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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: SUBWAY FRESH FIT 600


March 4, 2012


Greg Biffle

Kevin Harvick


AVONDALE, ARIZONA

KERRY THARP: Let's get started in our post‑race. We'll roll right into the eighth annual Subway Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event here at Phoenix International Raceway, Race 2 of the 2012 season, and our third‑place finisher and currently second in points is Greg Biffle. He drives the No.16 3M Ford for Roush‑Fenway Racing. Congratulations on a very strong run out there today, and you're second in points heading into LasVegas. You've got to have a good feeling about all of that.
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I really do. You know, I certainly would have thought we would have run better today than we did. We fought the car really bad beginning of this race. I guess the track is just a lot different than it was on Friday. I don't care so much for this format of doing all of our practice on Friday when we get here. I like to practice and qualify, and then Saturday we have happy hour. We have two race practices to get ready for the race.
It's difficult coming into a green racetrack and doing all your race stuff in one day to get set up for the race and just qualify on Saturday. It was challenging, and I missed it a little bit. Matt never gave up on the car. He kept adjusting on it, adjusting on it. I never thought it would get that good. I was in trouble. I was ready to write that thing off for a 15th, 20th place finish, but boy, it started coming around, coming around, and really took off.
Certainly excited about how they got the car going. But I got it off a little bit for today's race. I probably was being a little aggressive. Great third‑place finish, you know.

Q. I didn't catch your last pit stop. Did you have any issues with fuel?
GREG BIFFLE: I didn't. We just made sure it was full, and then I started saving right from there when I could. Lift a little bit early on the straightaways if I'm not catching the guy in front of me or whatever. So I was saving. And then as we got longer in the run, we got those few caution laps, so that helped us. But there with about 20 to go, they were panicked to say the least. I heard the panic in their voice. He's like, they did an 860 behind you‑‑ they did an 80, you did a 60. They wanted me to slow down, slow down, slow down, and I felt like I had saved enough gas, so I kind of kept my rhythm about where I had it.
And then with four laps to go, he sounded desperate. So I backed up a little bit more and started kind of drafting those lap cars. And then they're like the 29 is running out, try and pass him, try and pass him. I'm like, well, a little late for that, but yeah, I mean, you should have told me that a lap ago, I could have passed him. So I missed him by, I don't know, 100 feet at the start finish line, and we've still got gas in the car. I made the cool down lap and came back and still running and no flicker of fuel pressure, so I know I've at least still got one lap. That being said, I could have probably easily caught the 29 since he ran out, but obviously not the 11.

Q. Can you appreciate what Tony Stewart went through today? Did you hear about him? He shut it off to save fuel and the thing wouldn't come back. Is this new technology something that's going to take a few races to work out?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, you could have wrote the story writer to the season starting. There's going to be growing pains with this system. Some people are just going to go out, it hasn't even been hot yet. Wait until it gets hot at racetracks like Indy and other places. I don't know how much heat these things are able to handle. That may be an issue at some point. Not starting, cam sensors not recognizing when you shut it off and you're not using the starter but you're using the clutch. There's all kinds of technology when this‑‑ if you cycle‑‑ you can't cycle the battery switch because it'll go into boot mode and the ECU‑‑

Q. Is it your policy not to shut the engine off?
GREG BIFFLE: No, I shut it off today coasting. I've been testing this winter, so...

Q. You finished third in a car that you said wasn't to your liking. What kind of confidence does that give you when you do feel like your car is working on all cylinders?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, certainly don't want to be greedy, but I thought myself or the 5 would have won the race today, honestly. My car was just so good, and qualifying‑‑ you know, I got high in 3 and 4 and was in that fuzz, and came back and I wasn't very fast crossing the white, and the second lap I come back and qualified seventh. I knew my car was just super fast.
But I went a little more aggressive on the front end than I‑‑ I was a little nervous about it with the heat today and how warm it was, if what I was going to do was going to work out. I was trying to keep the front end right on the track real good, and it slid the nose and shattered the front tire. I fought that all day. It would be loose in and then shatter the tire when I'd try to go to the gas, so I made a little bit of a mistake probably, but I guess we could have only been two spots better. But Vegas I won't make that same mistake.

Q. How do you feel this year compared to last year at this time when you got off to a slow start?
GREG BIFFLE: I'm feeling really good. I've got all new guys. I've got guys working really hard on the car, crew chief and team, and a guy that's really, really smart paying attention to all the fine details, and that's Matt Puccia, and that's the reason why we got two third‑place finishes is because of his leadership and his decision making on pit road on what to do to the car. It's executed, he's thinking about it. He makes the decisions he wants, and that's why we're sitting here now.
KERRY THARP: Greg, thanks a lot, and we'll see you in LasVegas. Good run today.
Our race runner up at today's eighth annual Subway Fresh Fit 500 is Kevin Harvick, and he drove the No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Second‑place finish today and Kevin is third in points, eight out of the first‑place points leader. Kevin, talk about‑‑ I know you said there on pit road that you were proud of your team for gutting it out here today even though you ran just a little bit shy of Sunoco there at the end.
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, when you come out of caution they tell you you're nine laps short, you really don't think there's any possibility to make it. But a couple cautions and a little bit of saving and a little bit tighter crunch on the numbers, we wound up about a lap short.
But those are the types of things you've got to do to take the chances, and when you're close enough to at least coast around, they did a good job. So we came here and struggled at the last race here and ran 25th, 30th all day and came back and raced for a win today. So they've done a good job over the winter, and hopefully that continues over the next few weeks in the preparation that they've done through the winter.

Q. I guess a key question is if you had not run out of gas, do you think you would have been able to pass Denny there at the end?
KEVIN HARVICK: I don't think so. Our cars were pretty evenly matched. Really the whole second half of the race, he was a little bit better on the restarts and was able to kind of scoot by on the one restart there, I lost a couple spots, so that was our weak point of the day was the restarts.
We were able to match him, make up a little bit of ground, and just‑‑ I don't know that there would have been enough time.

Q. In trying to determine how much fuel you had left, how big of an issue was the new EFI system for your guys to try to calculate?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, with the EFI it didn't really‑‑ really, you have kind of a little bit more of a cushion because the EFI kind of kept us running there at the end. Basically what it does is knocks the engine down to just a minimum RPM, it's like a rev limiter and that's basically caution car speed there and that's as fast as it'll go. But it will keep running.
It got us back to the start finish line, and it ran out coming off of Turn 2 after the checkered. You can really be pretty aggressive because you don't have to worry about the things restarting. It has an electric fuel pump if you have to come on pit road, so you can be a little bit more aggressive.

Q. Kevin, were you aware of Tony Stewart's problem refiring his car, and have you had any issues with turning the engine off and refiring it when you're trying to save fuel?
KEVIN HARVICK: I feel like we've done a good job preparing for a lot of these situations, not to say that something is not going to go wrong. We went through fuel mileage, on‑off switch. We have a procedure that looks like a video game that the guys from ECR have come up with, from saving fuel to how to turn the engine on and off, if the engine won't refire, how to reset it. So there's procedures that go with‑‑ that guys at ECR have come up with on the McLaren system, and we've run across some of those problems but feel like we've fixed them, too.

Q. I know there's always an issue when you practice on a cold track and then you race on a hot track, but with the new construction of this track and in the race yesterday, the guys decided not to put tires on because they were having a hard time with cold tires on the track, and I was wondering, how is it different for you racing yesterday and then racing today with the tires and the difference in temperature?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, we didn't end on four tires today, I can promise you that, after yesterday. But our car was faster on two tires than it was on four tires. Our weakness was still the restarts and getting grip, but we were better with restart grip on two tires than we were with four. So the tracks‑‑ whether it was cool or hot, it stayed pretty consistent, and for two races now I think it's put on pretty good shows.

Q. You sounded so calm after the race was over on the radio. Even though you finished second, it really seemed like a team‑building situation for you and Shane and the guys. You sounded like you really seemed to be on a quest to find the championship you've been looking for.
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, this is obviously a group of guys that has been together for a while, and in the end, I have to help be that team leader to be able to keep the guys together, whether it's a good day or bad. A lot of them may think it's a bad day, but obviously we all want to win, but in the end, finishing second and being in contention for race wins and having the speed in the car is really what you're looking for early in the year, and if you can knock out a couple wins, that's what you want to do.
It's definitely‑‑ we have to build it one week at a time, and that confidence and that character that comes with winning or losing is part of it.

Q. We had a race today where a group of guys led chunks of laps, you and then Kyle, the 48 and of course the 11 at the end. What was behind all that? Was there adjustments, car adjustments? Did the track change? What put different guys up front for such long stretches?
KEVIN HARVICK: You know, I think some of it probably had to do with tire strategy, and when guys had to put four on they'd get shuffled back and when you put two on, you'd keep your track position up front. You know, I think it was a group of cars that were probably the fastest cars all day and probably those are the ones that you're talking about.

Q. Usually you've run toward the middle of the pack for most of the race and then you inch your way closer and then try to win at the end. How did it feel today to have a dominant car for a majority of the day? You were always up front.
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, that's the way we'd like to do it. We don't intentionally qualify in the middle of the pack, and I think qualifying helped us get our track position and keep our track position all day. Shane called a good race, and we were able to keep ourselves up front. I think a lot of that starts with qualifying.
KERRY THARP: Kevin, congratulations on a good run. We'll see you in LasVegas.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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