Ford Performance NASCAR: Michigan 2 (Jack Roush & Greg Biffle Media Availability)

Ford Performance NSCS Notes & Quotes:
Pure Michigan 400 – Pocono Raceway
NSCS Qualifying
Friday August 14, 2015

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Ortho Ford Fusion and team owner Jack Roush, met with media members at Michigan International Speedway Friday morning to kick off race weekend in the Irish Hills. Roush and Biffle are no strangers to success at MIS over the years with Biffle securing a series-best 4 wins among active drivers, including the 1,000th win for Ford in June of 2013.

 


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JACK ROUSH, owner, No. 16 Ortho Ford Fusion – YOU HAVE A TRACK RECORD HERE WITH 13 WINS, TALK ABOUT WHAT THIS TRACK HAS MEANT TO YOU OVER THE YEARS. “Well, starting back a long time ago in 1966 I went to my first Indy Car race here. It was the first big race track I had ever been to. I was amazed with the accommodations and of course the Irish Hills topography here is wonderful. It is close enough that when I do my proficiency flying for my war birds I fly out over the race track a couple of times a month and it is a place where with the success that Mark Martin brought and Greg has won two of the most significant races we’ve won here, the 100th anniversary for Ford Motor Company and the 1,000thwin for Ford. We are looking forward to the new setup here with the aero and we look forward to seeing what we can do.”

 

GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 Ortho Ford Fusion – YOU LEAD ALL ACTIVE DRIVERS WITH FOUR WINS AT MICHIGAN. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE WEEKEND? “Yeah, this is a fun race track and I love the way it races and drives. I was nervous about when they repaved it years ago if we would still be successful and obviously we have been able to win after the repave as well. It is a great race track for us and has been for our whole company. A lot of us have won here. Like Jack said, we don’t know what to expect with those little bit different drag package and how our car will react to it so we can’t wait to get on the race track and see what kind of speed we have this weekend.”

 

WHAT IS YOUR ANTICIPATION OF HOW THE PACKAGE MIGHT WORK HERE? “That is really hard to predict. I know that we have tested a couple different packages here and I do know that the low downforce package looked like it raced well in practice or whatever. The high drag package may afford some opportunities because the track is so wide, that we can get up beside cars and get a draft at the end of a straightaway and get up beside them better than Indy was. Indy is really one lane. It was difficult to get close to that car in front of you because of the extra spoiler and extension on the bumper cover. It made it more difficult to get close to a guy to get a run on him. Here I think that may change with the different lanes but we will have to wait and see. The car is much looser to drive behind another car as well so that is why you look for clean air. This type of race track, being as wide as it is in the corner, is one characteristic that it has. We will just have to wait and see how it turns out. I thought I knew what it was going to look like at Indy and I was a little bit off but I am looking forward to today and see how it drives. We don’t ever practice around other cars. Typically we go make our own runs and then we move into qualifying and really the first time we race around cars is when the green flag drops. A lot of times we don’t know exactly how it will react until Sunday versus today. If we go out by ourselves it will drive like it normally drives. You won’t get that draft affect or what it does to the car in front of you.”

 

AS ONE OF THE DRIVERS NEEDING A WIN, DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BE MORE AGGRESSIVE THIS WEEKEND AND DOES YOUR PAST SUCCESS HERE PUT MORE PRESSURE ON YOU? “Yeah, I think a little of both. We have four races and have to win one of them to get in the Chase. We have been very fortunate to make the Chase six of the last seven years. We feel the pressure, trust me. This is a great race track for us. We just have to get it right today and tomorrow in practice. Our car has to have the speed to be able to pull off a win. We felt like we have been close. Charlotte, last week and Pocono were all opportunities for us. This certainly could be a weekend for us.”

 

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – YOUR COMPUTER SIMULATION PROGRAMS HAVE BEEN IN THE NEWS A LITTLE BIT. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT AND HOW MUCH A ROLE THEY PLAY IN ANALYZING WHAT THIS PACKAGE DID AT INDY AND WHAT IT COULD DO HERE. “The CFD comparisons were interesting. It is an imperfect science, CFD is. We applied what we thought was the important things to this package and this is the second time we have run this aero package. We miscalculated how loose it was going to be in traffic at Indy. We maybe had our drag a little higher than it should be for the length of the straightaway. We are cognoscente of the changes that will occur in a drafting scenario with other cars around. If you wind up being as loose as you want to be to have the speed by yourself you will probably be too loose to race it when it comes time. At Indy we did a good thing. We ran our three cars together and they learned some things about the drafting early on that raised a red flag so they weren’t as far off as they might have been. We have taken some drag out of the cars for here and were able to put it back in to get the downforce that goes with it if it looks like we need it. I think this will be a place, much like the XFINITY cars where you can run nearly wide open all the way around the race track. Once you get to the point of approaching wide open then you take the drag off and get the straightaway speed back. Guys have concentrated hard on the lessons learned at Indy as all the teams are I am sure getting ready for here. The other aspect of our simulation past CFD is the Formula 1 based system that we have just taken for the first time this year with Ford. It is coming into its own right. The guys are getting confidence in it. It is certainly online and doing a nice job.”

 

YOU HAVE SAID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN GET ONE OR SEVERAL OF YOUR DRIVERS INTO THE CHASE. WE KNOW YOU HAVE TENACITY, HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THAT GOING FORWARD AND MAYBE EVEN INTO NEXT YEAR WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING CHANGES TO MAKE SURE THAT HAPPENS. “We have been Cup racing now for 28 years and had times when we had the hot hand and the combination that everyone else wished they understood or could have and there have been times when we lacked that. We are on a cycle now that is on its way back up. Greg has had two top-five finishes this year and those are certainly races he could have won and there have been many other races that we have had streaks of brilliance throughout the race where a flat tire or something else that has happened to our disadvantage that has taken us out. All of my programs have got potential. As I indicated on the radio program, we are a ‘promote from within’ company and have had 36 drivers drive our cars over a period of time. 17 of them have won races. Not the same 17, but 17 are still involved in the sport in some way and we are excited about our new rookie field and of course Greg is a cornerstone of what we have done in Trucks and XFINITY and he has won championships in those two series’. I am not going to give up and I don’t think he will give up until we win the Sprint Cup as well.”

 

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – LOOKING AHEAD TO BRISTOL, WE RACED UNDER THE LIGHTS THERE IN APRIL AND WILL BE UNDER THE LIGHTS THIS TIME, IS THAT AN ADVANTAGE? “I don’t know if it makes a lot of difference but I would prefer to race under the lights. The night races are a lot more fun. The track is a little different and the tracks cool down at night. I just don’t know that the racing there in the spring under the lights is going to make a lot of difference. I just like the second race a lot better.”

 

WHAT IS YOUR COMFORT LEVEL WITH THE MOTORS YOU HAVE HAD THIS YEAR? “I think the engine part of our program is really, really strong. Doug Yates has led that engine group very well over there. We have the same exact engines as the 2 and 22 do so we have a lot of confidence. Certainly we see those engines winning races and it is the same thing we have. We don’t have to look under the hood when we are looking for speed. We have to look throughout the rest of our race car and find out where that extra speed is. We feel really good about our engines here. It is certainly not nice to see our engines winning races without us but it gives us confidence that we have the right combination to win.”

 

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE ADJUSTMENT TO A NEW SPOTTER THIS WEEKEND AND CHALLENGES OF THAT? “It is not one of the changes I was looking for but it was time to head down a different path for the company. Like I said, it was not preferable to start with a new spotter, especially with Bristol next week and four races before the Chase but it is a business and we will work for it the best we can to get up to speed with listening to a new guy up top.”


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