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Kansas post race press conference

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NASCAR Nextel Cup
September 30, 2007

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Greg Biffle
Ford

KANSAS CITY, KS -- GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 Aflac Ford Fusion – “It was obviously a good day when we ended up in Victory Lane. We qualified well, and the car was pretty decent off the start of the race, but I was just a little loose into the corner, tight in the center, and really couldn’t get a handle on that. And I was too loose, and then too tight at the beginning of a run on tires to be able to keep up with the field. I moved to the top, and my car was pretty good up there, but the first 10, 15 laps of the run I was just way too loose to run at the top. But after I got 15 laps in, I started running those guys down like mad. That was our deal and Greg came up with some changes on the car during that rain delay, and it really, really helped the car, and then I was able to run the bottom. After that I was pretty successful. Just a little bit too loose out front, but we were just saving that right-rear tire, you know, just as much as I had to to get to the end of the race. It was just maintaining the 07’s position back there. I knew, five to go, that I was probably going to be all right, but I wasn’t looking for that caution, that’s for sure. What made me nervous, I didn’t know how good the 07 was on the re-start, but we’ll never know. It was so dark – about three laps before the caution I went ahead and opened my visor, and I had one of the amber visors that kind of brightens things outside, and I felt like I couldn’t see as good as I wanted to. So I opened that, and was running my visor open because it was so dark.”

GREG ERWIN – crew chief, No. 16 Aflac Ford Fusion – “We’ve been on a bit of qualifying role for us, we’ve had some real good qualifying efforts, and we kind of think that’s the first part of the hurdle for the weekend, certainly. Like you see here, it really helps us on pit road, it helps to not to have to come through traffic early in the race and things like that. We came here with the idea that we had to qualify well, and get up front. We kind of knew Saturday morning that we were going to be all right. The track kind of greased up a little bit Saturday in Happy Hour there, and we were a little concerned, but I think we found a few things that made a little bit of grip for us, really, on a longer run on old tires, and that’s where our looked like it would start to move forward after about 15 laps. But we just kind of suspected that later in the race there, with the re-starts and things like that, that we’d be able to go better in the first 15. So, we talked about it a little bit through that rain delay, and we made a few pretty significant changes there on that first pit stop after that rain delay and it seemed to be the difference. Obviously, the track position, we ran around most of that first part of that race between eighth, ninth, 10th position, and when that thing cycled out and we could start second and third, that probably made the biggest difference overall.”

BIFFLE, continued – IF YOU WEREN’T RUNNING OUT OF GAS, WHY WOULD YOU SLOW DOWN BEFORE THE FINISH LINE AND LET CLINT BOWYER PASS YOU? “Because it sputtered up in turn three and four because I was up on the banking, and obviously when you’re going that slow on that big of a banking, the fuel will run away from the pick-up. The thing still has enough gas in it – it probably will run three laps – but it sputtered up there, so I shut it off, and just coasted down and then started back up and then got another little spurt of momentum and shut it back off and I was steering with my knee – I was trying to save enough fuel to do burnouts and drive it to Victory Lane, because you’ve got to drive it over this little thing where they take pictures over here. So, I was steering with my knee and undoing my helmet, taking my seatbelts off and all of that and coasting down on the apron, and figured I was far enough along that I didn’t have to – I had to grab ahold of the steering wheel and had all of my stuff unbuttoned, start back up or let the clutch out, drive another 50 feet and then shut it all back of again. So, I didn’t really feel like it was necessary. The race was over, the caution was out, we were declared the winner, all we had to do was come back around and cross the stripe. So, that’s that. I could’ve passed the pace car, if you want. I can go start the car up and do some burnouts in the garage over here, do some doughnuts if that’ll make everybody feel better about it. I don’t know what to say.”

WHAT KIND OF CHANGES DID YOU MAKE TO THE CAR DURING THE RE-START? “That’s top secret. We just adjusted on the wedge and adjusted some tire pressure and did some other things, move the track bar. We made several adjustments throughout the day, and sometimes the combination is raise the track bar and add wedge, or lower the track bar and take wedge out. Sometimes it’s a combination of things that gets the car to go because you have different situations – it’s loose on entry, then it’s tight, then it’s loose on exit. So, sometimes lowering the track bar and taking wedge out can get in the corner, and then make it go around the center. We just constantly adjusted back and forth on it all day to try and get it to do what we needed it to do.”

AT THE END WAS IT SO DARK YOU COULDN’T SEE? “Yes and no. I knew that NASCAR made a decision that they were going to run to lap 210. And I fully intended for the green to come back out, and I fully intended to race Clint Bowyer to the line those last two laps under green. And I felt pretty confident that I could hold him off but we’ll obviously never know because it didn’t go back green. I was shocked, completely shocked when he said that – there’s more to it than that. One thing is, there’s so much debris on the backstretch that people don’t realize. It was going to take them probably 15 minutes – they had to bring two jet driers out, they had rubber tire carcass and debris all the way down the entire straightaway, so they had to go out physically and pick that stuff up, because you can’t blow it off because it’s too heavy. So they had to go out with the safety trucks, pick all that stuff up, get the blowers through there, give one to go, open the pits. It just wasn’t going to – if we would’ve went right back, okay. But they still had the whole race track to clean up and I never considered that. When they said they were going to call it, I thought, wow. But after I drove back by there, there’s all that stuff and we’re still five, 10 minutes away from being able to go green again.”


ERWIN, continued – “And he probably had one of the better seats in the house, being up front out there. He wouldn’t be back in the pack with those guys, going two- and three-wide, racing to the win. I had a hard time. I was able to see him most of the day off of two and down the backstretch, but with about 10 or 15 laps to go there, other than knowing he was in the front, it was a little bit hard to pick the car out – though I know it was harder for the spotters to see all of there cars. And they’re trying to keep those guys safe and with one to go it wouldn’t have been worth it.”

BIFFLE, continued – JIMMIE JOHNSON AND JEFF GORDON BOTH SAID THAT THEY THINK CLINT BOWYER WON THE RACE BECAUSE OF WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT? “Their opinion really doesn’t count, as far as I know. I think it’s NASCAR’s and Kansas Speedway. But, on the other hand, I just told you the circumstances that surround it. One, I wanted to save enough fuel to do a burnout and drive to Victory Lane. How was I going to get my car back over here? And one other thing that they don’t know is that NASCAR came to my car out in the grass and said, will it run? And I said yes. And they said, don’t touch it. We want six guys to push it back. So, they’re probably thinking, oh, it ran out of gas, it won’t run, I coasted across the line, everybody went by me, I turned off in the grass, and then we pushed it to Victory Lane. That’s not the case. The car runs right now. The car, you can go and start it. They told me not to start it – get away from the car, six guys, don’t touch the quarter panels. So, they need to understand that the car still runs. It still has gas in it. I was unbuckling and coasting to save my gas because I knew the race was over, the field was frozen, the caution’s out. And I didn’t know they were going to go by me. Should I have bumped the clutch again and give it a little more juice so they wouldn’t have rolled past me coming to the stripe? I wasn’t even thinking of that. I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know how bad you want Clint to win. I don’t care.”

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU FOUND OUT THE RACE WOULD BE SHORTENED AGAIN, THIS TIME TO 210 LAPS? “Yeah, a little bit of a sense of relief because I had a really fast car and I didn’t want to take the opportunity to put another set of tires on it. And we know set to set aren’t exactly perfect. Your car can change a little bit, but it gives a competitor a chance to make a pit stop and adjustment on his car. So Kevin Harvick could’ve made a pit stop, took wedge in or out, raise the track bar, do something with tire pressure and then been faster. So, if we stay on the same tires, I already know I have them beat. I know I’ve got the race won. When they shortened the race to lap 210, I knew that I’d win and I asked them how fast is the 07, and they said the 48 is coming pretty decent and the 07 is a little faster than the 29. But I had some left in the tabk, I had a little bit of speed left. So, I was pretty confident when they shortened it to 210 that we’d probably win, unforeseen a bunch of cautions, get the field bunched up, get the 07 on my bumper. I don’t know how good he was on a re-start. But I felt pretty confident once they shortened it that it was our race to lose at that point – because there’s no pit stops, nothing.”

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