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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: AARON'S 499


May 4, 2014


Greg Biffle

Clint Bowyer


TALLADEGA, ALABAMA

KERRY THARP:¬† Coming in now, our second and third place finishers from today's race.¬† Our race runner‑up was Greg Biffle.¬† He's the driver of the No.16 3M Window Film Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, and our third place finisher is Clint Bowyer.¬† He's the driver of the No.15 Peak Antifreeze Motor Oil Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.
Let's first hear from Greg.  You led a lot of laps today.  You looked like you were in contention for the win.  Maybe tell us what happened there towards the end of the race, those final couple of restarts.
GREG BIFFLE:¬† You know, the last few restarts were actually really good for us.¬† The 88 or somebody got‑‑ I think the 11 got shoved by or they got a run on the top, and you know, this racetrack is so wide here, I didn't really even attempt to block or try and go up and block the upper lane really just because you lose some momentum and it's so wide, so I just really focused on staying on the bottom and trying to keep the momentum up.
That final restart Clint gave us a huge, huge push, and we had a huge run at the 11 car.  I looked in the mirror and I saw the smoke behind me, and I wasn't really sure whether the caution was going to come out and I didn't know what to do and I thought about making my move on the 11 right then because I had a huge run and I could have, and then probably off of 2 I could have passed him again, got beside him and sucked by him.
But I just didn't want to pass too early.¬† I was going to be the lone soldier on the outside lane, and I was going to be 15th by the time we got back around to the start‑finish line.¬† So I was just waiting.¬† I was backing up off of him quite a bit on the back stretch, and I got probably two and a half, three cars away from him, and then they said caution's out.¬† I was setting up to go by him but just never had the chance.
I wish I would have known we weren't going to race all the way back, but it was a good day for us.  The car was really fast, a lot of speed, and just happy to come out of here with a clean car.
KERRY THARP:  Clint, you certainly came on strong the last portion of that race, were up there, had an opportunity to win.  Just talk about your performance today.
CLINT BOWYER:  Yeah, you know, long day, long race, but it's all about being there at the end.  The only way I know to guarantee myself and my team that I can at least give them a chance is to be patient and be boring, lead a boring race there for a while and then go for broke at the end.  We did that, we got up in position and everything was going right, and it's just like Greg said, you're kind of damned if you do, damned if you don't.
I liked the situation that I was in for sure.¬† I knew Greg was going to try something, you know, and we did have a big push at him, and you see those guys crashing in the rear view mirror, and you're like, history has shown usually if they're straightened up not sitting in the middle of the racetrack we're going to finish this thing under green, and if you pull out right there and win the race right there, you might be 15th by the time you get two miles back over here to the start‑finish line.
We finished third.

Q.  Where exactly were you on the track when the caution came out, and once you realized there was a bumper laying in the middle of the track, were you kind of surprised that they waited that long?
GREG BIFFLE:¬† Yeah, so I was‑‑ we were about halfway down the back stretch maybe, or so, about halfway down the back, I guess.¬† I thought when I saw the smoke and I was trying to make a decision to go or not, then I decided to wait.¬† I figured once we got in the middle of 1 and 2, if the caution wasn't out there, it wasn't going to come out.¬† I figured, okay, we're good all the way back.
I figured if it hadn't come out yet, we were going to be okay.  Yeah, when I got back around, I was wondering why nobody told me that there was half of a car laying in the track, we probably aren't going to race back so go ahead and try and pass him now, but that's a lot to happen in a short amount of time.
CLINT BOWYER:¬† That's exactly right.¬† You're sitting there waiting on your spotter to give you some kind of confirmation whether we're going to race back to the start‑finish line or not so you can try to do something in a short amount of time, and they're doing the same thing.¬† They're looking at that and all the while trying to protect you‑‑
GREG BIFFLE:  You're hoping they're looking at where you're at.
CLINT BOWYER:  Exactly.  It's a wild situation.  It was kind of funny, we all see the smoke and it was 400 yards behind us.  We're supposed to be looking out the windshield.

Q.  For either of you, we have three hours of building tension and the laps wind down and you know it's going to be a big shootout at the end and all that.  How frustrating is it for the race to end under yellow?
CLINT BOWYER:¬† It's just frustrating because of the simple fact that we both thought we had an opportunity to pounce and make a move for the win.¬† It's not. ¬†NASCAR did the right thing there.¬† You can't put people in danger right there.¬† If there's another green‑white‑checkered, everybody would have been out of gas.¬† It's just too much going on right there, and unfortunately we don't always see that crazy wild finish to the end.¬† But I don't think that's on NASCAR.¬† I think they did the right thing there, and unfortunately it was just‑‑ didn't lead to that big wild crazy finish right there at the end.

Q.  Both of you guys, aching to win in contract years, coming so close now, is it frustrating or is it a little gratifying that you guys are there but not there?
CLINT BOWYER:  Any time you finish on the podium at Talladega you're somewhat excited but any time you're that close to the front and taking that checkered flag, it's pretty easy to get greedy in this sport.  It's kind of just a little bit of both.
GREG BIFFLE:  Yeah, I mean, it's sort of bittersweet for us.  We've run a little bit better in the last couple weeks, and I wasn't sure how we were going to run here.  I was extremely happy with the speed my car had on Friday and then today all day.  Really happy with it.
Our restrictor plate program is in decent shape.  We've still got some work to do, but it sure would have been nice to get a win toward the Chase, but we've got some great racetracks coming up, as well.  It would have been nice.

Q.  Speaking of which, Greg, racetracks for you, five guys have won Kansas twice, including you.  Just what would it mean to step on the podium next week and be that first guy to win three for lots of reasons?
GREG BIFFLE:¬† Yeah, I didn't know that stat.¬† I'd be super excited to win there to start with, but to be a guy to win‑‑ first guy to win three there would be pretty neat.¬† I love that racetrack.¬† It's a lot of fun to race on.¬† Puts on a good race.
CLINT BOWYER:  Thanks, Greg, appreciate that.  Great place to go, great place to visit.
GREG BIFFLE:  I love Kansas.  I love Clint's hometown, too.

Q.  Clint, if you can talk about, was it any more challenging coming up through the pack?  I think some guys talked about they felt like it was kind of becoming more difficult, and if so, why, because this is certainly a place everybody kind of thinks you can go back and forth so much.
CLINT BOWYER:  I don't think it's becoming more difficult.  Ever since we've kind of went to this last rule package, it's really locked the pack together, and you just kind of get gridlocked, no separation, and you don't really have that big pull up to the front car as fast as they used to where you could kind of manipulate the situation and get yourself going.  There's a lot of side drafting and things like that, but at the end of the day when you're doing that, you're kind of stalling both cars out with this package.
You know, timing for me today, you couldn't‑‑ start of a run, you couldn't just blast up through them.¬† There was no way; they were three wide.¬† Without trying to force the issue and going four wide and doing something stupid early in the race, there was no way you could do that.¬† For me you just had to wait, let them thin out, let those tires way out a little bit.¬† It looked to me about 20, 25 laps into our run things would kind of separate out and calm down, you saw some separation in cars, then you could kind of get a run and drive your way up to the front.

Q.  Is there any sort of code or understanding among the driving corps, especially at these tracks, that if you're many, many laps down, not one or two, that you drive differently or get out of the way or move or anything like that?
CLINT BOWYER:  Seems like common sense is one of your strong suits.  (Laughter.)

Q.  So that's your answer, it's a common sense decision?
CLINT BOWYER:  Looked to me like it.

Q.  For both of you, today's race was rather warm.  I heard multiple drivers on the scanners saying that they were having problems with their feet getting rather hot.  Was this the most discomfort you've had so far in the car this year?
CLINT BOWYER:  It's just excruciating out there, it's unbelievable.
GREG BIFFLE:  I'm glad somebody else's feet were hot because mine were on fire all day.  It wasn't even that hot out.
CLINT BOWYER:¬† Did you do the old cross‑over for a while?
GREG BIFFLE:  Yeah, my heels were burned up.
CLINT BOWYER:  I had to use my left foot for a little while.  They do get hot.
GREG BIFFLE:  I'm not sure why.
CLINT BOWYER:  Pays pretty good, though, so we'll get through it.

Q.  Where was your right leg?
GREG BIFFLE:  Up off the hot floor.
CLINT BOWYER:  Pick it up, stick it out the window, whatever you could do.  It was hot.

Q.¬† Greg, so often in these restrictor plate races, the fastest car doesn't necessarily win or the best car on the day, but you were up there and you led laps and you were in contention all day and you finished runner‑up, so could you just talk a little bit about I imagine that's pretty satisfying.¬† Would have been a bummer not to finish that well after the day.
GREG BIFFLE:¬† Yeah, it would have been.¬† I just wish I was where the 11 was in that final restart when the white came out and they were getting ready to make a run at me.¬† But it was pretty satisfying to finish‑‑ once the outside lane got a push there towards the end and I got shuffled back to about third row and we were three wide, I was nervous that I wasn't going to‑‑ the bottom line was going to start stalling out because it seems like the bottom lane for some reason when the outside two lanes get up there, it seems like the bottom lane sort of wants to stall, but if the outside lane isn't shoved up there that far, the bottom lane seems to have speed, so it's kind of weird how that happens.¬† But I was extremely happy to finish second.
We've been moving up a little bit in points.  I know it doesn't mean all that much this day and time, or it's not really a points race, it's the wins or whatever, but it'll help us kind of keep trudging toward the front a little bit.

Q.¬† Were either one of you surprised or willing to take the time to be surprised that Earnhardt wasn't up there among the four or five cars that were‑‑
GREG BIFFLE:  Well, he was leading until the caution came out and he pitted, so he would have been probably still leading or right there if he wouldn't have pit.  I thought he was on the same plane as everyone else, but he was the only car that pit from the lead.  I don't think he was there then.
CLINT BOWYER:  Yeah.  I'm a big fan, but I don't really care.  (Laughter.)

Q.  He just was dominant, then he makes that pit and he can't get anywhere.
GREG BIFFLE:  Man, I'm telling you, it's hard to pass here.
CLINT BOWYER:  It is hard.
GREG BIFFLE:  I was back there, got shuffled out of line and got moved to the back, and you just hold to the floor, and there's nowhere to go.  You try a lane, the third lane, it just stalls out, won't go.  It's hard to get back up there.
CLINT BOWYER:  Are we done?
KERRY THARP:  Yes, sir.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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