NASCAR Media Conference
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. We have Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards making their way into the media center. First off, Greg, we'll start with you, just talk about how the test has begun so far today and what you guys are looking for while you're here.
GREG BIFFLE: We haven't started out nearly like we thought we were going to. A little bit slow in the morning practice, but it felt like we got going pretty good with about an hour left in the practice. But the track is slowing us down; it's hard to judge how you stack up to everybody else. But the car feels like it's driving better and just looking forward to this afternoon's practice. Kind of feel like we got it going the way we need to now and see how this afternoon goes and try to get through some of the changes. So far, I would say average, not real happy with it, but we're learning.
THE MODERATOR: Either one of you want to talk about how the Fusion has been working here? I know you had been to Daytona but now you're on a downforce track.
GREG BIFFLE: It was hard to tell a lot of difference between the two cars. This car seems like I said after the morning, closer to lunch, my car seemed like it was handling a lot better and we figured some things out. But the balance seems really good on it and I'm real happy with it so far. I've only been in it for about three hours now, and real happy with it.
THE MODERATOR: Carl, you guys tied for second in the standings last year. Of course Greg is going to say he finished second and you finished third; any little battle there for you this year just because you guys tied last year?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know, any time I can beat him I feel like I've accomplished something. That would have been awesome to have another point. But they deserved it with six wins. So no real battles, really.
GREG BIFFLE: We could tie for first.
CARL EDWARDS: We could tie for first. I'm sure that would be all right with me.
THE MODERATOR: Roush has had so much success here at this track, Jeff Burton, has won here, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth. Does that make you feel better coming into race or does it put pressure on you that you need to get a win for Jack yourself?
CARL EDWARDS: Makes me feel better just to have a little bit of confident and knowing our teammates run that well. Earlier I was looking at data from Matt Kenseth just to see how he drove around this racetrack because he's so good, so it's a help to me.
GREG BIFFLE: I'd certainly like to win here. I've won here in a Truck before, but would be real excited about winning this race. It's a big race. Matt has won here a couple of times and I'd sure love to win out here.
Q. Is if your car improves, is your backflip going to improve?
CARL EDWARDS: I feel like any landing is a good landing. Any landing you can walk away, from; it's an (like) airplane, and the same with my back flip. As long as I don't fall down, I don't know if I can really improve on it.
Q. With all of the changes on your cars, nose piece and the back and everything, are they easier to drive or harder to drive than last year's model?
CARL EDWARDS: I feel like the Fusion, like Greg said I only have three hours in, it feels pretty good, and feels like our cars last year and when they were good last year they were easy to drive. If we can get it a little bit better I think it will be really awesome. I can't tell that much of a difference, but at Daytona I could tell quite a difference but not here.
Q. Greg or Carl, in response to a question about the car of tomorrow a couple of minutes ago, Jimmie Johnson said it might be a good idea to start looking at the tracks themselves, bankings and things, what are your thoughts on that?
CARL EDWARDS: You were saying instead of the car tomorrow, interchanging the bank?
THE MODERATOR: Jimmie was in here early and was talking about all the changes NASCAR wants to make for the car of tomorrow, he thinks maybe they need to look at more of the racetracks, maybe they need to change some bankings. In fact, we announced yesterday we are changing our banking from 12 to 20 degrees by the 2007 NEXTEL Cup race.
CARL EDWARDS: I'm not going to touch that one. (Laughter).
GREG BIFFLE: We can't, you know, tell NASCAR what to do obviously. They are trying to improve safety and they are trying to improve competition. I have to tell you, though, that I really, really like the cars we're driving right now. You know, I think there's a great competition across the board. We brought two different kinds of cars here -- inaudible -- we're looking at data, trying to do all kinds of things. That's what I feel like the heart of our racing is about is the way we're working on our cars right here. And of course we've never been able it do that with the car of tomorrow. So without knowing, we're skeptical about what it's going to be like. I'm sure it will be fine, but we really -- I really like and I think a lot of the drivers really like what we're doing now and enjoy this because we know what to expect and we know what to do. Any time something is an unknown, it's just an unknown, you just don't know. It could very well be way better than what we have. We just don't know. I don't know about the whole change in all of the traction and all that, though.
Q. Greg, looking at the way the season is shaping up and what you tested in Daytona, drivers said you could not get a lot of data because it's a restrictor plate track, is this the best track or would it be better to go to California, Texas Homestead, just want to get your idea, what is this the ideal situation for preseason testing?
GREG BIFFLE: You know, that's a tough question because each racetrack brings a little bit of a different aspect to it. Atlanta brings something a little bit different, Texas brings a little bit different, Chicago and Kansas both bring a little bit different. I'd have to say that this racetrack is a little bit different than most of the mile-and-a-halfs we go to. But we do learn everywhere we go. Almost every racetrack is so specific. You would think that what you do at California would work at Michigan; it doesn't, and who knows why. What you do here may work at Texas, and who knows why, because the racetracks are so different. So wherever we've got to test, we'll test and we'll gather the data we can.
Q. What's your thoughts about Toyota coming into NASCAR next year?
GREG BIFFLE: That got taken out of context a little bit so thank you for allowing me to answer that. My comment on NASCAR.com was "they don't stand a chance." But the question was -- the question was: Will Toyota come into the NEXTEL Cup series and dominate like they have in other series; and I said, no, they don't stand a chance to dominate. Certainly they are going to win races and they are going to have competitive teams and just like all of the other teams. But I think it's good for our sport. I think it's going to bring more fans in and it's going to bring Toyota fans to our sport, and it may bring some IRL or other forms of motorsports, maybe off-road racing or something like that to NASCAR, and I think it will be good. And I think they will do well and they will win their share of races, but I don't believe that they will dominate. They are not going to come in and win all the races, I don't believe.
Q. How did you spend your brief winter break in did you get away from racing, did you do anything fun or did you just obsess on being -- inaudible?
CARL EDWARDS: I got to do a lot of fun stuff back to Missouri, spending time with my brother. He's going to race some cars this year, so had fun with that. One of the coolest things I have done so far in the off-season is I went mountain biking out here in Las Vegas yesterday, that was a blast, Bootleg Canyon. It was unbelievable. Anyway, so just a couple things like that. But mostly probably speaking for both of us, when you go to bed at night, it's like, man, we've got a season coming up. I mean, I can't wait to go racing. So the other stuff is to just pass the time.
GREG BIFFLE: Same here, spent some time with my family and went snowmobiling with my brother, first time I've ever been. Went to Mt. Adams and snowmobiled in the Northwest; that was fun. And then I'm going to Mexico tomorrow afternoon as soon as I'm done testing, and then I'm going to come back for the Busch test, so sneak off for a little four-day -- don't drink the water, right. Gotcha on that one.
Q. What does it mean for both of you having Mark back for one more year?
CARL EDWARDS: It's going to be awesome. I mean, Mark is the ultimate competitor. I saw him at the gym this morning working as hard as ever and he's over there digging in the garage and he's going to be tough to beat. So I'm pretty excited to have him as a teammate for another year.
GREG BIFFLE: Same thing. I'm excited he's back, really excited. He does a lot for our teams and helps us a lot. We're over there looking at his data, he seems like he's about the best Roush car out of camp, just preliminary, I haven't really looked into it that far. I want a chance to look at the lap record (ph) and see. Just looking at his setup before I came over here, quite a bit different than mine. I don't think it will work on my car, but certainly over here testing, we have time to try it. So Mark brings a lot to the table.
Q. Both of you guys drive in the Busch Series, is it a strain, is it fun, just what are your comments about doing both series full-time?
CARL EDWARDS: I enjoy it. It's an unbelievable opportunity to go race more. You get to race for another championship, which is unreal. It's just fun to wake up on Saturday mornings and know I get to go run a race and I love it.
GREG BIFFLE: I really enjoy driving the Busch cars. It's kind of an outlet for me. It's kind of a relief. It's fun. I look forward to it. You know, Saturday afternoon, I look forward to buckling in that car and going. I'm not going to run for a championship in the Busch Series, I'm going to be about five races short, or four. But I just enjoy driving those cars. It's a lot of fun. It's almost like it's some pressure off your mind for Sunday. It's almost because like when you get in a NEXTEL Cup car, every single race is so important and so much pressure, and then I get to go race on Saturdays just for fun and then try and win and then do the best I can. So you know, it kind of is a balance. And I'm like Carl, I can't stand it when the cars are out there racing and you're just sitting with your motor on. It just kills me when arco (PH) race is going or something else. I'm just clawing the walls wanting to drive. So I love driving the car. I just hate sitting there when they are racing.
Q. Carl, since you had such an exceptional season in your alleged rookie year last year, do you feel any pressure to back that up this year?
CARL EDWARDS: Boy, I've gotten that question about six times a day since Homestead, and honestly, I don't feel any more pressure. I put a ton of pressure on myself, and right now, I feel like I have just an opportunity. I feel like the success we had and the things we learned last year just give me an opportunity to go run even better next year. The pressure -- the only pressure I've felt in my life is just from me internally. I don't think that any results or anything anyone says really adds anything. I wake up in the morning and want to win worse than anything in the world. I think the success is a good thing, not a bad thing.
Q. When people are talking about preseason predictions, they are talking about Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle. It has to be humbling and exciting that you are one of the contenders and people think that highly that you can win it this year?
GREG BIFFLE: I haven't heard that prediction yet or haven't seen it anywhere but makes me feel really good to get put into a category with those guys. Jeff Gordon is probably one of most talented drivers I've been able to come across in my career. He has an extraordinary amount of talent inside a race car. And Tony Stewart, obviously, very level-headed and he approaches each race very smart and drives a good race car. So to be get put in that group, I feel pretty good about it. I just need to hold up my end of the bargain now, so that's a little bit of pressure. I feel like Carl; I put a lot of pressure on myself to run well and to run a good race on the racetrack every week. So I'm just going to do the best I can and take advantage of it. And people are like: Well, what do you expect this year after your year last year? Well, I would be happy if I did the same thing I did last year. That was a big year for us. So definitely want to win but a big year for us.
THE MODERATOR: Want to thank Greg and Carl for coming in. Thanks, guys, for being here. We also have Brian Vickers, driver of the GMAC Chevrolet. Brian, first off, this is I think your first time back in the car this year. You had a little surgery a couple of weeks ago, talk about how your feeling and just getting back in the seat.
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