A late afternoon shower cancelled NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying on Friday, so the field will be set according to points. Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M / Scotch-Brite Ford Fusion, is ninth in the standings, but he will have to start tomorrow night’s race from the back because he will be in a back-up car that didn’t complete a lap during Thursday’s practice sessions. Biffle’s primary car was wrecked very late in the second practice session.
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M / Scotch-Brite Ford Fusion – “With the rainout, we’ve got to start in the back because we didn’t make a lap with this car. If we would’ve made one lap with this car, we could start in our starting spot of ninth. The only reason we can’t start in our spot is because we didn’t make any laps in it and they don’t want us to start up there if the transmission sticks in gear, or the brakes don’t work, or we’re leaking oil, or the steering locks up.”
SINCE THE CAR HASN’T MADE A LAP YET, WHEN THE RACE STARTS, WHAT’S ON YOUR MENTAL CHECKLIST OF THINGS TO CHECK ON THE CAR RIGHT OFF THE BAT? “Really, in the old days, it used to be tire rubs. Do you smell smoke? Nowadays, with the bodies being templated all the same and the suspension and all that, that kind of stuff is out of the question. So, really, as long as everything feels right – and these cars, we’ve been doing this so long, we unload cars all the time, they’re brand-new, and test all day, like at Indy. We unloaded the car, tested all day and then put it back on the truck, and we had no issues. So, I feel confident. And, really, the cars are brand new and have never turned a lap at every race we bring them to – because all of the parts come off of them, and they’re all put back on, and engines and everything else. So, technically, they’re all brand new every time we unload them for the day. But, yeah, we have little issues we have to fix. Here, we won’t have that issue. But, we have a big race track, two and a half miles, so you can do a lot of stuff under caution, as long as it’s not major. If you have little issues you need to fix or address or work on, here you have plenty of time. Track position, here, is not that important until the fifth hour.”
SO THE ONLY BENEFIT LOST BY STARTING IN THE BACK IS NOT KNOWING RIGHT AWAY HOW THE CAR REACTS IN TRAFFIC? “Yes. Yes, that would’ve been nice for this not to rain out, we qualify in the top 20, we start there and then we could’ve gotten a feel for it right out of the gate. But, there’s a part of me that doesn’t mid starting in the back so I can figure it out on my own and then start working through traffic – because, inevitably, sometime during the night, you’ve lost some track position, you got out of line and get shuffled out and end up 30th, you get back in there and race your way back to 10th. So, you’re back and forth anyway. So, really, it’s a non-issue.”