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February 16, 2013
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
KERRY THARP: Joining us now is our race runner‑up, Greg Biffle.
Greg, talk about first time out there in your new Ford Fusion gen six car as far as official competition.
GREG BIFFLE: Things went pretty well. Today obviously we figured out when we were doing qualifying practice that maybe we were behind a little bit on speed to some of these other cars. Normally we're pretty near the front. We were around the 20s today on speed. Granted, that was a different car.
Obviously that transferred into this car tonight. So we were just off a little bit on speed. We could not run with the 14, 20, 29, was pretty fast. So there was a group of cars that were faster than us. Unfortunately when you get in that position all you can do is stay in line because your car is draggy and slow.
This being said, I had a good run on the 29 on the top. I was pushing and shoving on him a little bit, had him loosened up. I had room in the top, but he just closed the door there in the middle of the corner, first part of the corner. I thought about sticking it in there. It didn't look like it was going to work to me. It looked like it was going to be sparks and parts flying, so he kind of shut the door on the top. That's what Kevin needed to do to win the race.
When I looked in the mirror, I didn't have anybody behind me pushing me. I thought somebody might give me a shove and I might be able to try something else.
But we learned a little bit. We have a ways to go in our 500 car to try and be competitive on Sunday for the 500.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions now.
Q. Greg, you said Kevin did what he needed to do to win the race. On Tony, the block down there, looked like more of a classic restrictor plate block. On you, it looked borderline slide job. You sound like you consider the block he did on you to be legit and part of the game, is that correct?
GREG BIFFLE: Really, it is. Joey gave me a big shove. I didn't chase Kevin downhill. I got a huge run. Kevin was just barely clear of me when he came back up in front of me.
When he came back in front of me, I had a little momentum, so it sucked me up to his bumper. I was pushing on him into the corner. I was pushing him as hard as I could push him and he could still drive it. I slid to the top on him.
It was borderline whether there was enough room there. He was kind of moving up to block. You know, you wish you would have tried it. You're kind of glad you didn't. Obviously, if we both wrecked in a pile of parts over there, neither one of us get anything out of it. I was about 99% sure that was what was going to happen.
Once you're moving up in the corner, a guy sticks his nose right in there, the air pushing the back of your car the wrong way. So he was going to go up against the fence. I've been there a hundred times. There's no way that that move was going to work.
I was still against his bumper and I was going to try to move to the bottom, but there's just nobody behind me at that point. These cars get separated pretty quick.
Q. You keep talking about pushing. It seemed like nobody is unanimous that it works. Does it work for you and not everyone else? Second question, do you like the car?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I mean, I like the car. I like the way it drives. The car drives well. Maybe we'll work on the aero package a little bit to try to get to where we can run the bottom. The car stalls out really fast. It's got a lot of drag and the car stalls out fast.
You know, you can't push somebody unless somebody shoved you up to the back of them. You can stay on them. When you get to a certain speed, they just pull off of you, just like magically they just drive away off your front bumper. Like when your engine gets enough rpm, it can't push any more, the front guy pulls away from you. It happens on the restart, happens all the time. If you have somebody behind you, that's the way you can get up to the guy and give him a little shove.
Q. Given the dynamics, the early crash, then your experience, what is the takeaway going into the Daytona 500 with these cars and what do you expect?
GREG BIFFLE: You know, I heard some guys talk about old school racing, '04, '05. It's will be like that. But when the car would get kind of a run, or you would get sucked up there and you would pull out, the car would continue to kind of accelerate before it died off with its momentum.
Now it seems like the car, you get a run, you pull out there, you side draft a guy, it's like you put the brakes on. The thing has just a bunch of drag. It's really hard to maneuver and get a run.
But the thing about it is, when you get 43 cars out there, that's going to be a ton different. It will be a lot different. Then the bottom line is going to work, there's going to be a middle.
A couple people probably aren't happy. I went up the middle a few times. Some guys tried it and made it work. The middle actually worked okay for me. I got put in the middle one time. I gained a few spots.
With more cars out there, I think it will be better.
Q. (No microphone.)
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I think so. Definitely the two‑car tandem thing is completely gone. The bump‑drafting, you'll still get some, because when you have that bigger pack, you'll get shoved up to the guy in front of you. It will probably be that old school pack like that.
Q. (No microphone.)
GREG BIFFLE: Possibly. We'll have to wait and see.
Q. Greg, do you think, therefore, with 43 cars on the track, however many you're running at the end of the 500, you'll see a slingshot pass at the end for the win or is that done?
GREG BIFFLE: No, I think you will. We were really learning about this car still. When I was behind the 29 before the end of the last segment, I tried a few runs at him. I would back up to Joey Logano, he was probably wondering what was going on, back to Joey's bumper, the air would just shove me off. I was just messing around seeing if I could do anything.
It's going to take more than that. It's going to take more than that to get that pass made. But I will say that the 20, the 14, some other cars, will be able to make that pass. The 20 can drive down there by himself. There's just some cars that got more speed than others. We're going to have to work on our cars to get them to where we can do that.
I've been in this position before. The last few years, I've enjoyed being one of the fastest cars at restrictor plate racing. Now we're not quite the fastest. We got a little bit of work to do. But can't be the fastest all the time.
Q. In that respect, as far as Matt goes, it looks like you and he could have had some success if you'd been able to stay together in that last segment. Looked like he could drive away from the cars that were behind him. Was it simply the fact you couldn't get up to him?
GREG BIFFLE: That last segment, I don't think I lifted on the throttle one time, never touched the brake pedal. That was as fast as my car would go. He would just drive away from the front bumper of me a couple car lengths. I was going as fast as I could go.
Q. Is it weird with Matt out there not as your teammate?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah. I mean it is a little bit. It is weird when I look at that car. I'm completely confused because Joey is driving a yellow car, too. I'm trying to figure out whose yellow car is whose. They both have 2s on them, too.
There again, you're going to go with the fastest car. Doesn't matter who it is. You're going to try to run with whoever you can. It seemed like the 43 was pretty fast. He was sucked up on my rear bumper pretty good most of the time. They may have some speed.
KERRY THARP: Thank you, Greg.
We are now joined by our third‑place finisher, Joey Logano.
Joey, talk about your first official race in the new Shell‑Pennzoil banner and driving a Ford, talk about how things went for you tonight.
JOEY LOGANO: Thought it went pretty smooth. This race is a huge race to get a race under our belts. Had a new spotter with Tad up there. For me and Todd, Gordon worked together. A lot of big things come out of this race. I think of this as a pre‑season football game, it's a pre‑season race that we can work some things out. I feel like we did that.
I would kind of second what Greg said, I felt like both our cars were pretty equal and we really wouldn't make the move to go out there and do anything because I didn't feel like our cars were fast enough. There were a select few cars that were very good out there, could do some things.
I did make a move there at the end. I did have enough speed. I went to the bottom and was able to get the third by the time got to the checkered flag. Once I got to the bottom, I knew I didn't have enough speed to get the lead, so I was really hoping they would wreck each other.
Really overall a good way to start. Feel like we have a good list of things we can go over to help our 500 car and I feel like we have some good speed in the car and feel like we can get the pole tomorrow. Got some momentum going.
KERRY THARP: Questions for Joey.
Q. You did get out front for a little bit there. Could you tell any difference at all? You were battling out there with a couple of the guys, not even for a whole lap.
JOEY LOGANO: Never quite got there 'cause the one time I did make a move early in the race, I had a run, joked with momentum, not with my brain. Went to try to make the move and get the lead while everybody was freight training up against the wall. Went for it, almost got there, did not get there, went all the way to the back.
Said, Okay, last time I do that.
I got back to third. That whole second segment, we rode that place. Try to do something here at the end of this thing.
I feel like we did what we can do with the car we had. I feel like we can make some things a lot better with it. We'll work on that. I thought overall our car handled decent. I think some guys were having a handful. We made some adjustments on our car to make it better, but it wasn't really that big of a handful out there.
Just like Greg said, it's hard to get the huge run and enough to make sure you get by everybody was the really tricky part.
Q. Joey, there was a wreck early in testing here that precluded a lot of drafting. There was a wreck yesterday that prevented drafting. There was a wreck early in this race. Do you feel like you've learned a lot about drafting yet?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, I could tell in the beginning of the race we started off fairly conservative, kind of running two‑wide. Couldn't make any ground up. Really needed to get three‑wide, make some moves. Everybody was kind of conservative.
Towards the end of the run, everybody's tires were wearing a little bit, everybody got bored I think and wanted to make something happen. You could see it coming. Both Gibbs cars were coming down the center. All right, here we go. I thought it was going to happen in the front straightaway, but it happened in turn one.
It was finding our limit of how close can we get to each other, how hard can we drive these things before we lose control of them. Tonight really is the most grip we're going to have. That was the most we're going to get. It's really cool out. Anything from here, it's just going to keep getting warmer.
Grip is going to go away and handling is going to be more of a factor, which I think is a good thing.
We'll see what happens. I had to catch it a few times. I'm sure a lot of guys did, too.
Q. Joey, your impressions of the car. You were one of the few guys who thought there still might be some tandem. Have you changed your opinion after 75 laps?
JOEY LOGANO: I pushed down the back straightaway a few times, gave guys these huge runs. But I was doing it for different reasons than what I used to do it for. I used to try to stay with them, go to the front. Now I'm trying to shove someone out, trying to move up in the freight train, you know what I mean? Everyone was doing kind of the same thing.
It's just different. I think we have to kind of figure it out. Kind of like Greg said, I didn't feel like my car was quite fast enough to go out and make those moves. So when I got to someone, I could push them instead of trying to make the move.
I thought overall the cars are good. They're cool. They look good. I think they put on a pretty good race. I think there might be some adjustments we may want to make to them to always make it better. You never stop improving. We can always keep working on things like that.
We got what we got and I think we'll put on a good 500 for you.
Q. Talk about maybe having difficulty making moves, yet both the wrecks are guys who seemed to misjudge how fast somebody was coming up next to them. Is there a certain time where people are just getting a really good push or are guys not expecting people to be able to make the move so they think they have time to move?
JOEY LOGANO: I think we're aggressive with the block we know if we get shoved out of line, it's going to be really hard to get back up there. We're going to do everything we can do to protect what we go.
It's really, really close. I think once you kind of get back in the rhythm of it, too, I think it's just, yeah, a product of us racing really close and being really aggressive, protecting what we got, making sure we don't get shuffled out.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports