CASEY MEARS, No. 13 Geico Ford Fusion (Finished 39th) – WHAT HAPPENED? “We just lost the brakes. They were getting too hot and we kept backing it up trying to ease off of them but we ended up going to the floor right there going into one. I don’t know why they are getting so hot. I don’t know if we had a lot of tape on them or what the deal is. I have abused brakes here in the past pretty hard and not had that issue. I am not sure what happened. We are going to have to take a look at see why they got so hot.”
WHAT IS IT LIKE FOR YOU GUYS OUT THERE TODAY? “It is more slippery. Anytime it gets hotter it gets more slick. We were not that great. We were really loose in and tight through the center. We would have been able to hang on and had a pretty good day after it cooled down. I think we would have been better but we started having the brake problem pretty early.”
GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Finished ) – PIT LANE INTERVIEW “It started out really loose and then we would go dead right. We got the balance much better toward the end of that race and got some track position. The guys did a great job with the 3M Ford Fusion. I wish I wouldn’t have tried to save so much gas. I probably would have caught the 29, but you just never know how much gas you’ve got.” HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO GET THE CAR TO GO TO THE OUTSIDE LANE? “My car was pretty good on the outside. We were just too loose on the restarts. About five or 10 laps in I could use the top but before that I couldn’t do it.”
CARL EDWARDS, No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion (Finished ) – “We made our way up there and did a good job with strategy, just didn’t know that we were going to run out of fuel there. I think we thought we had a little more fuel in it than we did, but that is the way it goes. It took us a long time to get up towards the front but I felt like once we did we had a pretty good race car. It is a big race for us with Subway and everybody and we would have loved to get a victory for them but we just ran out of fuel at the end. I couldn’t believe it. I thought we were about a lap short but we ended up being a few laps short.”
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion (Finished ) – “We blew up. We are here trying to run for wins and run for championships and to trip over ourselves like that, it just isn’t going to get it done.”
GREG BIFFLE PRESS CONFERENCE (Third Place Finish) – YOU ARE GOING TO HEAD TO LAS VEGAS SECOND IN POINTS, YOU HAVE TO HAVE A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THAT AFTER A THIRD PLACE TODAY. “Yeah, I really do. You know, I certainly would have thought we’d run better today than we did. We fought the car really bad at the beginning of this race. I guess the track is just a lot different than it was on Friday. I don’t care so much for this format of doing all of our practice on Friday when we get here. I like to have practice and qualify and then have a Saturday happy hour. It is difficult coming to a green race track and do all your race stuff in one day to get set up for the race and just qualify on Saturday. It was challenging and I missed it a little bit. Matt (Puccia) never gave up on the car. He kept adjusting on it and I never thought it would get that good. I thought I was in trouble. I was ready to write that thing off for a 15th or 20th place finish. It started coming around and really took off. Certainly I am excited about how they got the car going but I got it off a little bit for today’s race. I probably was being a little aggressive. It was a great third place finish.”
GREG BIFFLE PRESS CONFERENCE CONTINUED
DID YOU HAVE ANY ISSUES WITH FUEL? “I didn’t. We made sure it was full and then I started saving right from there when I could. I would lift a little bit down the straightaway’s if I am not catching the guy in front of me or whatever. I was saving and then as we got longer in the run we got those few caution laps so that helped us. There with about 20 to go they were panicked to say the least. I heard the panic in their voice. He was like, ‘Hey, behind you they did 80 and you did a 60.’ They wanted me to slow down and I felt like I had saved enough gas so I kept my rhythm about right where I had it. With about four laps to go he sounded desperate and I backed up a little more and started drafting those lap cars and then they were like, ‘The 29 is running out, try to pass him, try to pass him!’ I was like, ‘Well, it is a little late for that, but yeah you should have told me that a lap ago and I could have passed him.’ I missed him by like 100 feet at the start-finish line and we still have gas in the car. I made the cool down lap and came back and still running with no flicker of fuel pressure so I know I at least have one more lap. That being said, I probably could have easily got the 29 since he ran out. Obviously not the 11 though.”
CAN YOU APPRECIATE WHAT TONY STEWART WENT THROUGH TODAY? HE SHUT IT OFF TO SAVE FUEL AND IT WOULDN’T COME BACK. DO YOU THINK THIS NEW TECHNOLOGY WILL TAKE A FEW RACES TO WORK OUT? “Yeah, I mean you could have wrote the story prior to the season starting and that is not the last guy that is going to have an issue. There is going to be growing pains with this system. It hasn’t even been hot yet. Wait til it gets hot like at Indy and some of these other places. We don’t know how much heat these things can handle and that may be an issue at some point. Cam sensors not recognizing when you shut it off and you aren’t using the starter but you are using the clutch. There are all kinds of technology. You can’t cycle the battery switch because it will go into boot mode.”
IS IT YOUR POLICY THEN NOT TO SHUT THE ENGINE OFF? “No, I shut if off today coasting. We’ve tested that. I have been testing this winter.”
YOU FINISHED THIRD IN A CAR NOT TO YOUR LIKING. WHAT KIND OF CONFIDENCE DOES THAT GIVE YOU FOR WHEN YOUR CAR IS RUNNING ON ALL CYLINDERS? “Well, certainly I don’t want to be greedy but I thought myself or the 5 would have won the race today. My car was just so good. Qualifying, you know, I got high in 3 and 4 and was in that fuzz, and came back and I wasn’t very fast crossing the white, and the second lap I come back and qualified seventh. I knew my car was just super fast. But I went a little more aggressive on the front end, I was a little nervous about it with the heat today and how warm it was, if what I was going to do was going to work out. I was trying to keep the front end right on the track real good, and it slid the nose and shattered the front tire. I fought that all day. It would be loose in and then shatter the tire when I’d try to go to the gas, so I made a little bit of a mistake probably, but I guess we could have only been two spots better. But Vegas I won’t make that same mistake.
HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS YEAR COMPARED TO LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME WHEN YOU GOT OFF TO A SLOW START? I’m feeling really good. I’ve got all new guys. I’ve got guys working really hard on the car, crew chief and team, and a guy that’s really, really smart paying attention to all the fine details, and that’s Matt Puccia, and that’s the reason why we got two third place finishes is because of his leadership and his decision making on pit road on what to do to the car. It’s executed, he’s thinking about it. He makes the decisions he wants, and that’s why we’re sitting here now.