Biffle Finishes Third In Daytona 500

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Biffle Finishes Third In Daytona 500

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Finished 3rd) – “I tell you what, I’m so proud of my guys at the shop and at the engine department. They build such good cars and worked all winter. Hopefully, California is as good as this was, but I just made a mistake – a lack of experience probably. Going into turn one I should have pushed McMurray, instead of trying to make the pass then when I got the big run and try to make the pass coming to the stripe or down the back, instead of down the front. Third-place isn’t all that bad, but I’m just so happy for Jamie. I pushed him to the win down the backstretch and I feel pretty good about that.” WHAT ABOUT THE LAST LAP? “It was unbelievable crazy. Restart after restart and we were digging and clawing. Lane choice had a lot to do with it. I couldn’t get anybody to push me. It looked like the 33 spun his tires on that one restart. McMurray spun his tires on that last one and I was able to get him straight and push him, but I’m just so happy. The guys worked so hard over the winter on this 3M Ford Fusion, and our engine department – Doug Yates and all those guys – worked so hard on this engine getting it tuned up for the 500-mile race. I’m just so proud of them.” WHAT WAS IT LIKE WITH THE HOLE? “That sucked, and then I can’t believe I didn’t hurt the right-front. I was hitting that thing because my car was sliding up the race track and I was doing all I could do, but I’m just elated we came out of here without tearing that car up. We were completely sideways, on the apron, the 33 in the back of me, the 29 cut me off. It was pretty incredible.”

JOHN ANDRETTI – No. 34 Window World Cares Ford Fusion (Finished 38th) – “We were running the race to be there at the end and, unfortunately, there’s quite a bit of the race still left to go. Evidently, the track came up. The 48 went through it and evidently I went right after it and it not only cut the tire, but you could hear the tire go and then the inner liner right behind it. At that point, you’re just a passenger.” DID IT FEEL LIKE DRIVING OVER A POTHOLE OR SOMETHING? “No, I’m busy looking ahead because I want to make sure if I see any smoke that I’m not driving into the middle of an accident. I wasn’t really expecting there to be a hole in the track. I can’t say absolutely that’s what happened, but my Window World Cares Ford was pretty good. It wasn’t like I was plowing and waiting to pit or something like that. We didn’t have any vibrations or anything. It was fine.”
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Finished 8th) – “I’m happy with the result, but wasn’t very happy with our weekend overall. We started the day way, way off and it was just a battle the whole time. We got lucky.” HOW DID YOU HANDLE THE PATCH AND ALL THE RED FLAGS? “We ran about 25th or 30th all day, so all of those green-white-checkers helped us and gave us an opportunity to make some moves there at the end and kind of go crazy. I just got a run down the back and was able to get three or four-wide up against the wall, and I got some help. I got my momentum up there and got lucky to get a few spots. We didn’t race our way to eighth and didn’t really deserve eighth. I just got lucky.”
BILL ELLIOTT – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion (Finished 27th) – “That was my fault down there. I ran in on whoever I was following toward the middle and I had to check up a little bit, so when I started up Logano was on me. I’m sure Eddie told me, but I didn’t hear him. What are you gonna do with a green-white-checker? It’s just one of those things.” WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE PAVEMENT COMING UP? “I hated to see that. I wanted the race to go on and keep running, but we did the best we could and we’ll do it again.”
KASEY KAHNE – No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion (Finished 30th) – “I hate it for the Budweiser team. We ran up front most of the day, but got shuffled back. It was all about getting in the right line out there today, and it just didn’t work out at the end. It’s just disappointing that our day ended with a wrecked car.”
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Finished 16th) – “I feel like we had a much better car than a 16th-place car, but with speedway racing, sometimes things are out of your control. Donnie Wingo made the right call to take two tires there at the end, and I think that we had a car that could have won had things gone our way there at the end. But we weren’t in the right lane and all of those guys were coming hard. It was a good effort by our UPS team. Our guys were really quick in the pits and were able to gain us spots on most of our stops. We just didn’t get the finished that we wanted.”
ROBERT RICHARDSON JR. – No. 38 Mahindra USA Tractors Ford Fusion (Finished 31st) – “Everybody went over that bump in the middle of one and two and got out of shape, and then tried to regroup, but some people were putting their nose where it shouldn’t have been and one thing led to another. A couple of cars ended up getting wrecked and we were one of them.” DID THAT PATCH GIVE YOU TROUBLE? “Absolutely. I wish they would resurface the whole race track, but we played the cards we were dealt and played it to the best of our ability. We came away with a wrecked race car, but we had a lot of fun today.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion (Finished 32nd) – WHAT HAPPENED ON THE SPIN? “I’m not really sure. I was under Jeff and I’m not sure if it was that pothole there or not, and it doesn’t really matter, but I just got a little tight. I didn’t want to get up into Jeff, and I don’t know if Kyle was right behind me, but I just lost it.”
PAUL MENARD – No. 98 Peak/Menards Ford Fusion (Finished 13th) – “It was a solid day. When the sun was out we weren’t as good as when it started to go down. The track got a little more grip and that’s what our car needed. It was a long day and you think about a 500-mile race and it all comes down to two laps at the end. It was make or break at that point and it seems the guys running up front go to the back and the guys in the back go to the front. I just had a good restart and hooked up with the 17.   He made a couple holes on the outside and I just followed him through and passed quite a few cars.”
GREG BIFFLE PRESS CONFERENCE – “It was a great day for the 3M Ford Fusion. The best car I’ve really had here at Daytona in quite some time, probably the best car since I sat on the pole in 2004. The car drove really, really good. There was the middle part of the race there where I lost a little track position, but really just ran in the top six the entire day once I got there – top eight. Pit stops were phenomenal, again. My 3M guys – Pitbulls – I gained five spots on one and then gained three on the other to take the lead off of pit road and beat the 33 out. It was unbelievable what they did. There at the end on the restarts, I guess I couldn’t get anybody to push me. It seemed like maybe they were spinning their tires on the restart or what, but the outside lane just kept getting a run there. Those guys were better at getting to the throttle. Truex gave me a huge shove down the back and we broke away. I was just hoping we could get to the white flag. I was half a corner away from winning the Daytona 500. Jamie spun his tires on the final restart and I was able to push him easy until we got straight and continued to push him all the way to turn one. It was the first time in Speedweeks I pushed a guy in the corner down there in turn one and two, trying to keep him straight, trying to push him around the corner, and then got locked on him down the backstretch and just shoved us both by by a huge amount. I feel good about helping Jamie get clear and get out front. I just wish maybe I would have waited until the backstretch to make my run on him. I had a huge run going and I just couldn’t clear him. I couldn’t get by him. I tried it on the frontstretch and gave Junior and all the guys an opportunity to get back up beside us. I’m just real happy to finish third, go on to California, and I’m happy I had an opportunity to win the Daytona 500.” 
WHAT WERE YOU TRYING TO DO ON THE BACKSTRETCH, PUSH HIM OR PASS HIM? “I was trying to get us both out front, so that I’d have a shot at making a move on him on the last lap. I just wanted to get clear because second-place in the Daytona 500 isn’t too shabby, either. It’s certainly not like winning, but that’s the best spot to try and win from is following the leader. I was glad I was out of that gaggle of cars because when we’re three-wide and people are slamming each other, then we’re in big trouble. But if we can get singled out, we can push out there. That’s when you get your best opportunity to push by him. I just made my move too soon. I tried it on the front and it was a mistake on my part, probably. I should have waited until down the back. I should have just pushed him around one and two again, and maybe even pushed him down the back and then try it over here on the short chute.” 
WITH SO MANY RESTARTS AT THE END WERE YOU GETTING THE SENSE YOU WERE NEVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET THROUGH TWO LAPS WITHOUT SOMETHING HAPPENING? “Yeah. I was just hoping something would happen when I was out front and I just took the white. That’s what I was hoping for. It did where I was out front and in a regular green-white-checkered I would have won the race here tonight, but I’m with Junior. I think maybe two attempts or something at the green-white-checkered. Three might be a little excessive. We kind of got caught there because the one attempt wasn’t considered a green-white-checkered because it was under the normal amount of laps. That made it kind of extraordinary, so I think we could have done it two more times, so it was kind of unusual the way it happened here tonight. But a couple times you need to try and get it to finish under green.” 
DID YOUR HEART SINK WHEN YOU WERE LEADING AND THE CAUTION CAME OUT BEING SO CLOSE TO THE WHITE FLAG? “Yeah, I was thinking, ‘Why do I have to be the first casualty of the rule change? To be the guy that didn’t get the win?’ It’s just the way it is. Like Junior said, we’ve got to race by the rules and that’s what they’ve determined we’re gonna do. We would have been fine if a couple of the guys on the restarts there wouldn’t have spun their tires and we got a better push. Everytime I got going there nobody was behind me, and then Jamie spun his tires, but that’s the way it is. We’ve got to go by the rules and, yeah, I wish I was out there spraying some of that champagne right now.” 
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT JAMIE WENT THROUGH LAST YEAR? YOU MUST BE HAPPY FOR HIM. “I’m so happy for him. I went straight to Victory Lane when I got done with my interviews. I felt like I was a big part of getting him up there because he spun his tires like crazy, and I got against his bumper and was against his bumper all the way through second gear, third gear and fourth gear, and I pushed him across one and two, which I hadn’t pushed anybody all night, and I just really eased his bumper and stayed locked on him. I was able to stay against him down the backstretch and we just took off. It was pretty cool. I feel like I’m one of the guys that helped him get his first Daytona 500. I was trying to get out front. Like I was said, I think I really made a mistake by trying too early. I maybe should have stayed behind him until maybe going down the back or something, but I’m really happy for him.” 
WAS IT BETTER RACING BECAUSE OF THE RULES? “I think it was. I think we felt like we could push and shove more and I think there was more of that today. It’s unfortunate that they’re gonna pave this race track because the grip level is about perfect. I mean, the cars slide up the race track, you can’t go around this thing wide open like you can Talladega and just stay in line. You’ve got to come off the gas a little bit and get back in the gas. It is rough on the bumps, it is tough on that, but I think the rule package is good. The cars race around here really good, and it’s gonna be completely different when they pave it. The rules package will probably change again because the speed will be much, much higher.” 
DO YOU THINK THE PATCH CHANGED WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED? “I don’t think so. I know when I was hitting it, I hit that thing three laps in a row and then the caution came out. I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got to quit hitting that thing because I know it’s gonna blow a right-front tire out or screw the splitter up,’  but like Junior said you get down in there and you’ve got the wheel in it and you’re against a guy, you can’t see it. You kind of know where it’s at and you run through it. When I was leading I never went through it, but when I was back there I went through it. But I don’t think it changed the outcome at all.” 
THIS IS NASCAR’S MARQUEE EVENT AND FANS WERE LEAVING. ARE YOU CONCERNED FAN ATTENDANCE MIGHT SUFFER? “It was unfortunate for the fans and the people watching on TV that we had to have that big delay. Nobody certainly wants to sit around and wait all that time, but it was nobody’s fault that the race track came apart. It wasn’t neglect or anything else. Like Junior said, it was our cars beating on the race track and it can only take so much.”  
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT JAMIE AND HIS SITUATION LAST YEAR? “We do stuff away from the race track quite a bit – Jamie and Christy and Matt and Katie, so the three of us do different stuff. We go on ski trips and out to dinner and do different things, so I probably hang out with him more than any other driver. So I was really excited being his former teammate. This is a big, big win for anybody’s career. You’ve got to be happy for anybody that ever wins this race, and I was especially happy with the four guys I was up there beating and banging with. I would rather see Jamie win than those guys for being a teammate, and now I can get him to take me out to dinner and pay for it.” 
HE WAS KIND OF A MAN WITHOUT AN ISLAND LAST YEAR. “He was on an island, but we certainly didn’t leave him hung out to dry. He had all the information and all that, but we knew he was leaving at the end of the year.” 
THOUGHTS ON A MARQUEE OWNER WINNING AGAIN THIS YEAR IN CHIP. “I think it’s great for those team owners to end up with wins like that and trophies like that. I know Jack cherishes that win that Matt was able to get him last year. The owner goes through the same thing as the driver. People come here for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years without ever winning, so it’s just as special for those owners to win here. Like Junior said, that’s a great organization. They’ve worked really, really hard and it’s not only the owner, it’s the crew chief, it’s the team, it’s the guys at the shop, it’s that whole organization. It’s such a morale booster for them all the way through. It’s a neat deal.”

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