Ford Charlotte January Test Advance (Biffle)

by Official Release On Fri, Jan. 18, 2013

Photo Credit: David Yeazell

Photo Credit: David Yeazell

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, was Ford Racing’s highest finisher last season as he came in fifth overall.  Biffle stopped by the Charlotte Motor Speedway infield media center this morning to discuss how the off-season is progressing and his hopes for 2013.

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – THOUGHTS ON THE NEW CAR.  “I’m really looking forward to it.  I’m really looking forward to getting on the track.  I think my crew chief is having an anxiety attack over there.  He’s been working on these cars for a long time and wants to get on the race track.  It looks like the track is getting close.  I’m excited about this year and I think these cars are gonna be good.  Daytona went fairly well.  We were able to get out of there kind of unscathed.  Things happen for a reason, I guess, so hopefully it will be the same here.”

WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK ON HOW THE ROUSH-PENSKE SITUATION IS GOING TO WORK THIS YEAR?  “I don’t think it’s gonna change a tremendous amount for us, more so probably for the engine shop will get another opportunity to have more engines on the race track and maybe collect more data.  I think it will be similar to maybe Stewart-Haas and the Ganassi group.  They’re both GM, but they’re competing against each other, so I don’t see a tremendous amount of stuff crossing back and forth, but maybe some trends of things we’re working on or we’ve found we’ll help, but I don’t think we’re gonna be sharing full notes or anything like that.  I’m not against that, that’s just typically how organizations are run.”

HOW VALUABLE IS THIS LOST TIME FOR TESTING?  “It’s a lot because this is the first opportunity we’ve really had to get the car on the race track in the configuration we’re actually gonna race in.  We’ve tested a few times with a composite body and not all of the latest rules, but this is really it for us.  We needed these two days to really figure out what the car is gonna end up like.  Hopefully, we can test into the evening and it won’t get too cold too fast because I’d rather stay as long as we can and get as much information as we can versus having to pack this whole show up and go somewhere else again, or come back later.”

WILL THIS BE ENOUGH TIME TODAY TO FIGURE OUT THESE CARS BEFORE THE VEGAS RACE?  “I think a lot of it boils down to how well your car drove and then how your speed compares and how much stuff we get through.  If the car is driving pretty good, the car has fairly good speed and it looks like there are no major issues that we have to get figured out still, I think that there’s a possibility we wouldn’t test again.  But if there’s still unanswered questions or we don’t have the speed or the drive-ability, I get out there and I’m like, ‘I just can’t drive it.  It’s too loose. It won’t turn as the fuel burns off,’ and we need to continue to test, we’re gonna end up somewhere else.”

THE ROOF FLAPS ON THESE CARS LOOK BIGGER.  WHEN YOU HAD YOUR NEAR SPIN AT DAYTONA LAST WEEK DID THEY DEPLOY?  “I couldn’t see them, thank goodness.  I don’t know if they deployed or not, I’d have to look at the video, but I don’t believe they did.   Normally, you can’t feel them whether they deploy or not a lot of times.  Sometimes you can hear them because they make a hell of a racket when they open all the way up and they slam against the cables, but I don’t know if they did.  It was definitely a close one.”

HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS NEW CAR AT ALL ON AN INTERMEDIATE TRACK?  “I’ve been in the car twice – the tire test at Texas at the end of the season, and I don’t remember where else.  I think it was here, I don’t know if it was another tire test or what, but I’ve been in this car twice, but, there again, that was a composite body car – so truly no experience with this car that is set-up with the rules package and a steel body and meeting the templates, but I don’t think it’s gonna be 100 percent different, but it’s still gonna be different.”

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS WAS CONFIDENT LAST WEEK ON WHY THEY FEEL THEY CAN GET A JUMP ON THE COMPETITION WITH THIS NEW CAR.  WHY WILL YOUR ORGANIZATION HAVE A REASON TO STEP OUT AND POSSIBLY BE THE ONES TO DO THAT INSTEAD?  “I don’t know what they’ve been working on.  I know GM waited a long time to release their car and unveil it, so I don’t know if they had something figured out and didn’t want people seeing it until late in the game and couldn’t change it or are continuing to work on it and develop it, I really don’t know what the strategy to that was.  But to be the last one to unveil a car and wait that late and be ahead of everybody, they obviously have something figured out.”

DO YOU SEE ANY MAJOR POSITIVES TO THE REDUCTION IN WEIGHT TO THE CAR?  “The more weight we get out of them, and, truly, the more left-side weight we can get in these cars, which is a difficulty.  When you add left-side weight to a car that has a higher center of gravity, it makes the car handle much better and it makes the left sides do more work.  When we started with the COT car, the left-side tire did such a small percentage of the work and the right sides had to do everything.  So the more we can migrate back to getting all four tires to do more work and not just be along for the ride, then it will be easier on the tire.  The tire can be more aggressive and that will help it.”

HOW WILL YOUR SCHEDULE LOOK WITH TESTING BEING MORE OPEN THIS YEAR?  “I think we’re allowed four tests this season, so I think with a new car it’s in NASCAR’s best interest to let us get to the race tracks were gonna race at and do some testing.  It’s equal for everyone that they did it per organization, so I like the idea of it.  I think two to four tests per year is not a bad number, so a team can go some place that they really want to work on stuff, instead of having to go to Nashville every week or other places that don’t really count.  So I like it.  If the number stays down, it will allow us to go and do some good testing.”

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