CHIP BOLIN:¬† We would like to think that we were going to be.¬† Our goal was to sit on the pole.¬† You come down here to try to run the fastest lap you possibly can.¬† The guys at Roush‑Yates engines have worked really hard to get us ahead on the EFI curve.¬† We were discussing last week, we felt this was the best crop of Superspeedway cars we brought to the racetrack in a long time.¬† Our entire organization was really confident about it.
Bob has built this program on steady, calculated moves.¬† We just tried to execute the plan he expected us to do, and here we are.
KERRY THARP:¬† Jack, two of your Fords up there.¬† Certainly another outstanding qualifying effort for Matt Kenseth, as well.¬† Talk about being able to start on the front row for the Daytona 500.
JACK ROUSH:¬† It obviously starts in the shop.¬† Robbie Reiser, he's under the weather today as well.¬† But he's worked really hard all winter.¬† Great manufacturing program for us.¬† Chip is behind the scenes leading the engineering group with the simulations, with the predictive things, the wind tunnel, kinematics and suspension.¬† I tease him as he's writing up new stuff all the time.
There's a lot to this.¬† There's a lot more than driving a car fast and having a fast engine.¬† You have to coordinate every piece so it's ready to do its job when it's time.
I think we may have been a little bit lucky on our wind, more favorable wind than some of our competitors.¬† I think that Greg's lap was impacted more than Carl's was.
It's just a crapshoot when you line your stuff up and see what you got.¬† When you have the great people behind the organization, if they're as diligent as they are, on a good day you can have the success we had today.
KERRY THARP:¬† The pole speed of 194.738 miles an hour, the fastest pole sitting speed for the Daytona 500 since 1999.¬† Certainly the horsepower showed through today for the Fastenal Ford.
We'll go ahead and take questions from the floor.
Q.¬† Jack, your reaction to the first Ford being on the front row for the Daytona 500 since 2007?¬† Each year's frustration versus the satisfaction to get back on the front row, but also to get a sweep this year.
JACK ROUSH:¬† It was great.¬† We had a sweep that's in the record books for 2004.¬† We had one of Robert Yates' No. 38 car and Greg Biffle's No.16 car there then.
It's great for Ford Motor Company.¬† Ford has been behind my racing and been a great partner for more than 40 years now.¬† Some days, many days, they don't get what they deserve, but today we've rejoiced in the success.¬† I'll be happy to get the phone calls early in the week from people as they go back to work and read the newspapers and figure out what happened.
Hopefully they can sell some more Fords on Monday, as well.
Q.¬† Carl, this is the fastest qualifying speed for the 500 in 13 years.¬† You're only a tick off from what Gordon ran back then.¬† How do you account for it?¬† Is it the technology, the Ford engines, maybe why did it take so long?
CARL EDWARDS:¬† It's not that simple.¬† It's not the same rules package, so a lot of that's just chance.¬† Our speed is based on what package NASCAR thinks is going to race the best and works the best for the current rules.
You can't really compare speeds here from year to year.¬† All you can do is compare where you stack up from the rest of the field on a given day.¬† For us sitting up here, that's where the pride in this accomplishment comes from.¬† Hey, we got done with the season last year, we ended on a very high note.¬† But obviously this shows that everybody went back to work hard and they brought the best racecar that we could here.
Like Jack said, the wind worked out in our favor.¬† Everything went our way.¬† But at the end of the day it's not just one Ford up there, it's two of them, two Roush Fenway Fords.¬† I think that says a lot about the organization.
Q.¬† Carl, this whole off‑season you've had to listen to everybody talk about how it was such a close championship race and finish second.¬† How does it feel to come out of the box and be first?
CARL EDWARDS:¬† It feels really nice.¬† This is our second pole in a row.¬† Feels nice to pick up right where we left off.¬† I've been telling everybody, it seems like every media question, How great would it have been to have one more point?¬† How did you deal with that this off‑season?
I think this is nice to come here and show everyone that, hey, it isn't just talk.¬† Everybody at Roush Fenway went back and worked hard and kept their heads down and dug for, just like Chip said, the best racecars we've had in a long time.¬† I thank Jack, Chip, Bob, Robbie Reiser, Doug Yates, everybody who has built these racecars, for not letting the disappointment of not winning that championship, not letting that slow us down, but instead giving us real motivation.
Q.¬† Carl, obviously you want to win next weekend.¬† That would be the ultimate.¬† You've won poles before.¬† Tell me how this rates in your career of overall accomplishments.¬† A pole is a pole, but is this any more special?
CARL EDWARDS: ¬†This is very special.¬† It's not a driving accomplishment.¬† This is a team accomplishment, this pole.¬† As a driver, any one of the drivers out there that would have gone out at the time I had gone out, would have been driving that 99 car, the Fastenal Fusion, this he would have run the same lap time I did.
This pole and these qualifying sessions at these restrictor plate racetracks, it shows you what the guys are doing at the shop, it shows you the engine capabilities, the engineering, the decisions by guys like Chip and Bob.¬† So this is about the team.¬† Today there's a lot of pride in this for everyone.¬† Just like Jack said.¬† I'm excited to have all the guys back at the shop this week know they sent the best racecars down to Daytona.
Q.¬† You're a competitive guy.¬† You've run short tracks all over the Midwest.¬† You want to win every time they drop a green flag.¬† Thursday is going to be different for you.¬† If it gets goofy out there, your spot is protected, why risk it?
CARL EDWARDS:¬† Yeah, that's one way to look at it.¬† The other thing is I know how good our backup car is.¬† I also know you can't give these other guys any advantage.
If I were to not race and not understand the dynamics that are going to happen during the daytime here at this racetrack with this package, I'd be giving them something.¬† I have to go out there as a driver and mix it up, race, see how our car handles.
But, yeah, there is a little bit of, Man, there might be something really special about this car.
I'll talk with Bob.¬† I'm sure Jack will have some words for me before that race.
JACK ROUSH:¬† We talked about it.¬† I think you've been a little late going to the front some of the time.¬† I would go to the front a little earlier.¬† That would be my advice.
CARL EDWARDS:¬† All right.¬† I just do what I'm told (smiling).¬† You guys write that and we'll see what happens.
Q.¬† Noticing your record, you have had a lot more poles in the last two years.¬† Has there been a strategy change on your team to go for pole positions, higher starting points?
CARL EDWARDS:¬† Jack hasn't been doing much carburetor tuning.
JACK ROUSH:¬† They're working me closer to the door.¬† The more this technology expands, the less there is for a dinosaur like me to do.¬† I'm just a comedian right now.
CARL EDWARDS:¬† No, Bob and I and Jack and Chip, everyone, we've recognized the last couple years that qualifying is more important, it's harder to pass.¬† I do get a lot of really good advice from Robbie and Jack and Bob about my shortcomings as a racecar driver. ¬†They've sort of kicked me in the butt a little bit.¬† We've all agreed we need to focus more on qualifying.
I think our success out there has come from some of that recognition that it is important and focusing on it.
JACK ROUSH:¬† I'd like to comment on that a little bit, too.
One of the things that happens, the qualifying event and the race are totally different, except for an impound race.¬† We've made an effort with Chip's support, the direction he's had with his guys back in the shop, to be able to bring a racecar to the track that was set up with known things that would be of benefit for a qualifying package.¬† We started with those in our practice and dedicated time that otherwise might have been fretted away on looking for that last shock absorber, that last pound of air pressure.
There has been a focus started with Chip and the guys in the shop, that the crew chiefs have carried forward, to dedicate a certain amount of time in practice for the qualifying event.
Q.¬† Carl, last year it's actually not true you didn't win the championship because you didn't win races.¬† If you would have been one position higher in any race in the Chase, you would have.¬† But when you look back on that, I know when you tie for the championship and you don't win it, it has to rack your brain at some level.¬† It racks our brain at some level.¬† Is there anything other than just luck and the way things fell that made it that way?¬† Was there any sense that you felt like you were too cautious or tried to be more consistent?¬† Is there anything at all that you would have done different?
CARL EDWARDS:¬† No (smiling).¬† It's just like the four thousandth time I've been asked that question.
We sat down and we had a meeting.¬† We all sat there.¬† It was Jack, Robbie, I think you were there, Bob and me.¬† The first thing Jack asked was the same question.¬† I started to say‑‑ Bob said, No, if we started the Chase again, we'd do the same thing, put our efforts in the same places, I wouldn't change a thing.¬† As we sat there and talked about it, there was Martinsville and Kansas in particular where we were truly running somewhere in the high 20s or low 30s, running laps down.¬† We were able to come back those days and finish, I don't know what it was, ninth in Martinsville and fifth at Kansas.
That doesn't seem as exciting as a victory.¬† But those days I was more proud of our ability to gather up those points.¬† Those two days themselves were probably 40 points that we didn't really deserve.¬† So at the end of the championship, when you look at it, we tied a guy who won half of the races.¬† I venture to say if we would have been able to win half of those races, we would have just dominated that thing.
So I guess that's the long version of me saying we did the very best we could and there weren't any races where I got out of the car and felt like, Oh, man, I could have got another spot.¬† I got out of the car at seven or eight of those races and thought, Thank you, Lord, for the spots you gave me and we were able to capitalize on it.¬† In the end it ended up a tie.
Another simple way to put it is we didn't lose it.¬† We didn't go out and do anything wrong.¬† We went out, raced hard, did well, and they came in and beat us.
Q.¬† Carl, I know that next Sunday is a long way away, there's races in between.¬† Does it give you a little bit of relief to know when the green flag falls next Sunday you're starting at the front, all the madness that could transpire like last night?
CARL EDWARDS:¬† I don't know.¬† We're likely to wreck up there in the front, too.¬† Last night I was running second behind Greg.¬† Clint was third.¬† He got turned sideways coming out of the tri‑oval.¬† I truly don't know there's a safe place on the racetrack with this style of racing.
The thing that's really good for me is that Greg, the guy who has been my partner at these restrictor plate races, is right there with us.¬† Him and I can work together.¬† I know Greg has my best interests and Roush's best interests in mind, just as I do for him.¬† That kind of makes me feel better, that we'll be together at the start, we don't need to find each other to help each other later.
Q.¬† Carl, most of the recent 500s have ended with green‑white‑checkereds.¬† Last night's racing would indicate the chances of that next week are really good.¬† Do you go into the race assuming that's going to happen and you try to strategize and plan early for that or do you hope it's not going to happen?
CARL EDWARDS:¬† Yeah, I think you have to.¬† Chip and I last night, he was calculating fuel based on going through a green‑white‑checkered.¬† I think everybody knows that that's very likely to happen.¬† As a driver, you have to in your mind plan how aggressive you're going to be and get a plan for that, too.¬† So, yeah, we take that into consideration.
Q.¬† Carl, there's this sentiment that plate qualifying doesn't matter as it pertains to where you finish on Sunday.
CARL EDWARDS:¬† That's what I've always said.¬† But I've never qualified up front.
Q.¬† Other than the marketing part of this, the exposure part of this for you, your sponsors and team, why does this matter to you?
CARL EDWARDS:¬† That's a really good question.¬† It probably wouldn't have mattered to me the first time I came down here or the second time.¬† But now, after seeing how hard everybody works all winter, how much pride the guys take in how these cars qualify, it does mean something to me.¬† It's a sign of the strength of your team.¬† It's not that we just have one car up there.¬† To have two cars, to have that whole front row, I mean, that says a lot about Roush Fenway Racing, about Ford.¬† It's huge for our sponsors.¬† You said 'other than the marketing'.¬† There is no part of our sport that is other than the marketing.
For Fastenal to be on the pole for the Daytona 500, their first Cup race, that's huge, too.
But your question is specifically, What does it mean to me.¬† It's that understanding of how much goes into it and now that I've been in it for a little while I recognize this is huge for everybody at the shot.
Q.¬† Jack, Trevor's sponsorship situation being what it is, do you think him getting a solid spot in the race helps you?
JACK ROUSH:¬† Certainly it helps.¬† Trevor is the reigning Daytona 500 champion.¬† We have not managed to put together full sponsorship for the Cup program or the Nationwide program.¬† We do have ongoing conversations.
I don't know that there will be any great improvement in our prospects based on this, but it would have certainly have been a downer if we failed to qualify or had a problem with our car on that lap.
Q.¬† Fuel injection, what has it been like so far?
JACK ROUSH:¬† Doug Yates and Ford Motor Company have set the curve.¬† We've had three or four tests.¬† I think there were four that we were invited to bring our fuel injection.¬† Our system worked better than everybody else's every time we went out.
Today it's not a well‑kept secret, but we had a qualifying calibration for the fuel injection.¬† I think that some of the speed we found in our car from the practice on Saturday to what we have had on Sunday here was the result of the work that Doug and the guys did in the shop, with Ford Motor Company's support.
The fuel injection thing has been a boon for us based on our support and partnership with Ford, the insight and inspiration that Doug and the guys have had.
Q.¬† Carl, the cars were extremely unstable last night.¬† It's the shorter spoiler, longer rear bumper and the nose, and the water temperatures were surprising.¬† You had to make a quick move.¬† All this instability, do you think they ought to do something to make the cars more stable in the rear?
CARL EDWARDS:¬† I guess you're right.¬† I don't know.¬† In my mind if they just take the front splitter off and the rear spoiler off of the thing entirely, it would be better.¬† To me the less stable they could be the better because it would separate the cars a little bit and make it a race.¬† But that's not what people want to see.¬† They want to see that pack.
What NASCAR has done, and I give them credit, they've done a really good job of making the cars just stable enough that everyone can stay together in a pack.¬† But they're not stable enough to really partner up well and push one another.
Kyle and Tony were able to do it.¬† We're going to look close at that and figure out how we can be able to do that ourselves.¬† You got to look at the big picture.¬† We have a racecar that can hold such high speeds.¬† They're trying to slow the cars down enough to where you keep them under a certain speed, but that speed makes it easier for the car to drive, then they have to take downforce away to make it harder to drive, but not so hard that the drivers complain.¬† NASCAR is just trying really hard to keep this race so that it keeps everybody happy.
Q.¬† Jack, water temperature, engine problems you foresee?
JACK ROUSH:¬† We pretty much decided that with 250 degrees water is all we recommend, water temperature.¬† It's down substantially from what we had before NASCAR got involved with a number of things they required.¬† There's limitations in the system.
Everybody that loses water in the engine has an indication that the water is leaving.¬† There may be some situations where there will be cars hit pit road for a drink of water, but I don't think it will be a major factor.¬† I think the bar has been lowered for what the tolerance is for temperature of the engine, and I think everybody understands what the impact of that is.
It's going to be okay.
Q.¬† Carl, the pole here has traditionally not meant a lot but I get the feeling you think these cars are really good in the pack and this is a car that is as good as any out there, where in years past you maybe would have won the pole and that didn't equate to running well in pack racing.
CARL EDWARDS:¬† We've been able to do the things we've done at these restrictor plate races, which for me I don't have a win yet, but we've had some really good runs with cars that were not this fast on qualifying day.¬† So to me, I'll take a little extra speed anytime.
There are times, no matter what anyone says, when you're running around in that pack, you can tell one car is just a tick faster than the other.¬† For me that's a good feeling to know I'm going to get in this Fastenal Fusion on Sunday and I've got as good a car as anyone, even if it's just a psychological placebo, really doesn't mean anything.¬† It's nice to have that feeling.
Q.¬† Carl, can you talk about balancing the fact that you want to win your Duel on Thursday versus trying to protect your primary racecar.
CARL EDWARDS:¬† We talked about that a little bit earlier.¬† I really haven't thought much about that.¬† I've never been in this position.¬† Bob and I will talk about it.¬† Like I said, I'm sure Jack will have some input.¬† We'll just decide what we're going to do.
Even if we make a change halfway through the race and say, Hey, things look smooth, let's go for it, or, Things are looking insane, let's save the car, I don't know exactly what everybody will want to do.
KERRY THARP:¬† Congratulations to Carl, Jack and Chip on winning the pole for the 2012 Daytona 500.
We'll call up Greg Biffle who will be starting on the outside pole.¬† Greg drives the No.16 3M Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, and he gets the outside pole for the 2012 Daytona 500.
Greg, you were hearing Carl talk a little bit, but it's got to be a feather in your cap and give you a little spring in your step the next few days knowing you're going to be starting up front for the Daytona 500.
GREG BIFFLE:¬† Yeah, it really is.¬† The first thing that comes to mind is what a team effort it's been getting these cars prepared, how hard everybody's worked.¬† We have fuel injection, we got all kinds of things that could play a factor in qualifying here.
One thing is apparent, we have good, fast racecars.¬† We were the fastest in both practices, felt like we may have helped the 99 a little bit.¬† Pulled the team effort together to get the front row for today, so that's exciting for us to do that.
I remember 2004, all‑Ford front row with Jack and I on the front row, then Doug Yates with Elliott Sadler in the 38 car.¬† Kind of felt the same today.¬† It's great to start up front on Sunday.
KERRY THARP:¬† Jack, I'll have you comment about Greg's performance and having the front row again.
JACK ROUSH:¬† One of the things that's in play in our team, one of the dynamics, is the jousting between Matt and Greg, as to who has been with us longer, the seniority thing.
Greg won the first championship in the Truck Series in the 1990s.
GREG BIFFLE:¬† 2000.
JACK ROUSH:¬† Then two years later he won in the Nationwide Series.¬† Greg brought us our first championship.¬† It was my embarrassment that I wasn't able to support him and get him in the Chase last year.¬† But we certainly feel we're off to a great start.¬† Greg it committed, motivated, able.¬† I'm glad he's on the front row.¬† Would have been happier if he had the pole.
KERRY THARP:¬† We'll go ahead and take questions.
Q.¬† You're one of just four guys in the field last night that wasn't involved in an accident.¬† Three of them were veteran guys with lots of experience in both pack and tandem racing.¬† What is it going to take for you and everybody else to avoid the mishaps come next Sunday?
GREG BIFFLE:¬† A lot of that, as well, is luck.¬† Hopefully my jar, won't call it my purse, over there that has my luck in it, hopefully I haven't used very much of it because I missed some big wrecks last night.¬† Every wreck I was right in the middle of it.¬† Thank goodness I didn't cause any of them.
It's a matter of paying attention to your surroundings and a lot of it is what position you're in.¬† That wreck up there with the 24, the 18, I saw the 18 wrecking on the bottom.¬† I was being told, you know, Slow down, get down.¬† Then, No, stay up, c'mon.¬† Joel changed his mind three or four times, and so did I.
I caught myself watching the 18 car.¬† I thought he was going to come back across the track.¬† I'm watching the 18, I've got the gas down, I'm on the brakes, I have the gas down.¬† Then Joel is telling me, Get to the bottom.¬† I look forward and I see the 24 car is in the air.¬† I dang near ran right into that wreck because I was watching the 18 come back up the racetrack at me.
I went from full throttle back to skidding the tires again, then turning down the racetrack and getting by all that stuff.¬† It's just paying attention to what's going on and hopefully nobody's coming at you at that angle.
It's going to be the same way for the 150s and the 500.
Q.¬† How difficult is it that you don't have radio communication with other drivers?
GREG BIFFLE:¬† It's actually not any more difficult because we weren't tandem racing.¬† I'm not typically going to be talking to another driver anyway.¬† I was behind that car, that car, that car, then that car.¬† I was never with another car, other than I pushed Kyle to the lead that one time.¬† So that was only half a lap.
Really, it's kind of a non‑issue since the cars are broke apart.¬† If we were tandem racing, I would say we should be talking to each other.¬† But it doesn't really work out now with the spoiler and all the stuff.
Q.¬† Jack, one of the reasons that tag‑team drafting is not going to be is people have been told you can't do that because of the overheating issues.¬† Does it concern you or how do you manage it that in the biggest race of the season with the laps winding down, the same way that some guy might not be able to make it on gas, but he's going to go for it at the end of the race, do you worry with the race on the line there's the danger of an engine blowing and causes mayhem at the end of the race?
JACK ROUSH:¬† I'm watching it just like you.¬† You should be asking Greg that question.¬† The point that's there is there's a limit to how long the engine can keep its water.¬† There's a limit to how long it will go on fuel.¬† As you approach the checkered flag, in a perfect world you'd use all your fuel up, your engine and water up, you'd get the checkered flag in time.
It is true that these cars are hard to push now.¬† It is true that they're loose.¬† But I believe it will be the case that the race will be decided, much as it was for the Shootout, with two cars that tag up, that connect, and that are the best two cars running together.¬† Not necessarily the best car is going to win the race, but the best two cars are going to have the chance to do it.¬† I think the best two cars will win the race, but I don't think they'll spend much time doing it throughout the race, which is I think one of the criticisms that fans have.
GREG BIFFLE:¬† You're exactly right.¬† You're right up the alley.¬† We could beat this horse to death, but the facts are the fans kind of spoke out, wanted to see these cars back in a larger pack.¬† I think NASCAR wanted to see that as well.¬† The drivers were about half and half.¬† They started implementing things to try to break them apart.
I think lowering the back bumper another two inches really keeps the cars apart now because I can have a run at that car in front of me, I'm going to push him.¬† I get within two feet from him and I start looking around, look at the gauges, see if the engine is still running because it just stops, then that guy takes off like he pushed the turbo button.¬† That air just pushes his car.¬† It keeps the cars from being bumper‑to‑bumper, driving around all the time.
Carl and I tried it yesterday.¬† I pushed Kyle to the lead.¬† But it's hard to stay connected to the car, for one.¬† Two, it's going to overheat.¬† Here is what typically happens when a car overheats.¬† It blows the water out, which you can see.¬† Then the gauge is flashing red.¬† As it continues to get hotter and hotter and hotter, it starts losing power, so the car starts slowing down, which is a good thing.
I'm not saying every engine will do that.¬† Jack knows as well as I do, they'll blow the water out, start getting hot, blow a head gasket, or just start losing power.¬† It's that simple.¬† It just starts expiring.¬† It won't break like that (snapping fingers).¬† It will just start losing power, most likely.¬† That's what happens to them.
Q.¬† Jack, it seems like maybe we're just perceiving it wrong.¬† Seems like Ford recently stepped up their support.¬† You guys are in the front, on the pole.¬† Is there more support behind the scenes from Ford than in years past?¬† Maybe the economy is turning around.¬† Or has the level remained the same?
JACK ROUSH:¬† There's a new sheriff over there.¬† Jamie Allison got his job two years ago.¬† He has his legs under him, doing a real nice job.¬† Annie does a nice job.¬† Ford has been really consistent and trying to do the right things for the race teams for a long time.¬† The team they have right now is doing much better than average and they're getting enough experience right now to figure out how to bring the resources of Ford to bear.
Two years ago we had an issue with our simulations not doing what they might.¬† We had to make our changes one at a time.¬† You couldn't make a bar change, a wedge change and an air pressure change at the same time.¬† Of course, the FR‑9 engine has come on, Doug has done a nice job with that.¬† Actually had it with ARCA yesterday on the pole.¬† Done well with it with Nationwide with the championship with Ricky.
It's a special time for Ford.¬† NASCAR is committed to have everyone on the same template package as far as aero is concerned.¬† It means the nuances, the things you do with a 4/10ths model schedule, the things you do with simulations is important.¬† Ford is behind us on all that and they're doing a great job.¬† You're not wrong in saying that Ford has really stepped up.
Q.¬† Greg, with the 150s on Thursday, any special strategy for the duels?
GREG BIFFLE:¬† Certainly primary concern, protect the racecar.¬† We know that we want to start the race with this 500 car.¬† We got a lot of work into it.
Secondly, we needed to get in competition with this car, see how it drives, see what adjustments we need to make to it, what we want to do to it.
Obviously starting on the front row or on the pole for that 150, that's going to be a good spot.¬† We'll try and maneuver our way and stay up front.¬† I'm sure at some point we'll be back in a little bit of traffic.¬† But we don't want to get back in the latter part of this event three‑wide or something, back where guys are fighting for their life to try to get in the 500.
We want to be coherent and pay attention to that.¬† We're going to race it just like normal.¬† But if something happens, we get in a predicament where we don't feel comfortable, or I don't, I'll probably ease my way out of that position.¬† But for the most part we're planning on racing it just like normal.¬† I know the crew chief is not super excited about that.¬† That's what we need to do to get this car ready for the 500.
Q.¬† It looked today during the second qualifying lap some of the cars were starting through throw out water halfway through the lap.¬† Given the changes in the fuel delivery system, with the rule changes that NASCAR made to the package, is there a more radical difference today between qualifying and race trim than there used to be at these tracks?
GREG BIFFLE:¬† Not so much, other than before we used to be able to have qualifying radiators.¬† We had giant radiators in the car with a ton of water capacity and we could tape the front solid.¬† Some of the cars were taped solid.¬† It makes a heck of a difference on the speed.¬† It's extremely different on speed.
But the problem is the engine will overheat.¬† Once it gets that certain temperature, like I talked about, it starts losing power.¬† Then your speed is overcome by your engine losing power and you have a chance of hurting it and not being able to run the 150.
There are differences now.¬† A lot of times the water you see coming out is just the expansion tank, the water getting to 250, it not having enough of an air gap, it will make itself a little bit of room by puking just a little bit of water.¬† We see that a lot of times in qualifying at different places.
Q.¬† I'm a little worried about cars being so unstable that when you get a run with two cars, like Kurt Busch Friday night, when he has to make a move, the guy behind can't see very well, both cars get unstable and you're sideways.¬† The blocking also seems to be back in vogue.
GREG BIFFLE:¬† Take and replay the 2005, 2006, 2004 of the old car, it's exactly the same.¬† Cars are sliding all over the place.¬† I mean, they don't slide now near as bad as they used to before they repaved it.¬† Before they repaved it, you were death grip on the steering wheel constantly.¬† It's hard for you guys.¬† Nobody in here knows what that used to be like except for us that were inside that car.¬† The thing would almost spin out by yourself in a qualifying lap.¬† Now you could drive it with one finger because the track has so much grip.
Anytime in history that you've tried to push a car, Carl and I know this very well, so does Jack, Talladega 2008 I think, Carl tried to push me out to the front.¬† We were almost to the lead.¬† He was maybe three feet down on my left side, tried to push me in the middle of the corner just a little bit at Talladega.¬† We spun out and it wrecked all our cars.
That's what I saw last night and in practice when Tony pushed on the 51 car, when Kurt moved up, spun him out.¬† When these other guys pushed on the 20, wasn't square on his bumper, you're going to spin him out.¬† Going around the corner, the car has a lot of G forces on it.¬† If you push it in the wrong spot, it's going to spin out.
My car drives pretty stable.¬† David Ragan was in front of me last night.¬† His car was so loose, I'm glad I was not driving it.¬† But my car, on the other hand, was stuck to the racetrack like glue.¬† I could drive it anywhere.¬† Yeah, when Kyle was pushing me, I was like this, white knuckling it, because it just pushes the back of the car around.
I don't know how you fix that.¬† Right now I think the balance is pretty good on drivability and how long you can push each other.¬† I mean, for what NASCAR was going for, see more of the big‑pack racing, I think the balance right now is pretty good.
Let's face it, when you saw big packs like that, it was always a five‑ or six‑car wreck minimum.¬† That's just the facts, unless one guy spins off to the bottom, like the 15 did.¬† When you're bunched up like that, one guy wrecks, you're going to see six guys in it.
KERRY THARP:¬† Greg, Jack, congratulations.¬† Good luck the rest of the Speedweeks.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports