NASCAR BGN: Greg Biffle jumps to full time ride in Busch Series
Posted By Terry Callahan
Greg Biffle, 2000 Craftsman Truck Series champion, makes the jump to
full-time Busch Series competition this year, taking over the seat vacated
by the all-time winningest Busch Series driver, Mark Martin. Biffle,
competing for 2001 Rookie-of the-Year honors, qualified 24th in yesterday's
first-round qualifying session for Saturday's NAPA Auto Parts 300. Biffle
finished 11th in last year's Craftsman Truck Series 250 after getting caught
up in a accident that ended his day eight laps short of the checkered flag.
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
GREG BIFFLE --50-- Grainger Ford Taurus -
YOU'RE FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MARK MARTIN THIS YEAR, DOES THAT ADD ANY PRESSURE TO YOUR ROOKIE SEASON? "Yes and no. We know that this is a whole new team with all new race cars, but to pick up where Mark Martin left off definitely leaves some big shoes to fill. I'm looking forward to that challenge, and I'm just excited to be in the Busch Series. We've tested well, but I was nervous in the beginning with everything that was going on, moving and getting everything going. I was a little nervous about being competitive and how we were going to run, but now that we have some tests under our belt, that took some pressure off. I at least feel like we're going to be in the top 15, maybe not the top 10 or the top 5 right out of the gate, but I feel like we're going to be there midway through the season based off the tests we've run."
WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE YOUR BEST RESULTS? "We'll probably run best at the tracks that I had success on the Trucks Series. Those are tracks that best suit my driving style. We tested pretty good at Rockingham, although we've never raced there. We had a good test at Las Vegas, we tested really good at Kentucky, and I won there in the trucks. We've won at a lot of places that I like to race, Richmond, Milwaukee and Nazareth. We ran real well at Gateway and Memphis last year, so I'm looking forward to a lot of those places and even the new ones. I always enjoy going to the new tracks because it's kind of a level playing field for everybody. Granted, the veterans have a lot more experience and know what they're looking for from the car, so they may be a little better than us early in the weekend, but without having ten races under their belts at that particular track, I think it helps us a little bit."
DO YOU GET INSTANT RESPECT IN THE GARAGE COMING HERE AS THE 2000 CRAFTSMAN SERIES CHAMPION? "I think you have to go out and earn it. I feel we get a certain amount of respect for being a rookie team, and maybe Roush has something to do with that and then taking over Mark Martin's spot, and probably being the champion. All of those added together probably give me more respect than some Joe Rookie coming into the series. All of us watch everyone else's divisions. I watched the Busch Series all year last year, and a lot of those guys watch truck races, so they know what we're about. But you definitely have to go out and earn your respect on the track, but hopefully I'll be able to race around some guys out here tomorrow during Happy Hour, and then in the race, hopefully they will feel comfortable racing with me."
YOUR TRUCK CREW CHIEF HAS MADE THE JUMP WITH YOU TO THE BUSCH SERIES. IS RANDY GOSS OUT HERE TRYING TO MAKE A NEW GROUP OF FRIENDS? "I think so. We've hit it off with the officials, at least I don't think we're on their bad side yet, and Randy has been out here making friends in the garage, and that's what we need to do to succeed over here when we get into spots when we need some help. I think that we're fitting in OK, but we're struggling because we don't know a lot about the cars or the series, but we're learning and we're making a list and writing in our notebooks, so that when we come back again next time we're more prepared."
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DIFFERENCES THAT YOU'RE FEELING BETWEEN THE CARS AND TRUCKS RIGHT NOW? "We really don't know a lot about the Busch superspeedway 'aero' package, what people are doing with shocks, springs and truck arms and how they are getting them down in the air so far. We can clearly see that other people are traveling further than us, and we don't know why. This is the first time that we've done this. Looking around the garage, looking at our stuff and studying it, there is stuff we can't fix here, but the next time around at Talladega, we can be a little bit better. Little things like that will help us down the road."
THE NEW BUSCH MOTORS ARE CLOSE TO THE TRUCK MOTORS THAT YOU RACED LAST YEAR. ONCE WE LEAVE DAYTONA AND REMOVE THE RESTRICTOR PLATE, DO YOU THINK THAT WILL BE AN ADVANTAGE FOR YOU? "We've tested three times with the new engine package unrestricted, and I love it. I don't see a big difference between it and the truck. I've never raced a Busch car with the old engine, but I did test for Jeff (Burton) at Charlotte, and I can accelerate a lot better with now, and you can tell there is a lot more power."
HOW HAS JEFF BURTON PLAYED A ROLE HELPING THIS TEAM GET UP TO SPEED? "Jeff has helped a lot, but Mark Martin has also given us help. He's a great asset as well. Any questions that we have, he's there to help. At Las Vegas, we had his shock package on it, and he was there with his Cup car testing, so he's given us so much information. Burton's really watching out for us, too. He's our teammate this year, and he's helped participate getting the speedway body put on for us over at the Cup shop. He's done a lot to help us get organized, and he keeps telling us things we need to do and things we need to be doing. Mark and Jeff have been right there for us, and it's definitely an asset. Without those guys, we would be struggling even more."
WHAT KIND OF RACE ARE YOU EXPECTING TO SEE ON SATURDAY? "You can't bump at a superspeedway in the cars like you could the trucks. You might see some at that at the shorter tracks, but not here this week. I just want to pick a line, stay in line and not get shuffled out. If I can stay in the top 15 or 20, and that's what we really need to do here, just get some drafting experience. We need to stay out of trouble and help some guys out on the race track so that we can get the favor back at Talladega. We need to make some friends, move on to Rockingham and get to racing where we know a little more about what we're doing. Here, it's all new territory."
HAVE YOU STRUCK ANY DEALS YET WITH ANY OF THE OTHER DRIVERS? "No, not really. I haven't talked to them a lot. That's the thing. I really don't know what kind of deal to make or what to expect, so maybe after Happy Hour, I'll have a better idea of what I'm looking for or how to help somebody."
Mark Green, driver of the No. 55 MSN Ford Taurus, was the only Ford to attempt second round of qualifying today, and with a time of 49.525 seconds, he clinched the 31st starting spot for Saturday's 300-mile race. By making the 43-car starting field, Green completed the trio of racing brothers that includes NASCAR Busch Series champions Jeff and David.
MARK GREEN --55-- MSN Ford Taurus - "Yesterday we kind of stepped on our feet going through technical inspection, messed the car up and got it out of shape. After that catastrophe, we kind of took everything apart and started from scratch, getting everything straight and where it is supposed to be."
NOW YOU'VE COMPLETED THE GREEN TRIO IN SATURDAY'S RACE. DID THAT THOUGHT EVERY CROSS YOUR MIND? "It's a little bit of a prestige thing and it's something we can brag about, but most importantly, I would like to think that we could all work together on the track. They're my brothers, so I hope that I can trust them. I always thought I could trust them, but last year at Talladega I was running fourth with about three laps to go, Jeff was behind me and I thought we had a good thinking going, but a half a lap later he hung me out. I'll have to remind him of that before we take the green flag on Saturday."
Text Provided By Ford