Ford Fontana Friday Advance (Edwards and Biffle)

[media-credit name=”autoclubspeedway.com” align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES

Auto Club 400 Advance

March 23, 2012  California Speedway


American Muscle

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion, and Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, held back-to-back press conferences in the Auto Club Speedway infield media center after today’s practice session.  Transcripts of each follow:

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – “We couldn’t be coming to a better race track.  We’ve had a little bit of bad luck last week. I was the first one in line for practice today and I was glad to be back in the car.  I love this race track, so this should be good.  The only thing that’s questionable right now is what the weather is gonna be like when we run, so we’ve got to be smart about how we practice based on the forecast.  We could be racing under different conditions than we’re practicing under right now.”

RFR DOMINATED HERE EARLY AT THIS TRACK, BUT WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU GUYS ARE AT RIGHT NOW?  “I’m not sure.  We’ll have to see when we practice in race trim, but I think all of our cars were pretty fast there at the end in qualifying trim. It looked like Kasey was extremely fast, Kasey Kahne, so we’ll have to see when we go back and look at the video where he was beating us, but I think we’ll see after practice tomorrow kind of where we stand.  At Vegas we were pretty good and I thought all of our Roush cars were really good there, so we plan on being very good here.  We plan on being hopefully better than we were last year.”

HOW MUCH HAS THIS TRACK CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?  “I think the track has become more difficult to drive, which I think is good.  I think it’s no longer just a big engine, a good aero package makes you faster.  You really have to have the setup right and you have to drive it perfectly.  You have to work on the car through the race, so I think it’s made this track tougher for one team to just dominate.  I think you’re gonna see this track give more surprise winners and better races and I think there will be more action because of how dynamic it is and how difficult it is to drive, so I think that might be why we don’t just see the same people up front here that you always have.”

YOU BUT BEFORE TEAMS WITH THE RIGHT COMBINATION AND HORSEPOWER WOULD WIN?  “It wasn’t just horsepower, but if you had good horsepower, a good aero package and you had the balance halfway right, you were really good at these places, but now it seems like everyone is so close and the track has gotten so much more character now – the seams and the bumps and the surface has changed where a guy can just get his balance just right or figure out something driving and charge through the field and surprise everyone.  I think there’s more opportunity for a guy to figure it out and be fast now than there used to be.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BRUTON SMITH POSSIBLY CHANGING BRISTOL BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS BEFORE THE RESURFACING?  “It’s up to Bruton.  That’s his property.  He can do whatever he’d like to do and if it were possible to put it back, just like it was, and he was willing to do it, then that’s fine with me.  I’m OK either way.  If the fans want it and they can do it, then my hat is off to Bruton for having the humility and the pocket book to go out there and just say, ‘Hey, I’ll do it.’  That’s pretty spectacular, I think.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED — SOME SAY THE OLD BRISTOL WAS MORE ABOUT WRECKING THAN RACING.  HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?  “I don’t know. Our team had success with both race track surfaces, so I don’t feel that one was more of a race than the other.  The only issue that I have with the current race track is that they did such a good job making all three grooves the same speed that it truly is difficult to pass.  Everything on paper looked like it was going to be perfect and they just got it too perfect because the guy can run the same speed on the top lane as the bottom, and I think we all realized when there was only one fast groove, if you got an advantage and you got that groove, then you could pass a guy, so it was actually easier to pass the other way.  The only thing I would worry about is if Bruton Smith spent all that money to go back to the old track and it didn’t work out and looked the way they expected it, then that seems like a lot of money. But it’s his money, and it might work.  Bruton’s made a lot of things work.”

IF THEY WERE MAKING A MOVIE ABOUT YOU, WHO WOULD PLAY YOU?  “I don’t know.  Mark Wahlberg seems like a pretty good guy.  I’m a fan of his.  We met him once out here and he was real nice, so I would be honored if he would play the part of Carl Edwards.  That would be great.”

DO YOU HAVE MORE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR TEAM AFTER THE WAY THEY FIXED THE DAMAGE LAST WEEK AT BRISTOL?  “I was really impressed with my crew last week.  When I got out of the car and walked around and looked at the right-front, that thing was really torn up.  The right-front suspension was all mashed into the engine and the headers and everything and it was really a huge  mess, and they got the car put back together and when we went back out we were only a couple tenths off the pace, so I couldn’t believe they got it put back together.  When I got here this week, I walked in the garage and I said, ‘Man, how about that last week.  Twenty-five laps of racing.’  I came in about an hour early to the garage.  Matt Kenseth actually twittered a picture and said I forgot to reset the time on my clock because I was so early, but the guys said, ‘No, that’s fine.  We learned a bunch about fixing our crash damage.’  It was good practice for everyone, so that’s the silver lining for us is that maybe we’ll have some damage we have to repair at Loudon or Chicago or something later and we’ll be able to get it back together and save that point or two that obviously could make the difference.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “I obviously feel really good about the season so far.  I really wanted to get back to the race track after our final run last week at Bristol.  We had a right-front bump stop that broke on the last pit stop of the day.  Obviously when we jacked it up the piece came out or fell out, and I couldn’t figure out why we went from seventh to couldn’t get out of the way quick enough and fell back.  But, anyway, on Monday I felt tremendously better about what had happened there, so I’m really excited about coming here and getting back in the car and getting going again.  Our day has been pretty good so far – a little bit tight.  The car has been a little different with the race track with this tire.  I like the tire.  The tire seems to be better than we’ve had, so we’ll just keep working at it.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED — WHAT DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE APPEAL RESULT WITH THE 48?  “I was just kidding when I said I had a lot to say about it. The way I look at it is there are certain facts about the situation, so I look at it simply.  One, NASCAR wouldn’t have taken the part if it was legal.  They didn’t take the part with the perception of, ‘we’re gonna take it home and check it’ like they would an engine after a race or something like that.  So they took the part because they didn’t like it.  That’s pretty cut and dried at that point. There’s no gray area, in my opinion, on that.  So then I look at the appeals process was upheld and then the appellate officer repealed the points and Chad’s vacation.  So at that point he must have felt like, and I can somewhat agree, it’s not like they were trying to hide something underneath here.  The part that they brought, that NASCAR didn’t like, was right in front of you.  It’s right there, so the appellate officer obviously felt like it indeed wasn’t legal, because they upheld the fine, but maybe this is a little severe for what they did on the car, or what they tried to get through inspection.  That’s the whole thing about this sport is we continue to push the envelope every week – all of us do – and NASCAR is like, ‘No, I don’t like that.’  We get that ‘straighten up that skirt,’ and the guy is over there kicking on it before I go out to qualify.  They don’t like if it’s bent out a little bit too much or whatever, so you’re always trying to get that last little bit, so this part of the car, I guess, is more sensitive with NASCAR than those things.  That’s my view on it.  I don’t have a dog in the fight.  I don’t really care either way.  It’s good for them that they got it turned around and can get it behind them.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN GOING FORWARD WITH APPEALS?  “That is more of a question that I probably don’t want to get in to.  I’ve heard a lot of stuff and saw a lot of stuff about it that could influence the decision-making, or what people are implying, and I don’t know all those details, so I don’t know a lot about that.  I don’t know the whole process, but if you appeal it to the higher level there’s only one person you have to convince your case to, so I don’t know.  It does appear that maybe in the future you have a chance of getting something reduced, I guess.”

CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR REAR-END TO YOUR JOB?  “It’s very important.  It’s my computer center.  It has lots of data and thank God it’s connected to my brain.  It’s my sensory system that tells me you’re about to wreck or you’re doing really well or you’ve got to go and work on the car.”

WHY IS IT OK IN THE SPORTING ARENA TO JUMP AND HUG YOUR TEAM, BUT NOT IN THE BOARDROOM?  CAN YOU IMAGINE JACK ROUSH DOING SOMETHING LIKE THAT?  “I don’t know.  I guess because it’s obviously a celebration and most of us usually don’t celebrate like that unless we’re under the influence.  People celebrate in crazy ways all the time for no reason, but I can promise you one thing, we don’t want to see Jack doing that because I witnessed that one time in my life.  When we won the Camping World Truck Series, and you guys know Jack doesn’t drink, and I’m not sure if he was drinking that night or not, but he ended up on stage with the band and it was quite a sight.  It was a lot of fun, but it was quite a sight.  We had a good time.”  WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? “I don’t know.  Maybe Nicholas Cage or someone like that.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED — HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF BRISTOL BEING CHANGED A LITTLE BIT AND WOULD IT BE MORE IMPORTANT THEN TO COMFORTABLY BE IN THE CHASE IF THAT BECOMES A WILD CARD TRACK?  “I can tell you I know very little about excavating and designing things and building things.  I’ve built a dirt track at my mountain property and have built a lot of trails and done things like that, so this is completely different, but to make it back like it was is very, very difficult.  I mean, I don’t know how you would even do that.  I don’t even know what you would do.  The only possibility they have is unless they scanned that track and measured it and had a drawing to the last bump and the angle of how the apron met the race track, because you’d kind of put your tire down across the apron by about six inches if you were decent, a foot if you were a little bit tight so it would help turn the car, so there are so many quirks about a race track’s character that you can’t just say, ‘We’re gonna make that.’  My opinion is it’s nearly impossible.  Now you can change the track.  I agree with that.  You can change the track, sure, and make it different, but you’re not just gonna wave the wand or hire the excavating crew and say, ‘Come back and put it back like it was before you put it like this.’  That’s not probably gonna happen.  I think more could be gained with the tire, maybe more grip with the left side tire.  We’ve done a lot of tire testing for Goodyear and it seems like every time we put grip in the left side tire, the car responds to it and that tire wears and the car gives up grip over time.  That’s part of Bristol is you go out there and you go that speed until you pit again.  If you don’t have the fall off in the tire, it doesn’t do any good to put tires on.  When you come in and put tires on, you go faster.  That’s what makes good racing, not where track position over weighs tires.  It will sometimes, but not all the time.  We saw the 2 car stay out and win and the 2 car won on Saturday and Sunday.  You can’t pass a guy even with new tires, so I would start with the tire if I was the one and say, ‘How can we get more aggressive with a tire that wears,’ and force them to change it – force the guy to pit and put on tires.”


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