Biffle, Edwards and Kenseth Press Conferences From Talladega

Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth all held their weekly Q&A sessions with members of the media on practice day at Talladega Superspeedway.

Biffle, Edwards and Kenseth Press Conferences From Talladega

Biffle, Edwards and Kenseth Press Conferences From Talladega

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, comes into this weekend 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after gaining one spot at Martinsville. He spoke about this weekend prior to practice.

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion – WHAT’S YOUR GAMEPLAN HERE? LAYBACK OR MIX IT UP AND RACE ALL DAY? “A lot of it depends on where you qualify and what the race feels like once you get going. Really, I think from the beginning of the year to right now the racing has changed drastically overall with the cautions. We used to get a lot of debris cautions and other cautions that bunched up a lot of restarts and a lot of green-white-checkers, but lately we haven’t had that. Even at the end of Martinsville there were cars blowing up and trying to get to pit road and we kept racing all the way to the end. I think you need to keep that in mind and think about that here. It’s happened before here, and even though I don’t think it will, but you could go flag to flag without having a caution. You need to keep the draft the whole time and not lose that front draft, so I think I’m just gonna go race and see what happens from there.” 
 
THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT TEAMMATES AND MAYBE TRYING TO PUT A BARRIER AROUND JIMMIE JOHNSON TO KEEP HIM SAFE? CAN YOU DO THAT KIND OF THING? “You just don’t know what’s gonna happen. One year we were here and I think Tony ended up winning, but we were running second to Tony while Greg and Carl hung back the whole time. Carl kept pushing Greg through the middle of the corner and Greg ended up wrecking and wrecking us with it and we were running second. I thought you couldn’t be in a safer place because I was running second behind Tony and my two teammates were coming up on the outside with 10 to go. So it’s just really unpredictable because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You can have the best of intentions and you can have all kinds of plans, you’re gonna want to draft with your teammates, but at the end of the day whatever position you’re in you need to try and make that work because you might be trying for something and it just doesn’t work out. Sometimes when you try too hard to force it bad things happen.” 
 
ONE THIRD OF THE GUYS ENTERED HAVE GOTTEN UPSIDE-DOWN HERE AND THE LAST THREE RACES 40 PERCENT OF THE GUYS RUNNING GET WRECKED. AT WHAT POINT DO THOSE NUMBERS NOT BECOME ACCEPTABLE? “Whenever we come here, especially, I’ve been doing this for a while, I don’t know if this is my 10th or 11th year here, and there have been some lulls, a year or two where people don’t talk about it much, but every year you basically have the same conversation after the big wreck. The people that are in the wreck are upset as they should be, and you starting thinking about, ‘Man, somebody could have got hurt.’ People leave here upset because a lot of times you get in a crash and more times than not it’s not your fault, it’s one or two guys that make a mistake or don’t know where somebody is at and take out 10-15 cars. It’s just the kind of racing that is and you have to deal with it the best you can. You have to try to be in a position not to be in that wreck and hope everybody is okay after it’s all said and done and get ready to try to do it again.” 
 
WHAT’S IT LIKE FOR YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS WHEN YOU COME HERE? DO YOU TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT? “We really haven’t. I think everybody is different and everybody has their own beliefs and theories about things. I don’t really sit around worrying about that and Katie really doesn’t either. I think things are mapped out for you and when it’s your day, it’s your day. We go out and try to do the best we can, try to make our cars as safe as we can, and it’s not something you really think about when you’re driving. If it does get to that point and you’re thinking about it while you’re driving or before you (get in the car), then you probably need to start thinking about doing something else.” 
 
IS THERE A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY BECAUSE OF THE NEW CAR? “Not for me. It’s nice that we’ve been through a pretty good period without any serious injuries. That’s nice. We went through a horrible period for a few years where we had some fatal injuries and some people injured pretty seriously.   We went through that, so it’s nice that things have been better lately. One thing you’ve really got to commend NASCAR for is they’ve spent a lot of their own time, money and resources to make that happen for us and they continue to do that. They’re not standing still. They’re always looking to try to make the tracks, the cars, pit road, everything safer each week.”
 
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion, sits sixth in the point standings and trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 213 points. He spoke about returning to Talladega after Friday’s first practice session.
 
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion – “We’ve got the Subway Ford this week. The car ran pretty well, but we’ve got a vibration that we’re working on and trying to figure it out. It’s not as bad as it’s been, but we’re working on that. I noticed when I sat down here this stand right in front of me says ‘vibration reduction stand.’ I thought that was pretty humorous. I should take that with me when I leave. That’s what we’ve been working on, but it’s a fun day for me today. We get to practice a couple of practices and then I’m gonna go over to a Subway in Pell City and we’re gonna sign some autographs. I’ve never been to Pell City, so we’ll go over there and maybe get some lunch and meet some people at Subway, and then come back and do Trackside Live tonight. We haven’t tried any qualifying trim yet, so I don’t know really what to expect for qualifying tomorrow, but we’ll do that tomorrow. For me, this race is an opportunity for us to cut into our points deficit. Most of you know my love-hate relationship with this place and right now I’m really looking forward to it, just because it could shake things up and it could work out in our favor, so we’ll just go run.” 
 
WHAT WOULD YOU THINK IF YOU GOT ONE POINT FOR EACH LAP LED HERE? “Are you trying to make it more dramatic? I guess that would be pretty interesting. I’d have to think that through. You can already wreck up there in the front and I think if you were paying points for leading, there would probably be a series of wrecks with guys leading and you still might be better off to sit in the back and wait it out. So it just comes down to how much risk guys are taking. It might even be more riskier to run up front, but that’s a good question.” 
 
WAS THERE A VIBRATION WITH ALL THE ROUSH CARS? “I was just speaking with someone on the way in and they said that, too. I didn’t realize that Matt was having trouble. I knew that Greg was, but it seems like something we’re all fighting and it’s such a difficult thing. They always give me a hard time in the meetings because I’m always screaming about how my car is vibrating and it makes you just want to give up. You’re like that guy on TV that swears he saw a UFO and everybody is like, ‘Yeah, okay,’ because they can’t duplicate it in the shop and they can’t duplicate it on the chassis dyno, so it’s one of those things you chase around. In the race car, it feels like it robs horsepower and it robs speed, so it’s important to me, but I’m the only one who knows that it’s going on. In a way, I’m glad all of our cars are doing the same thing at least, so we can maybe work on it.” 
 
WHAT DOES YOUR MIND GO THROUGH HERE WHEN IT’S INTENSE? “You’re thinking a lot of things, but here the tough part is to understand exactly where your car is, and that’s normally what you work on – you’re at a race track and you’re worrying about your car and the way you’re positioning yourself on the race track, but as important here you’ve got to have your peripheral vision working and watching your mirrors, listening to your spotter and understanding where everybody else is going and how much momentum they have, and then you also have to – at the same time – think about their possible intentions or what they are trying to do. If you can kind of keep that all going in your head, you can pick the right spot to move and that’s what makes it intense – these little bitty split-second decisions can dictate whether you go backwards or forwards. It all comes down to that last lap and you’ve got to make sure you pick the right one.” 
 
DO YOU STRESS UNTIL IT’S DONE? “I don’t stress about it, I just try to really focus. I’ve watched enough of these things and I’ve been involved in enough of them to realize that you just do the best you can and, at the end, one guys is gonna be in front when you cross that finish line. If you can separate yourself like Brad and I did a couple of years ago, if you can separate yourselves from the group at the end, you’re obviously doing yourself a huge favor because then you’re only dealing with one guy – so that would probably be the goal. I think that’s what you’ll see. I think you’ll see breakout groups at the very end of the race – guys that just commit to pushing another guy. Everybody is getting really good at that, so it could be pretty interesting.” 
 
TEAMMATES SEEM TO GET IN IT AT MARTINSVILLE. WHY? “I don’t know, I think it’s just coincidence. Usually, you leave there mad at somebody and everybody has enough teammates now that there are gonna be times when you’re really mad at your teammate, but that’s just racing. You’ve got to do the best you can to work with your teammates. I think that’s really important. I’ve learned that lesson over time. Obviously, I haven’t always worked the best with my teammates, or we haven’t gotten along the best, but I feel like that’s one of the strongest things we have on our team right now is I’m there to help Matt and Greg and David and I feel like they’re doing the same with me. I’m just glad we’re not having trouble and those guys can go do whatever they’re doing. On our team we are not ‘having at it’. We’re doing okay.” 
 
HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE IS THERE BETWEEN QUALIFYING SETUP AND RACE SETUP BEING AN IMPOUND RACE? AND ARE WE GOING TO SEE TWO GUYS DECIDE THIS RACE BY BREAKING AWAY? “We’re not gonna go into qualifying trim, I believe, or make a run by ourselves so we’ll just get the car the best we can to run the race and then we’ll go run our laps tomorrow. As far as the way the cars work together, the deal is if you can push someone’s bumper, your car gets in a little void of low pressure behind their car and you can just lay into it. You guys see what happens, but I think it’s too difficult to do that with three cars because the guy in the middle gets choked up and wrecked, so it’s hard enough to do with two. I think you’re right, like we talked about earlier, it’ll be two cars breaking away. If you look at the last laps of the last couple of these races, it’s been two cars breaking away – two cars over here and two cars over there – kind of separating themselves. If there are a couple groups of those two-car things going on during that last lap, it could be a pretty amazing race.  But everybody realizes that’s the deal now, so that’s what everybody is gonna be looking for, I think. They’re gonna be looking for somebody’s bumper to push on hard for the last lap.” 
 
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON PHOENIX? “Phoenix has been one of my favorite tracks to go to. That was the first place I ever raced on pavement, so that was a big deal to me to go out there in the USAC Silver Crown cars, so I spent a lot of nights laying in my bed thinking about Phoenix and how to run that place. I’ve had a lot of success there in the Nationwide Series. I think we sat on the pole there maybe in the Cup car or qualified second and led a bunch one time and that was good. It’s a driver’s race track. It’s a track that the driver can make a big difference on. Obviously, your car has to be set up really well, but once the car is perfect, that’s a track where it truly comes down to the driver. If you win that race, it’s one you can be really proud of, so I’d love to win a Cup race out there. That would be great, and the Nationwide races have been really good. I’ve really enjoyed running there. It’s such a unique track. It’s got bumps and it’s really unique. I like it.” 
 
WITH THIS TWO-CAR BREAKAWAY CAN YOU WORK WELL WITH JUST ABOUT ANYONE? “Yeah, and because of this two-car breakaway thing and how well the cars match up bumper to bumper, it leaves a lot of options out there. When Brad and I had our race there, I was in line like sixth or eighth and he just pulled up behind me and started pushing and we pulled out and we passed everyone. In two laps we were however many yards ahead of the field and we were just screaming. We hadn’t worked together all day. I’d never drafted with him before and that went really well. That could happen with anyone. I think you could have guys running under the white flag in eighth or ninth position and they get matched up the right way and pull out and go, I don’t think it matters what manufacturer the car is and whether they’re teammates or not, it’s just gonna come down to who gets teamed up together and if they can keep their cars together and not wreck one another. They’re gonna be really fast.” 
 
THERE HAS BEEN TALK ABOUT THE RPM ISSUES AND THE POSSIBILITY OF GANASSI COMING TO FORD. HOW MUCH OF A BENEFIT WOULD THAT BE HAVING WORKED WITH JAMIE BEFORE? “I don’t know what’s going on with RPM. I asked the question in the hallway there 15 minutes ago and nobody there really knew what was going on. That aside, the more Ford teams we can have the better. Ford is doing a great job in the marketplace and they’ve got a lot of resources at their disposal right now, and the more teams we can have running Fords, the better off we’d be. If the Ganassi guys want to switch to Fords, that would be huge for us. I would love to be able to work with Jamie and Juan and their engineers, and all the people over there. They’ve made some really big gains and their cars are really fast, so that would be huge for us to be able to work with them. The more the merrier.” 
 
WOULD IT GIVE THE ROUSH CARS COMPETITION IN THEIR OWN RANKS? “I think it would help us. I don’t know if I’d call it competition, but maybe it would be. It always helps me when one of my teammates is running better than me. It makes me faster. If those guys were able to come over and able to be part of our group and they had things that were working better than us, that’s definitely good for us. Hopefully, we could learn from them. Just like we talked about last week at Martinsville, we looked at Jamie’s situation and we say, ‘Here’s a guy who changed teams and all of a sudden can run very, very well.’ What I wouldn’t give to know exactly what’s different. That would be huge for us to be able to understand what is different with Jamie running at Roush and Jamie running at Ganassi because we would hope we could apply that stuff to our cars and make them faster too. So if you could have people like that, that are close and competitive, that are close to you, that would be great.” 
 
HOW DO YOU THINK THE ‘HAVE AT IT’ PHILOSOPHY HAS WORKED THIS YEAR? “I think it’s worked out pretty well. I haven’t noticed a huge difference, except for maybe in the penalties and that’s been nice for NASCAR to let us police things out there. I know I’ve pushed the limits of it personally, not intentionally, it’s just that some of the results weren’t intentional – that’s for sure. I think it’s good and I think it says a lot for NASCAR to recognize and stand behind the fact that the guys on the race track can police this as well as anyone. I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s good for the fans and good for the sport, and probably, in the end, better for safety.” 
           
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is looking to bounce back from a 33rd-place finish at Martinsville last weekend. He spoke with reporters about a variety of issues after practice.
 
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “I’ve had restrictor plate cars that are just as smooth as glass and then some that have a vibration. It’s weird that our cars right now, whether it’s the gear, the driveshaft, the angle – whatever is going on – there’s extreme vibration, a real high, harmonic vibration which is kind of aggravating inside. We’re working on it. We got it better, but we’re gonna look at a few more things, but I think we got most of it out of it.” 
 
CARL SAID HE FELT IT BEFORE, BUT IT’S HARD TO DUPLICATE AT THE SHOP. “We’ve had some issue with our cars vibrating on about every race track. We’ve complained a little bit about it, but here it’s been extraordinarily different. It’s a different vibration and it’s a real high frequency, meaning it’s a real fine vibration. It almost hurts your body being in the seat, it’s transferring the vibration through your body so much. We don’t know what it is, but it’s obvious we don’t have something happy inside there. Something is not lined up perfect.” 
 
HOW BIG OF A DEAL WOULD IT BE IF GANASSI MOVED TO FORD? “I think it would be great for Ford to have more teams in the sport. That being said, I don’t believe there would be a technology alliance between them and us. It would purely be them using the engine. I don’t think there would be any communication between the teams at that point, similar to a Hendrick and another Chevy team. They pretty much keep their information to themselves.” 
 
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT VIBRATION? “You just have to deal with it inside the car. We know it has to do with speed also because when it’s vibrating it takes energy. It’s not as smooth as it can be. I doubt whether we’re gonna have it all the way fixed. We’re just gonna have to work harder with straight line testing and some other things to figure out what it is before we come to tracks like this.” 
 
IS IT ANYMORE PHYSICALLY DEMANDING? “A little bit. Depending on the vibration it blurs your vision a little bit because your head is vibrating against the headrest, or you’ve got to hold your head off the headrest. You forget about it after they throw the green flag, but in practice you’re more sensitive because you’re more relaxed, but the car does have a lot of vibration.” 
 
ARE THE SPEEDS ABOUT WHAT YOU EXPECTED? “Yeah, I think so. We’ve kind of been faster and slower. I think the speed is okay.” 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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