Roush F-150s Take Top Two Spots
and Mike Bliss placed first and second in the Grainger 225 at
Portland International Raceway. It was Biffle second career NASCAR
Craftsman Truck Series win, and second of the 1999 season. His
first victory came at Memphis earlier this year. Bliss' second
place finish was the best of his current season, and gave Roush
Racing the top-two places in the event. Grainger was not only the
race sponsor but also Biffle's team sponsor so the win was doubly
sweet. In addition, both Bliss and Biffle are from the Portland
area. Biffle is a Vancouver, Washington native, and Bliss
originally came from Milwaukie, Oregon, just down the road from
Mike Wallace, #2 Team ASE Ford F-150: (11th) "About the
13th, 14th lap something happened to second gear in this thing. I'd
go down in the corner and put it in second gear, and it would
pop itself out so I had to run when I could keep it in second gear
holding on to the shifter. So I ran from lap 16 holding onto second
gear, and then I'd go from first to third gear so I was missing
second gear basically the whole race. I was trying to save it at
least just to get to run on the long straight-aways. And that's the
only place I could use second gear. Unfortunately I had a parts
failure of a brand new piece. That's what the day amounted to. The
truck got tore up as far as the nose and the bumper because we got
all slowed up down there to miss one of those restarts in turn one,
and someone else was driving somewhere not in front of em, but run
in the back and shoved us into somebody. I guess considering what
we went through 11th is a frustrating finish because we were much
better than that, but that's where we finished."
Kevin Cywinski, #31 Auto Trim Design Ford F-150: (24th) "We
were outside of truck there towards the back, and got the tires off
the race track. Having the rain there just before the race didn't
help. I think we picked up miles an hour going off the track. It
was unfortunate we got this Auto Trim Design Ford F-150 off there
into the barrier. It ruined the day right off the start. It's
really too bad for the team. Hopefully we'll bounce back at Watkins
Boris Said, #44 Federated Auto Parts Ford F-150: (FIFTH AFTER
STARTING ON THE POLE, THEN FALLING BACK AFTER A BATTERY CHANGE AND
COMING BACK UP THROUGH THE FIELD) "It was just unfortunate that
20 laps in we started to get a miss. I didn't really know what it
was. All of a sudden on a restart it just shut off. And then I
noticed that the battery was just completely dead. And we were just
limping around. The guys had to go all the way back to the truck to
get a battery. They ran all the way back, and we changed it. With
10 laps to go we were pretty fast. We were pretty banzai there
passing people two and three at a time sometimes. That Ford was all
right. I used it as a battering ram there sometimes, but that F-150
is one tough truck. I can attest to that."
Greg Biffle, #50 W.W. Grainger Racing Ford F-150: (WON - SECOND
WIN OF THE 1999 SEASON. HIS FIRST CAME AT MEMPHIS.) "The
strategy the Grainger team had was right on track. They are road
racers, and we had a better tire than he (third place finisher Ron
Fellows) had. He was starting to get loose, and I knew I had him.
I said I had him going down the back. I tried to get him there and
he wouldn't let me inside. The minute we saw that corner it was
covered with dirt clods and somebody had gone in there and thrown
dirt out. He was already sliding sideways before we contacted, and
we were doing everything we could to save it. The guys behind us
wrecked. It's great to compete with those guys, Ron Fellows and
Boris Said, those veteran road racers. Coming from a year ago never
finishing a road race to winning one. Hats off to these guys."
MORE GREG BIFFLE FROM POST-RACE INTERVIEW: "I hated for it
(the contact with Fellows) to happen. I'm confident that if the
dirt wouldn't have been on the race track we would never have had
any contact at all. Right after we got through there there was a
crash. Another truck spun out. It was just all of the dirt on the
track that mainly caused all the contact. I wouldn't have gotten
into that corner and run into him on purpose."
WERE YOU AWARD JACK SPRAGUE AND RON HORNADAY HAD GONE OUT EARLY?
"Yes, I was. And then Stacy Compton was doing his best to stay on
the lead lap. I'm not able to drive down into the chicane and make
those passes like Ron Fellows. He was doing a great job of that. I
tried it on Stacy Compton, and he was trying to fight to stay on the
lead lap. And that gave a chance for Ron to get the lead back.
Those were the guys we needed to race today. Jack Sprague, Ron
Hornaday, Stacy Compton and Andy Houston - those are the guys that
are ahead of us in points. Most of the race I was just trying not
to break parts and be smooth on the gas and braking. I was just
trying to be as easy as I could with the pieces. I knew those guys
were out there.
Ron was faster than me most of the day until the end, and the
tire deal just didn't work out for him. We stopped under the green
and took four new tires. We were able to just cruise and save the
tires. Everybody had to stop again. The leader was going across
the start-finish when I was in the esses, so I was close to going a
lap down. We knew that we didn't need to run the truck at that time
because everybody had to stop. So we just kind of coasted to save
the tires and save the tires. Then there was a bunch of caution
laps. We had better tires, tremendously better tires. I didn't
think I was going to be able to make a pass that soon. It was about
14 to go, and I could tell I was a little better. I figured in ten
more laps I might have an opportunity."
COULD YOU COMMENT ON WINNING THIS RACE RIGHT ACROSS THE RIVER
FROM YOU HOME? "It's great. It's the first time Grainger has
gotten involved with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. All the
executives are here from Grainger and a lot of family, fans and
friends from this area. I spent a tremendous amount of time
promoting this event coming up to it. It was just a spectacular
victory today. It's a team accomplishment. Coming from a year ago,
we had not finished a road race. And to be able to win, and not to
have any failures. That was a win in itself for us. Just finishing
the race. If we had finished fifth today that would have been a win
for us. Once it got going we made some last minute decisions on
sway bars and things like that. I had never even considered the
truck was going to be that good. The truck was just flat awesome
today. We had a great pit stop. It was great to win in front all
those fans and Grainger folks."
HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE HERE FROM VANCOUVER? "I really don't know.
It was a great turn-out. There was a couple bus loads from my pub,
and lots of folks I couldn't begin to guess how many."
WILL THERE BE A GRAINGER BONUS? "I don't know. I'll have to
talk to them about that. I'd just like to go shopping for all the
tools and supplies they've got. If you've ever seen a Grainger
catalog, it's something else. They've got every tool in there you'd
WHEN DID YOU PIT? "I believe on lap 37 under green. We're going
to try the same strategy (at Watkins Glen). Fortunately I've got a
race under my belt at Watkins Glen, and I was leading there when we
broke the transmission. We've already led there. I was leading Ron
Fellows and Hornaday and all those guys. So I think we've already
proven we've got the ability at Watkins Glen and be a threat. I
learned a lot today on how to save on the transmission and brakes
and things like that so we'll go to the Glen and try to improve on
saving parts. That's the biggest advantage I have this year, being
at every race track at least one time. We've got notes from all of
them from last year."
Ron Barfield, #55 Icehouse Beer Ford F-150: (18th) "I
run about the whole day without a brake pedal. It's just something.
I wasn't too bad there to start with. Just all of a sudden we
didn't have a brake pedal, and then later on the rear master
cylinder didn't have fluid. It was just one of them deals. This
Icehouse team will bounce back from it, and we'll go on to Watkins
Glen and maybe we'll get us a win there."
Kevin Harvick, #98 Porter-Cable Power Tools Ford F-150: (20th)
"It was just one of those deals. A guy got in the back of him
and knocked the valve spring cooler off. We had a good truck. It
was not going to win the race, but we would have finished in the top
ten. But that's the way it goes. The Porter-Cable Ford and the
guys did a heck of a job. We'll go to Watkins Glen and take it from
Mike Bliss, #99 Exide Batteries Ford F-150: (2ND) "Roush
Racing has an awesome road course package. We did some good pit
stop strategy. We got great fuel mileage today. We had one stop.
We planned on it all day. It got us a good track position, doing
the pits the way we did. I can't say enough for this Exide team.
They really worked hard here this week. We didn't really have a lot
of time to work on this truck. They changed four transmissions
while we were here in three hours. I'm really proud of this team.
We had a real good transmission in it today." YOU WERE NOT PLEASED
WITH YOUR QUALIFYING EFFORT YESTERDAY. IT DIDN'T SEEM TO HINDER
WHERE YOU ENDED UP. "I'm not a good qualifier when it comes to a
road course. I don't know what it is. I can just run consistent
all the time out there on the track. I can't run that second
quicker. I need to learn that."
Matt Chambers, #99 Exide Batteries Ford F-150 crew chief:
"We're really excited. This is our first top-five of the year
with Mike. The last three races we've had a pretty good truck for
Mike. We're finally getting the stuff to where he likes the feel of
it. We're getting there. The whole team is pretty geeked."....
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