Ford Performance NASCAR: Pocono 1 (Greg Biffle)

Ford Performance NASCAR Notes and Quotes
Axalta 400 – Pocono Raceway
Friday, June 3, 2016

Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team will be without crew chief Brian Pattie for the next two races after a NASCAR suspension handed down earlier in the week. The first of the two races is this weekend at Pocono Raceway where Biffle took time after the rain-shortened opening practice to discuss the implications and the state of the Roush Fenway Racing program heading into the summer slate.

GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 Ford EcoBoost Fusion – WHAT DOES NOT HAVING BRIAN PATTIE ON THE BOX THESE NEXT TWO RACES DO TO YOUR TEAM? “It is tough on us. We have been running decent and not getting the finishes that we have been trying to get. I guess you would say we deserve where we have been running. That has been really tough on us as a team. At Charlotte we go and qualify decent, run decent, stay out of trouble and run a clean race and finish 11th. That is not where we wanted. We wanted to get a top-10 so that is kind of a little bit of a shot that we don’t get to have Brian for the next couple weeks. We get it, though. I can’t comment on whether I think it is fair or not or if we were off in a couple areas more than we should have been. I do know it is the first time they have had our car in quite some time so it seems a little harsh to me to not give us a chance to fix it. I get that it has to be fair for everyone. It doesn’t matter that we finished 11th and never led a lap. It isn’t like we dominated the whole race, but that doesn’t matter. It is disappointing but we will get through it. It is only a couple of races so we move on.”

WILL THE ORGANIZATION BE APPEALING? “I really don’t know. I don’t think we have decided as an organization whether we are going to appeal or not at this point. It is really still up in the air.”

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ROBBIE REISER WILL BE ON TOP OF THE BOX IN BRIAN’S ABSENCE. DO YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH THAT? “I do. The crew chief these days in the sport is more of a manager and decision maker and the car chief and engineers make it a correlated deal. It is an impact but it isn’t like we can’t function without having Brian. The importance of losing a crew chief is really in calling the race. Having Robbie Reiser on the box to call the race certainly makes good sense. He has done a good job on the box and has won a title. That is not a disadvantage to us. That is really where the crew chief is important, calling the race, being on the box and making the right pit calls and decisions. I feel like we have somebody that can do that job and I think we will be fine with that.”

WHERE DO YOU FEEL THE PROGRAM IS RIGHT NOW COMPARED TO LAST YEAR? “Compared to last year it is a huge improvement. It is reason to celebrate and go on vacation. But where we are at compared to our competition is not so much reason to celebrate yet because we are running between 10th and 15th and we want to be better than that. All of our cars really have. The 6 and 17 and 16 have all competitively on the track if you take an average of the race we are running in 10th-15th spot. We want to be better than that. We have to get to where we can run in the top-10. That is a huge task. It feels like we have a long way to go to get there. It is a lot of small stuff, a lot of little things. We are focused on trying to figure that out. But if you compare it from last year to this year, we are like singing and dancing. It is a night and day difference. Now we are faced with as big of a challenge getting from where we are at now to into that top-10.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE MOMENTUM IS GOING IN THAT DIRECTION? “I feel like we have kind of plateaued or flattened off. We certainly haven’t taken any steps backward. We are continuing to get better at execution and better at this and that but I feel like we have optimized what we have and are getting everything we can. That 11th place finish at Charlotte was perfectly executed, perfectly driven with no mistakes, great pit stops on and off pit road good and we are 11th. That is the best we’ve got, so to speak. Now, if you have put us in fifth, would we have gotten fifth and held that track position? Quite possibly. But we have to be able to race our way there. We have to find what our next agenda items are to get us from that 11th to that 5th.”

WITH MICHIGAN COMING UP NEXT WEEK, THAT IS A PLACE WHERE HISTORICALLY YOU AND THE ORGANIZATION HAVE ENJOYED A LOT OF SUCCESS. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR 1.5 MILE PROGRAM IS GETTING BACK TO WHERE IT WAS? “I don’t think we are close to where it was but I do feel like it has gotten tremendously better. Way better. The 1.5-mile program where it was in our heyday is we were the fastest everywhere we went. We are way better though and I am really happy about the speed in our car at Charlotte and I feel really good about going to Michigan. It is a smoother type of race track with high speeds and I think what we have learned and the speed we have found in our cars will shine at that particular type of track.”

WHEN YOU ARE WORKING TO TAKE THAT NEXT STEP LIKE YOU MENTIONED AND THEN YOU COME TO A TRACK LIKE THIS WEEKEND WHERE IT IS RAINING, HOW MUCH DOES THAT IMPACT THAT CHANCE FOR YOU GUYS TO PICK UP SOME SPEED? “Yeah, we really do need as much time as we can but on the other hand, those things we are looking for in the speed is more engineering and in the body work back at the shop. We probably won’t find that speed on the track. We have realized that the last two years. But track time does help us hone in on what we do have. That run right there in that short practice we were ninth and only three-quarters of the field went so we will call it 15th by the time the rest of the field makes a lap. That is dead pinned on right where we have been. We feel good about that and we have a great foundation. We just have to nit-pick at that next level and figure out what it is or where it is at. We will get there.”

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