Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards Teleconference Transcript

Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle anchor the Roush Fenway Racing team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and while both drivers are still seeking their first victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway, they have combined to win 38 races.  Both men took part in this week’s national teleconference previewing Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 Fastenal Ford Fusion – WHAT MAKES THE 600 SO CHALLENGING TO WIN?  “Certainly the timeframe that you go through for a 600-mile race and how much the track changes, the temperature changes – all those things create a huge factor.  The start time ends a little bit into the evening, so there are all kinds of things, and Charlotte has been one of the more temperature-sensitive race tracks that we race on, literally a 5-10 degree temperature swing and the track will create a lot different speed.  So that’s the one thing that’s really challenging.  Normally, the guy who is fastest at the beginning won’t be the fastest car at the end of the night, so that tends to be probably the most challenging for the crews and the drivers.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – HOW DO YOU PREPARE DIFFERENTLY FOR A 600-MILE RACE?  “Specifically, I don’t prepare a lot differently physically, but mentally I think all of us have to prepare a little bit for the extra distance.  It is a grueling event and if the temperatures are high the whole weekend, everyone starts the event hot and worn out already, so 600 miles – you could look at it and say it’s only 20 percent longer than the other 500-mile race we run at Charlotte – but there’s something about that last 100 miles that does make it a lot more mentally tough, and I think from the mechanical side of everything, the engine department has to make sure that everything is gonna last.  You worry about hubs and drive plates and transmissions and all those things that wear out.  That extra 100 miles is a long way, especially with how hard we’re pushing these race cars.  I think we saw last week how fast this track can be.  It’s a tough race track on race cars, so I’d say mentally and mechanically it’s a tough race.”

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GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – ARE YOU OK WITH WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS?  “It was disappointing at Richmond.  We had a shock failure and then getting caught up in that wreck at Talladega, which you can never predict what’s gonna happen at Talladega, for sure.  At Darlington we finished 13th and it wasn’t the run we were looking for, but it wasn’t that bad.  At least that felt like we were getting back on track.  It is disappointing because we were up in fourth in points and had a little cushion to work with, so if we did have some kind of issue it wouldn’t drop us down so much, but it’s a long season.  I hate using the same old analogies, but we still have time to claw our way back up there and if we get a couple good finishes in a row or a couple top-fives, win one of these races, I certainly think we’re gonna be right back in the hunt.  We just need to continue to get our cars better is where we’re really working.  We feel we’re a little bit behind the competition, not far, but get competitive and winning a couple of these races and the points will take care of itself.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR PROGRAM IS AT RIGHT NOW, ESPECIALLY AT THE INTERMEDIATE TRACKS?  “It’s not where it needs to be or where we want it to be.  Everybody in the shop is working as hard as they can and, trust me, we’ve had some meetings where we’ve sat down and we’ve had some real tough conversations about what we need to do to be better, what we can do.  Greg and Ricky and I have talked about things that we can contribute to help speed up the development of our cars, but we also talk a lot about the good things that we’ve got going on.  We had a super-fast start to the race at Kansas and Ricky was the fastest car at the end of the race, so if we were going back to Kansas tomorrow, and I’m just trying to add a little perspective here because this is what we did in our meeting.  It’s not all doom and gloom.  If I could pick one car out of the field at Kansas, I would have picked Ricky’s car – the 17 car.  They were super-fast at the end of the race and strategy didn’t work out, so that’s one real bright spot we’ve had.  The other one is we were all so fast in qualifying for the All-Star Race.  I know Greg thought he was really fast, my car was amazing and at the start of the race up there in clean air we were pretty good, but we were just a little bit off.  The one that makes us all nervous was Darlington because we all thought we were gonna run really well there.  I’m not saying this because he’s on the phone, but there is no better driver at Darlington than Greg Biffle and I feel like I’m pretty good at Darlington and we struggled there.  So that’s one that made us really nervous and we feel like Atlanta, Homestead – those places drive a lot like Darlington, where the tires fall off – so that’s what we’re working on right now.  The good thing is we have a lot of time leading up to the Chase and we feel like that’s where we really need to peak.”

ARE YOU FOCUSING ANY TESTS ON THOSE TYPE OF TRACKS?  “We will be, yes.  We’ve got two things we’ve got to work on.  The things that are good – we’re fast in qualifying and we’re fast when the track is fast.  We’re really good at the restrictor-plate tracks right now.  My 99 car personally was really fast at Richmond, so we don’t feel like we’ve got a ton of work to do there.  We can kind of lean on what our 99 car did, but we still have to work on our Loudon and Martinsville, flat, shorter track stuff, so we’re trying to focus on our weaknesses so that we are as good as we can be in the Chase and we plan on having all three cars in the Chase.  If we can get a little bit of good luck all-around, I think we’ve got a really good shot at being pretty good in the Chase.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – ANY THOUGHTS ON THE POSSIBILITY OF A RACE GOING AWAY FROM CHARLOTTE?  “I highly doubt whether we see that race move to a different location.  There’s a lot of people that come to that race and the races I see, let’s face it, it’s a business decision a lot of times.  You make business decisions on the amount of people or fans or people you can attract to a particular race.  Well, if you race is well attended, I don’t see any reason for moving it.  Obviously, if we’re winning all the races, we’re not gonna be going out and doing all this stuff to try and change our cars.  So that’s the way I perceive it.  I’m an entrepreneur and business kind of guy and I see the grandstands fairly full when it comes to our two Charlotte races and a lot of attendance, but I don’t know all the behind-the-scenes stuff and, quite frankly, we’ll race wherever the race is at, so I like both of the race tracks.  I would like to see it stay in Charlotte, but if it goes to Vegas, then I suppose we’d have to race there.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “I agree with everything Greg said and, at the end of the day, we’re race car drivers and I have a lot of respect for the people at NASCAR and the track owners and operators and TV partners.  I have a lot of faith that they’ll put together the best package for the fans.  Our job is to drive the race cars as fast as we can.  Honestly, wherever we go to race, I’m gonna go there to win and I know Greg is gonna do the same.  As long as we’re giving the fans a good race and one they can go to an enjoy in person, and it’s fun for everyone, then that’s what we need to be doing.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – IS THERE A GOOD WAY TO HANDLE FRUSTRATION?  “We all know as race car drivers that there are good days and bad days and there are good months and bad months and good years and bad years.  So just because things aren’t going your way, the only thing you can do is do your best, try as hard as you can, focus, give 100 percent effort and when you walk away, knowing you did your best.  If your best isn’t good enough, then it’s plain and simply not good enough.  The minute you start to not give it 100 percent or try as hard as you can, that’s when you’re not gonna be successful anymore.  That’s the way I look at it.  I’ve been in years where I didn’t win a race.  I’ve been where it was a year-and-a-half where I didn’t win a race.  I’ve been in years where I’ve won five and was thinking, ‘There’s no reason why I’m not gonna win this week.’  I’ve felt that confident because our cars were that good.  These drivers, Carl included, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, we’re all capable of winning every single week provided the car is exactly perfect, right, the pit stops are great and we’ve got track position – every one of us – and we all know that.  That’s the thing I do keep in mind every week is that provided that opportunity, we’re gonna win.  So it’s up to us to try to create that opportunity every week.  Sometimes you can’t do it and sometimes you can.  Sometimes you do it and you screw it up, but you’ve got to just keep going after it.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “The hardest part is when things aren’t going your way.  I think what Greg said is exactly right, it’s very difficult when you transition from a very successful year to one that’s not so successful, and we’ve all gone through that.  I’ve gone through it pretty publicly a couple of times and at that time, to me, is when you have to be the toughest.  That’s when you have to have the most persistence and believe in yourself the most because if you start to fall apart when things don’t go perfectly, it snowballs into a pretty bad situation quickly, so you have to do just what Greg said – you have to lay it all on the line.  When the race is over, you have to be able to walk away and say, ‘I gave it my best and that’s what I got.’”

DO YOU GUYS LEARN FROM EACH OTHER ON HOW TO HANDLE THAT?  “Yeah.  Just listening to Greg describe how he does it helps me, and you can see it in the race car.  I was following Greg last week at the All-Star Race and he’s driving in the corner at 204 miles an hour sideways.  I can see his front tires turning back and forth, and we were running somewhere back there in 10th or 12th and I thought, ‘This is the All-Star Race.  If he gets to ninth it doesn’t matter,’ but that’s just how Greg drives and I see that a lot on the race track and it is motivating to realize that all of these guys – every one of us – we’re very, very competitive and very persistent and, like you said, when the day comes when everything works your way if you’re giving it 100 percent, you’ll get that victory.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – DID YOU KNOW DICK TRICKLE?  “I didn’t know him that well.  I probably met him several times and talked with him.  He seemed like a great guy and did a lot for this sport, a lot for short-track racing, but I hadn’t talked to him in probably a few years or hadn’t seen him.  It makes you feel sad that he couldn’t find some help wherever he needed to.  If he was in pain or whatever the case might have been, you feel like you wish you could have been there to do something.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “I did not know Mr. Trickle, but the first time I ever saw him I was 16 years old.  I was working on Kenny Schrader’s ARCA team in the garage at Michigan and it felt like it was 140 degrees outside.  It was really, really hot and they sent me on an errand to go over to the Cup garage to grab something.  I was walking through the Cup garage and I was really hot, but I look over here’s this gray-haired man standing in a black firesuit with a cigarette in his hand out in the sun, leaning on the garage, and I think he had a cup of coffee in the other hand, and in my mind I thought, ‘That must be the toughest human being on Earth.’  So after seeing that, I’ve always had a ton of respect for Dick Trickle and then learning about his legendary short track races and his career and how hard he worked and how helpful he was to everyone.  I can only say that for a man like that, for him to end his life that way he must have been dealing with some really tough things.  We hope his family is doing well and I have a feeling, just from what I’ve heard about him, he wouldn’t want us even spending this much time talking about it.  He’d be more worried about the folks in Oklahoma and the folks out there that are struggling to get what they need in their lives.  Hopefully we honored him last week well with our pole position and his name on the car, and we hope his family is doing well.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – DO YOU EVER SEE NASCAR PUTTING A LIMIT ON HOW FAST A CAR CAN GO ON A PARTICULAR TRACK?  “I think that’s kind of an unsaid rule right now, and, ironically enough, we have driver and owner meetings with NASCAR where some of those things are addressed at that time.  I think everybody is pretty comfortable with the speeds.  Now, one thing that is ironic is that the qualifying and practice speeds are up, but it seems like the race lap speeds – where most of the accidents occur – are really close to the same as they were.  So even though we’re seeing some record speeds that’s in qualifying.  Certainly there is a limit to the speed that these cars can go, but it’s almost track specific on an actual speed.”

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