GREG BIFFLE/GREG ERWIN/JACK ROUSH PRESS CONFERENCE
TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN OUT THERE TODAY. GREG BIFFLE: “It was a great run. The car started off really good. It just got a little bit too loose. I couldn’t keep up with the 14. They beat me a little bit on the start and I was just so afraid to get the car too tight. Once you get the car sliding the nose off of turn four, you’re just dead. I was really reluctant to put any wedge or make any adjustments. About the first half of the race, I didn’t adjust on it really. When I got right behind the 14, really putting pressure on him, I still couldn’t get the gas down. At that point I said, ‘I got to tighten the car up if I’m going to win the race’. If I go backwards, I go backwards. I’m a guy that likes to drive a free, loose car. We decided to tighten it up and put some wedge in it, put some air in the left rear tire and I think the car really started tightening up. At the next stop I put some more wedge in it. I’ll tell you what, those last two runs, it was amazing. It was literally the best car I’ve ever driven here. I could drive anywhere on the racetrack. I could enter any line in the corner and push the gas down whenever I felt like it. It was pretty incredible.”
GREG ERWIN, WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS FROM UP ON THE BOX? “Pretty exciting. We’ve been waiting for this time here to come. This mile and a half racetrack has really been improving for our program, in particular the 16, as well as the whole Roush organization. We were fortunate enough to get that win out at Pocono a couple months ago. We really knew that when the Chase time came, this mile and a half would be good for us. We were kind of showing that at Michigan a couple weeks ago. We are glad to follow it up here. This guy is pretty incredible here. Look at his track record. Heck, I’ve only been with him three years now and we’re in Victory Lane twice. That ought to say something. He does a great job here. The pit stop really, you know, got us out there in front because you could tell he could catch the 14 and get right to his bumper. It was going to be about the guy that had the best air. We were fortunate to have it at the end.
MR. ROUSH, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE DAY? “I’m especially proud of Greg Erwin and Greg Biffle, what he’s done, the entire team, the Ford support we’ve had behind it. I’m hoping that the guys didn’t tell you about our secret. We got this water soluble Sherwin Williams biodegradable paint on his car (laughter). I am pretty sure it is the only one in the field. I think it was the green thing that got it done today.
GREG, YOU MENTIONED THAT WHEN YOU CAUGHT THE 14 THAT YOU DECIDED YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE TO THROW SOMETHING BIG AT IT TO PASS HIM. YOU WERE RIGHT THERE AT SECOND. DOES THAT MEAN THIS WAS A ‘GO BIG OR GO HOME’ KIND OF DAY FOR YOU?
GREG BIFFLE: “Well, not really. I was just reluctant to adjust on the car. I took a ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ kind of attitude. When you’re running the worst you’ve run all day fifth or sixth, most of the day you’ve run third, you hate to start adjusting on things just to see what it’s going to do. You don’t want to go backwards. I didn’t want them to stick the wedge wrench through the window and start turning on it. Finally I decided I could run right there with Tony, then he started to get loose. We were pretty even and I thought if I could get a little bit better where I could put the gas down coming off of turn four, that’s where he beat me is turn four, everybody beat me there. I could beat him in one and two, I’d be good. So we put wedge in it, air in the left rear and my gosh, that was it, it was over. The car picked up a 10th and half a lap. I put another wedge in it when we did the next set of tires, and the thing was faster yet. I knew at that point whether a caution came out or not, even if I didn’t have track position, I was going to be able to beat the 14. I didn’t know who else was going to come up there and play at the end of the race. I had a lot of confidence after those two pit stops after making those kind of adjustments that the car was going to be pretty hard to beat.”
TALK ABOUT WHERE THIS PUTS YOU FOR THE CHASE. GREG BIFFLE: “You know, everybody asked us last week if we’re out the Chase, have we given up, whatever the case was. The 16 team will never give up. We’re just going to approach each race like we did today, qualify the best we can, do the best we can in practice, execute the best we can at the racetrack. We’re going to go to California and do the same thing, Charlotte Motor Speedway, you know, see what happens. I’ve still got a thorn in my side right in between my rib cage from Dover. We had a sixth, seventh, eighth place car, which is nothing to brag about, but that’s what we did. That’s not very good for us. Normally we’re better than that. We got caught by that caution. We finished 19th. We passed the 13th, 12th, 11th and 10th place car on the last run of the day easily. If we just had track position, we’d be sitting here 30 points out of the lead for the championship right now instead of 80. We lost 50 points last week just because we got trapped by one caution. It was unfortunate for us. A win here propelled us up there. Maybe we’ll go do the same next week.”
I THOUGHT MAYBE THE SECRET YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT JACK WAS THE $100,000 BONUS YOU GUYS CASHED IN ON TODAY. JACK ROUSH: “Anybody that has been around me a long time knows I’m not too generous with my money (laughter). You know, Ford Motor Company stepped up and they realize drivers don’t do it for the money, the crew doesn’t do it for the money, certainly I don’t, but they would put $100,000 additional contingency for the driver, crew chief and team for the win. I hope they don’t regret that. I hope they’ll do it for the races that remain. I think they probably will. At any rate, it was showing their interest and seeing to it that we could do all we could do and wanting to reward the guys if they could pull it off. That was fun.”
GREG, YOU SAID IT WAS THE BEST CAR YOU HAVE EVER HAD HERE, THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING. YOU HAD TO BE PRETTY CONFIDENT CONSIDERING YOUR TRACK RECORD HERE. GREG BIFFLE: “It’s probably one of the best cars I’ve driven in years, probably dating back to 2005. I could drive down in the corner. First of all, I was having to lift a little bit early to watch the RPM on the engine. I could drive down in the corner and the thing could just run down in the corner. I could push the throttle to the floor, not just hold the wheel straight, drive up all the way off the corner, open the wheel up in the corner exit. The car just drove so easy the last 75 laps of the race. It was really nice to have a car driving like that. I didn’t really want to see the caution out, but I was kind of, like, I wouldn’t mind seeing a showdown right here at the end because our car was really, really good.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR CONFIDENCE COMING INTO THIS RACE? GREG BIFFLE: “My confidence is really high coming in here. Now going to California and Charlotte I have a lot of confidence. We’ve won at a lot of these tracks before. This is one of them.”
WHAT DOES THE $100,000 MEAN TO YOU? GREG BIFFLE: “It means a lot to me. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my half of the money yet. I’ll probably donate it to my charity; probably help some homeless animals or something with my cut of it.”
THE LAST TIME YOU WERE HERE YOU HAD THE CONTROVERSIAL FINISH. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WIN BY SEVEN SECONDS THIS TIME? GREG BIFFLE: “Well, first of all, we did cross the finish line because if you don’t cross the finish line, you won’t get the trophy. You know, most races, we’re about out of gas when we go across the start-finish line. With that caution coming out at the end, darkness coming on, we can hardly see where we’re going, NASCAR made the right call by stopping the race. We were close on fuel and I wasn’t doing my job to watch the fuel pressure gauge. I got up in the corner and let the fuel run away from the pickup. The thing started sputtering. I made my way down to the apron, got the fuel back in there and accelerated the car up to 70, 80 miles an hour, whatever, pushed the clutch in, shut it off to save the rest of the fuel. I was still coasting probably 40 miles an hour, the pace car goes about 55. I just thought, Boy, that’s plenty fast enough. The caution is out. I’ve already won the race. As long as I can maintain a cautious pace, I was going to stop at the start/finish line anyway. We maintained plenty of speed.”
GREG ERWIN: “NASCAR takes you over to the fuel pumps after the race and puts fuel in the car. The car still had a gallon and a half of gas in it.”
GREG BIFFLE: “We still had fuel. The controversy was I didn’t try to start it again and make it go anymore. I just let that speed be enough speed to roll across the start-finish line. Other guys sped up, went around me, which you’re not allowed to do under caution, then complained about I didn’t maintain enough speed. NASCAR went back and looked at it. They were going 70, 80 miles an hour when they passed me. So it was kind of a moot point. They know the other guys sped up to go by and that I maintained enough speed.”
TODAY BASICALLY PUTS YOU BACK IN A POSITION TO CHALLENGE IN THE POINTS. WHAT DOES GETTING THE WIN AND PERFORMING LIKE YOU DID THE LAST PART OF THE RACE MEAN AS FAR AS THE CHASE GOING FORWARD? GREG BIFFLE: “Our car was fast all day. I was fairly confident early on in the race, first tire run of the day, we were going to finish in the top five. I just needed to figure out a way how I was going to win the race. We kept working on it and adjusting on it. We want to win these races. We want to have the trophies. They’ve been talking about all the other guys, so we’ll give them something to talk about for the next couple weeks. Hopefully in California and Charlotte we can run decent and make our way up there into the points, maybe get up in the top five.”
GREG ERWIN, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE $100,000 AS FAR AS IT PERTAINS TO THE TEAM AND WHAT KIND OF INCENTIVES THE PIT BULLS HAD, SINCE THEY TAKE A LOT OF PRIDE IN WHAT THEY DO? GREG ERWIN: “You know, Jack is right. It’s a very gracious, very generous offer by the folks at Ford. But the truth is that these guys work unbelievable amount of hours. This Pit Bull group that we’ve got is pretty underestimated but certainly not underappreciated by me. You watch their performance on pit road every week. The greatest thing about watching that group is the senior guys on that thing, the more experienced group we had. We had a tiny, tiny mistake earlier in the race. We hung a nut on the right front going in and lost a couple spots. Without the level of maturity and experience we have on a couple of those key positions, that very easily turns a bad day worse for a guy. But they turned it right around and got us out first. As far as the money goes, we’ll let Jack and the folks at Roush decide how it gets broke out on our side. They all have kids to put through college, too, so I’m sure they appreciate it.”
JACK, A LOT OF FORDDS CAME OFF THE HAULERS FAST THIS WEEKEND. DID YOU AND DOUG YATES FIND SOMETHING BETWEEN NOW AND LAST WEEK OR IS THIS EVOLUTIONARY?
JACK ROUSH: “This engine, this FR9 engine has been an instant success for Doug, Ford and our team. It took about 18 months to hone, sand, get the castings right to the point it was better than the engine we had. Tom and all the guys in the engine shop have been working trying to make more power with it. The engine we had was not uncompetitive, but there were a number of aspects of the new technologies that have been brought with computer aided design techniques that went into the various components that gave us an advantage over the engine we had. This really just catches us up to date with where General Motors, Chrysler and Toyota have been in terms of the way the cooling system works, the computer aided design that was used for the induction system, that sort of thing. There hasn’t been a revelation that occurred in the last two or three races that would have given us an advantage with the engine. The engine is competitive and it’s durable. As Greg said, he punished it pretty hard. We had two choices in gear. We had a 389 gear and a four to one gear. Of course, the four to one gear turned almost too much rpm and everybody made the least of it, said it will probably slow down enough. But Doug knew and I knew that it probably wouldn’t. We hoped the engine would be strong enough to survive, and it was. I can’t wait to get the valve train pieces to the shop and do what I call a death march where you run it to absolute destruction. That’s what we’ll do this week.”
DID THE COLD WEATHER ALLOW YOU TO TAPE UP MORE THIS WEEKEND? GREG BIFFLE: “A little bit. But everybody does. You don’t get an advantage over the other cars because they got to tape up a little bit, too.”
WE KNOW THE TOUGH EXPERIENCE JACK HAD EARLIER THIS SUMMER. THIS IS ONLY YOUR SECOND WIN ALL YEAR. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW SATISFYING IT IS WITH JACK’S RECOVER AND ROUSH’S RECOVERY? GREG BIFFLE: “It’s tremendously satisfying for us. Especially the timely win, you know. The first win at Pocono was remarkable for us to be able to pull it out. It was a day like today. We weren’t as good at Pocono as we ended up being at the end. Today, we were up front all day.
I’m proud to carry the flag for Roush Fenway right now. I’m glad to see Matt, Carl and David all running well, and the other Ford cars. It’s great to have Jack back at the racetrack. It’s like he took a one week vacation. The next week he was on the conference call like he hadn’t even missed a beat. It’s good to have him around. He gets us what he need, parts and pieces for our racecars.”
JACK, HOW DO YOU FEEL? “I feel great. I was really embarrassed for not being there for Greg at Pocono. But Greg came to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and gave me my owner’s trophy after he won on Sunday. I was actually out in one of the labs having some work done, so I wasn’t there when he arrived. I hated that for him. I hated putting him to that much trouble. I hated not being there for the team, and I was humbled by the fact he went out of his way to bring me my trophy.”