Ford Kansas Friday Advance (Biffle and Kenseth)

[media-credit name=”” align=”alignright” width=”158″][/media-credit]KANSAS FORD FACTS:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Greg Biffle comes into this weekend鈥檚 STP 400 fresh off his first victory of the year at Texas Motor Speedway.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Biffle leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings by 19 points over fellow Ford Racing driver and Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth.

American Muscle

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Biffle has two of the three all-time Ford NSCS wins at Kansas Speedway (2007 and 2010).

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Mark Martin has the other Kansas NCSC victory for Ford (2005).

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Carl Edwards has seven top-10 finishes in nine Kansas NSCS starts, including four top-fives.

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, has been leading the point standings since finishing third at Las Vegas, and increased his lead to 19 points after winning last weekend at Texas.聽 Biffle, a two-time winner at Kansas Speedway, held a Q&A session before the first of two practice sessions on Friday.

GREG BIFFLE 鈥 No. 16 3M Ford Fusion 鈥 WHAT ABOUT WINNING LAST WEEK? 鈥淚t certainly was kind of a relief to finally get the 3M Ford Fusion in victory lane.聽 It was an exciting race for us.聽 I know it might have been a little bit caution-free, but we had a good car, good pit stops and I really look forward to coming to this race track.聽 This is one of my favorite tracks.聽 It鈥檚 pretty high on my list because I鈥檝e got a couple wins here.聽 It鈥檚 always fun racing at this race track.鈥

WHAT MAKES A RACE EXCITING FOR YOU BEHIND THE WHEEL?聽 鈥淎s a race car driver, when you鈥檙e driving around under caution it鈥檚 no fun. Restarts are fun and challenging in a way.聽 We had a few of those. The 56 and I start side-by-side twice.聽 Once he picked the inside and once he picked the outside.聽 Pit stops and pit cycles and where you鈥檙e running on the track, trying to make your car better 鈥 every single lap something happens or you鈥檙e grading yourself.聽 I鈥檓 getting my lap time and the leader鈥檚 lap time, or if I鈥檓 running third I鈥檓 getting second-place and fourth-place lap times.聽 Every single lap of the race something is happening.聽 When I enter the corner, maybe I鈥檓 trying a little bit different line like running the bottom 鈥 a lap car is coming up so I鈥檓 gonna try and run the middle.聽 The tires are falling off and I鈥檓 changing lanes and trying to figure out where I鈥檓 running faster.聽 My spotter, Joel, tells me the 29 is running all the way up against the fence and he鈥檚 the fastest car on the track, so I look and see, do I have room behind me to take the chance of going up there and running that high line?聽 Because I know it鈥檚 gonna take me a couple of laps to get going. 聽So Mark Martin is 20 car lengths in front of me. I鈥檝e been trying to catch him and I鈥檓 driving my tail off, so I go up and run the top groove and I lose about eight car lengths to him, but the track felt like it had a lot of grip, so I鈥檓 gonna enter a little faster and try it.聽 So I drive in the corner a little faster in three and four, and I almost get the fence because the thing is sliding up there and I go to the gas and I have good momentum off, but I lost another eight car lengths to him.聽 Now I鈥檓 not 15-20 car lengths behind him I鈥檓 30-35.聽 That didn鈥檛 work, so I鈥檓 back to running the bottom and I reel him back in some and have gotten back to where I was, so, for us, there is constantly racing going on and adrenaline. I鈥檝e got to be thinking, 鈥極K, you鈥檙e gonna pit in 19 more laps.聽 What do you want us to do to the car?鈥櫬 So you鈥檙e thinking about what you鈥檝e got to do to be better.聽 Is聽 more wedge gonna help me?聽 Lower the track bar?聽 So for us and the race teams, there鈥檚 constantly stuff going on.

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED 鈥 鈥淚t may not look like it from the outside, maybe just standing up there watching, but when you鈥檙e 20 car lengths apart you can鈥檛 really visually tell whether you鈥檙e getting close or not per lap, but if you鈥檙e watching the lap times on a FanView or you鈥檙e listening on the radio to the teams, you鈥檙e understanding all the strategy and competitiveness that鈥檚 going on during that green run.鈥

DO YOU FEEL ANY URGENCY TO WIN THIS TITLE BEING 42 YEARS OLD?聽 鈥淚 feel an urgency because I鈥檓 ready to win it, but that鈥檚 really, to me, about it.聽 I feel great.聽 I feel better than I ever have in these past five seasons with the way our team is and how competitive we are, and how I鈥檓 driving the car and how I feel personally.聽 Yeah, I think anybody feels the urgency to want to win it and, obviously, some day I鈥檓 not gonna be doing this anymore.鈥

IF YOU COULD TAKE PRESIDENT OBAMA AROUND AT SPEED.聽 WHAT TRACKS WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO THAT AT?聽 鈥淎 couple tracks come to mind.聽 One would be Bristol because it鈥檚 badass fast and people probably don鈥檛 understand what it鈥檚 like being inside that car, or at a place like Texas, Charlotte, Atlanta 鈥 one of our 205 mile an hour getting into the corner race tracks that has a lot of grip on a new set of tires.聽 That will wake you up on what it鈥檚 like to sit inside there for 500 miles.鈥

DO YOU WORRY ABOUT POINTS NOW OR IS IT TOO EARLY IN THE SEASON?聽 鈥淚 start thinking about points when we go to Daytona for the Daytona 500 and thinking about the Chase and how I鈥檓 gonna win the championship this year, next year or last year.聽 It鈥檚 never too early and what I think about going into each race is exactly that, one, how am I gonna perform in this race, but, more importantly, when it comes down to the last 10 of the season how does this compare to one of those 10 race tracks and how are we gonna compete with one of those last 10, and how are we gonna be better now looking forward to the last 10?聽 Obviously, you鈥檝e got to make the Chase and we鈥檙e off to a good start on that, but I鈥檓 always thinking about that because the last 10 races are really what counts.聽 All these races in between now and then there are two things 鈥 one is to win because that gets you bonus points, and, truthfully, other than that, it doesn鈥檛 really matter unless you鈥檙e learning something, learning about your cars and learning about your setups for those last 10.鈥

THIS IS ONE OF THE LAST 10 BUT THEY鈥橰E REPAVING THE TRACK.聽 CAN YOU DO ANY SCOUTING REPORT FOR THE LAST 10 AT THIS TRACK?聽 鈥淣o.聽 This is just for fun.聽 This is just for the trophy.鈥

DO YOU FEEL WHAT YOU鈥橵E DONE SO FAR THIS YEAR, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU鈥橰E THE NO. 1 DRIVER/TEAM AT ROUSH FENWAY?聽 鈥淣o, I still think the 99 is the number one team at Roush.聽 I鈥檓 the underdog.鈥

DOES YOUR GUT TELL YOU WITH HOW THE YEAR HAS STARTING THAT THIS COULD BE THE SEASON?聽 鈥淵eah, I wasn鈥檛 doubtful let鈥檚 say two or three races into the season when we got the point lead.聽 But, I was like, 鈥極K, now we鈥檝e got to keep it and we鈥檝e got to perform at this level everywhere we go at all race tracks.鈥櫬 So we ran good at Phoenix.聽 We ran good at Las Vegas.聽 We actually ran very well by my standards at Bristol and Martinsville, but we got 13th-place finishes at both of those tracks with a little bit of an excuse.聽 At Bristol we broke a bump stop on the right-front shock with 17 laps to go.聽 We were going to be well in the top five at that race track for sure.聽 I don鈥檛 know if we were gonna compete for the win, we were the first car on tires, so our result doesn鈥檛 really reflect.聽 Even though 13th is not a bad finish, our result doesn鈥檛 reflect how good we were at Bristol, and the same at Martinsville.聽 We were in position to be the lucky dog twice to get back on the lead lap and would have finished inside the top 10, which, finishing inside the top 10 at Martinsville is really a win for me and our team.聽 So Martinsville, I look for a top 10 finish.聽 Coming down to the last 10 races of the season, that is gonna be the one race track we look to and say, 鈥榃e just need to finish in the top 10.鈥

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED 鈥 鈥淎nd everytime I鈥檝e run there I鈥檝e gotten better, but now we鈥檝e run competitively at every venue 鈥 superspeedway, intermediate tracks, which have always been our strongsuit, and the short tracks we鈥檝e been pretty respectable on, so, at this point, I feel good about just improving on all those fronts 鈥 just getting a little bit better than we are now.鈥

HOW WILL THE WEATHER HAVE AN EFFECT ON THINGS THIS WEEKEND?聽 鈥淭hat鈥檚 really difficult to do because the race track has a tremendous amount of grip.聽 You鈥檝e kind of got the worst scenario.聽 When we first show up on Friday the race track is what we call 鈥榞reen鈥 because it doesn鈥檛 have a lot of rubber down.聽 So it tends to be the fastest then.聽 Well, you compound that with cool temperatures and this being the coldest day of the weekend, that really compounds the grip.聽 So the track will be very fast today, lots of grip, and then Sunday it will be the complete opposite.聽 It鈥檒l be slick and hot and not a lot of grip, so it is difficult to get your car set up for those conditions 鈥 doing a lot of our practice today.聽 The one thing is tomorrow will help us some because the track will be a little closer to what it鈥檚 going to be.鈥

ARE YOU DISAPPOINTING THEY鈥橰E TEARING THE TRACK UP AFTER THIS RACE? 鈥淵eah, I am but the race track, I heard it鈥檚 coming up in some spots and we have to keep the race track in good condition where it鈥檚 not coming apart during a race.聽 But, other than that, I think the race track has a lot of character.聽 It gets slick, it gets slow, a lot of strategy it takes.聽 The racing could be improved by the left side tire that we used at California.聽 Goodyear knows that.聽 I did all I could do.聽 I was the president and gave the speech several times to get a different left side tire here because it was so much better at California and it was a lot better across the seams and it was easier to drive because it gave the car more grip and speed, but they didn鈥檛 want to change it because there鈥檚 only one race left.聽 I understand that part, so, long story short, I鈥檓 a little disappointed they鈥檙e repaving it, but I understand we鈥檝e got to keep the race track together as well and not have something happen like what happened at Daytona.鈥

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Ford EcoBoost Ford Fusion, moved into second-place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings and trails teammate Greg Biffle by 19 points.聽 Kenseth spoke to the media before practice on Friday.

MATT KENSETH 鈥 No. 17 Ford EcoBoost Ford Fusion 鈥 WHAT ABOUT THIS WEEKEND?聽 鈥淚t鈥檚 been a good start to the season for us, so this is a great race track and one we always look forward to coming to.聽 I guess it鈥檚 the last race before they pave it, so I鈥檓 looking forward to getting on the track today and see how our stuff is to hopefully make it a little bit better than what we had last week and go from there.鈥

ARE THERE ANY OTHER TRACKS THAT NEED TO BE REPAVED AND ARE THERE TRACKS THAT SHOULD BE OFF LIMITS AS FAR AS THAT GOES?聽 鈥淭here are a few things there.聽 I don鈥檛 think they鈥檙e paving these race tracks because they think the racing is gonna be better or they don鈥檛 like the way the racing is or their surface is, I think most times the tracks get repaved because they want to get reconfigured or because the pavement is gonna fall apart, and, obviously, after the pothole in Daytona and that concrete came up at Martinsville one time, when things like that happen I think it makes everybody look at their surfaces more closely and seeing if there are gonna be any problems with cracking or the track falling apart.聽 So I think that鈥檚 what really dictates when the tracks get paved and when they don鈥檛 get paved.聽 From a driver鈥檚 standpoint, it鈥檚 always fun when they鈥檙e wore out and slick.聽 I think the racing is better.聽 I think there are more lanes on the race track, but you have to pave them sooner or later.鈥

HOW HARD IS IT TO BE THE ONE CAR THAT IS STRUGGLED WHEN ALL OF THE OTHER TEAM CARS ARE RUNNING WELL?聽 鈥淥ur team is smaller than it used to be, but whenever you have a big team you drive for, even though you don鈥檛 really talk about it or focus about it in meetings, but when you get done with the day no matter where you finish, you want to be the best out of your stable because you know everybody has access to the same stuff.聽 I feel like all of our cars are running pretty good right now.聽 I think this day and age with this car, this rules package and all the things going on that it鈥檚 harder to be way off than what it used to be.聽 You used to be able to build a car with a totally different body on it and basically then your teammate and it could look totally different in the wind tunnel and things like there, where you can鈥檛 really do that anymore.聽 So even though when I look at the stuff and I see a lot different setups between the three of us every once in a while, they still run closer to the same speed than what you think they would.聽 You鈥檙e always looking to get your stuff better. You always want to be the one finishing up front, obviously.聽 There was that one year Carl won nine races and I don鈥檛 know if we won any or maybe only a couple, but you always look at that and try to get better.鈥

IS PROGRESSIVE BANKING REALLY AS GOOD AS IT鈥橲 BEEN MADE OUT TO BE?聽 鈥淚 think it depends what you want.聽 You said it didn鈥檛 work out so well at Bristol, I鈥檇 have to argue with that at least a little bit.聽 They took a track that was one groove, that you couldn鈥檛 pass on it, and at least now there are several grooves.聽 It鈥檚 still not the easiest track in the world to pass on, but I thought the race was fairly entertaining at the end of Bristol with me and Brad racing for the lead.聽 He passed me.聽 I passed him back.聽 It was side-by-side a little bit, so it depends what you鈥檙e looking for.聽 I think a lot of tracks I can look at and think about ones they reconfigured and I don鈥檛 think they made better, but if you want to use Homestead for an example, that鈥檚 just about a perfect race track.聽 They did the variable banking and it used to be so flat.聽 It鈥檚 got the most banking on the top, but not very much more, and it鈥檚 pretty darn competitive.

MATT KENSETH CONTINUED 鈥 鈥淭he top is probably the fastest groove when you get into a long run, but you can certainly pass there.聽 Look at what Tony did there last year.聽 I don鈥檛 think the racing can be much better than what we did there, so I think that鈥檚 a good example of the variable banking working well and doing it what they wanted it to do.鈥

DO PREFER LONG RUNS LIKE AT TEXAS LAST WEEK AND WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE TIRES FALL OFF A LITTLE BIT MORE?聽 鈥淚t depends what situation you鈥檙e in.聽 If you鈥檙e like it was last year at Texas when we were leading the race by four or five seconds, you love the long green flag runs.聽 You don鈥檛 want anybody to get caught up and take a chance of losing the race, but when you鈥檙e not the leader or you鈥檙e not the second-place guy, those guys were quite a ways ahead of everybody, I think most of the rest of the field would like to see a caution and get another shot at making an adjustment on a pit stop and getting caught up to everybody and catching your breath so you can make another run at it.聽 I think it depends where you鈥檙e running.聽 I like races with a lot of green flag running.聽 You can鈥檛 pass anybody under caution, so it鈥檚 always fun to be racing and have those long runs and concentrate on that.聽 Like I say, the farther toward the front you are, the more you enjoy that.聽 I thought the tire dropped off quite a bit at Texas.聽 One thing about this tire the last few years, even at places like this, you鈥檒l see a lot of fall off, but they put down a lot of rubber and it鈥檚 kind of slimy, so sometimes that makes it tough.聽 But I think there was a fair amount of drop off.聽 I think we had a second-and-a-half of drop off at least or something like that, and I think this will be similar to that.鈥

WHAT ABOUT THE CAR MAKES THE SETUP HARD FOR SUNDAY WITH THE TEMPERATURES GOING FROM COLD TO WARM?聽 鈥淏esides just your grille tape adjustments and things like that which changes your water temperature and your downforce level in the front, other than that, I think the biggest thing is the speed of the race track and the pace of the race will be enough different where you鈥檙e trying to run these cars so low to the ground and you鈥檙e making 1/32nd of an inch bump stop shim changes and stuff like that.聽 To have your bump stop loads and have your nose right where you want it and your profile all setup.聽 When we first go out there today it will probably be a second-and-a-half to two seconds faster than what lap 30 of the race will be, so I think that鈥檚 probably one of the challenges of hitting your setup right and having it right for when the pace slows down.鈥

AS A COMPETITOR DID YOU SPEND MORE TIME FIGURING OUT HOW TO TURN A SECOND PLACE FINISH INTO A WIN THAN SAY TRYING TO HAVE A BETTER CAR WHEN YOU WERE RUNNING 15TH ALL DAY AND THAT WAS THE BEST YOU COULD DO? AND IS THAT TIME PROVEN TO BE BENEFICIAL?聽 鈥淚 think there are times when we鈥檝e gone through long periods without winning that it eats at you a little bit and you think about it, but I don鈥檛 think necessarily during a particular race or after you finish second or third.聽 I think no matter where you finish you always try to figure out what you could have done better, what you can do better next time, what you need to do next time to make your car better, so I don鈥檛 think you ever really sit and think about how did I not get from third to first.聽 You try not to agonize about that too much, you just try to make yourself better the next time and do a better job next time, if possible.鈥

JIMMIE JOHNSON SAID TRACKS SHOULD MAYBE LOOK AT THE COMPOUND THEY鈥橰E USING NOW TO REPAVE?聽 HAVE YOU BEEN INCLUDED IN ANY MEETINGS ABOUT REPAVE ISSUES?聽 鈥淎ll the racing seems to be better when the pavement wears out and this new stuff doesn鈥檛 do that.聽 We鈥檝e all talked about it before, it would be cool if you could pave it and it鈥檚 already wore out, but the pavement is sturdy and doesn鈥檛 fall apart, but the top surface has some abrasion to it and gets slick, but nobody has figured out how to do that.聽 I鈥檓 not smart enough to know what they put in the black top and how they mix it, what chemicals are in there, or how much rock.聽 I鈥檓 not smart enough to figure all that out, but it seems like if you could pave it and have it a little abrasive 鈥 kind of like what it would be after a few years of aging 鈥 it seems like that would be pretty cool if you could figure out how to do that.聽 I don鈥檛 know how you do that.聽 All this new pavement is so good and I think it鈥檚 great because it鈥檚 great for the tracks financially and they won鈥檛 have to pave them for a long time.聽 But I鈥檓 not sure that in my lifetime Daytona will ever get like it was before they repaved it. That was all of the real old stuff, it had big rocks in it and it was real slick and wore out, and this new stuff just seems to be pretty durable.聽 Like you say, at Charlotte with all the miles we鈥檝e run on that and you can hardly tell it鈥檚 aged at all.聽 The same at Darlington.聽 Darlington is just like it was when they paved it pretty much.聽 It鈥檚 very similar, so I鈥檓 not sure if that needs to be fixed or I don鈥檛 know how you fix that.鈥

HAVE YOU BEEN CONSULTED? 聽鈥淚鈥檝e never been consulted, but certainly NASCAR always listens when you have something to say.聽 They do all those meetings 鈥 in the winter and during the year 鈥 where they tell us all about what鈥檚 going on and ask our opinions and listen, which is really nice.聽 It鈥檚 nice to feel like you can at least voice your opinion.鈥

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