NASCAR Media Conference
April 3, 2007
THE MODERATOR: We are very excited to be joined here by Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Jackson Hewitt Ford. Welcome, Greg. Let's talk about the Car of Tomorrow. You're here along with 50 others drivers for two days.
A few years ago NASCAR brought the Car of Tomorrow here sort of unofficially for the first track that the car went on. Now we're coming full circle, two races under your belt. How do you think it's going?
GREG BIFFLE: I think it's going to go really well. We've learned a lot about the car in the last two races. Definitely there are some things that we've picked up on, some scenarios that we've learned a little bit about and have made changes to.
Really this is going to be a good, good test for all the teams because, number one, this racetrack is a good racetrack to test at. It works well. The two corners are a little bit different. It's a fairly decent speed racetrack for the size of it, and it just works really well for testing.
I think this is going to be one of the best tests for the COT car other than Bristol was the first time we were all together. This is going to be an important test for guys for Phoenix and all over the place, especially when we come back here.
I think the car is going fairly decent right now. This is going to be a big deal here to see how it turns. You know, we knew about the car a few years ago, and what we've learned last year and this year is the car doesn't turn as well as the old car. The car doesn't have the front downforce and isn't all sloped and kicked out like the regular car is.
It's a little bit harder to get it to turn around the corner, and because of that, the higher speeds here, this is going to be a place where we're going to have to work on it and working toward getting that front grip to get the car to go around the corner.
THE MODERATOR: Greg is here along with the rest of the drivers getting ready for our NASCAR double-header weekend May 4th and May 5th, the Circuit City 250 presented by Funai, the NASCAR Busch race on Friday night, which Greg is also running, and the Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400 on Saturday night on May 5th.
We were just talking before we started, Greg, your record is pretty impressive here. On the Cup side you haven't finished any worse than 8th the last five races. What does it take to run well here?
GREG BIFFLE: It's kind to funny because this racetrack is fun to race at, but it's a tough racetrack, as well.
When we were getting ready to come here, I'm kind of not dreading coming here, but I'm kind of like, ah, nervous, because this place is hard. Some guys won't say it is, so it puts on good races and that, but it is a hard racetrack.
Both ends are considerably different, they're really different. This place is challenging as far as brakes and not overheating the front tires and arcing it into turn 1, and getting your car is -- you're on the edge every single lap going into turn 1 here, and to get the maximum amount of speed out of your race car and go across turn 1 and 2 really good, that's a lot of speed to be made up right there.
You know, it's kind of like Bristol in a way that you've got to be right on the edge and have your car balanced perfectly that you can arc it down in there and get it to go around the center.
I've run really good here. I've won a Truck race here, almost won a Busch race, really close, should have -- some people say should have gave Kyle the bumper there a little bit, but I elected not to. Hopefully I'll get a Cup win in one of these days.
Q. Any concern that the Chevrolets appear to be a little ahead of you guys in the Car of Tomorrow so far?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, to be honest with you, Chevrolet has been ahead of us for probably the last year, or last year and a half, since 2005.
Three and four of the Chevys were a little bit ahead of us. We managed to win championships in those years as a manufacturer. But really competitive-wise they were better than us. 2005 we were better as a group. We were probably the best in 2005 as a manufacturer.
And then in '06 and '07, Chevrolet is back on top, where they've been most of the time. And it's not really a surprise to us to see them running as well as they are. They've got a bunch of great teams, Gibbs, Hendricks, Childress, just off the top, are very, very strong race teams.
There's only technically one of us, if you will. We have Roush and Yates over in the Ford camp, so if you were to say we had three Roush conglomerates all running Fords, then the tables might be balanced a little different.
But they've got three strong, strong teams, three strong teams of good drivers driving Chevys, and that's something we know we have to battle.
They've been a little bit better at it, and let's face it, you take Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and all those guys, and feeding a little bit of information back to Chevrolet, it'll trickle around to those teams a little bit faster.
Within our organization, all we have is us. We have our five teams to gather that information and use it within ourselves. You know, it's tough to beat the odds, and the odds are there's more Chevrolet teams and better cars.
Q. Obviously we know that there have been some issues with the foam in the doors. Jack Roush said that you guys experienced problems with your exhaust system in the first race at Bristol. What problems have you had since then and what concerns do you have about the car going forward?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, certainly NASCAR has been receptive to us addressing problems with it. Last week I went to the -- I took the foam to the NASCAR tech center with me, and NASCAR was in a fairly large meeting with all their guys about the car, and they looked at the foam. Steve Peterson came to our race shop and looked at the race car and felt like we could have an extra heat shield and then maybe notch the foam up a little bit more around the area that the exhaust is and felt like that would address the issue.
We talked about as the foam -- does it have any toxicity to it as far as when it melts or on fire. A lot of things that burn are bad to breathe in; no matter what it is almost, it's bad to breathe. He reassured us that that foam was okay when it smoked or whatever happened to it.
On the other hand, he said it was non-flammable, and I don't know what happened to Kevin's exactly. There's another layer of board that that foam is bolted to that holds it in place, so it's perfectly impossible that that piece of board may have been -- it's not like wood. I say board, it's not a piece of wood; it's some kind of material that I can't answer. So there is an issue with the exhaust. The exhaust gets very hot in these race cars. It's hot inside.
When you think about this for a minute, people say we aren't athletes and how hot does it get inside that car. How many people ask you that, how hot does it get inside there? Well, that foam is inside the race car. If my arm was a foot longer I could reach over and poke it with my finger, and that stuff is burning. So that's how hot it is inside that race car for four hours, four and a half hours. It's hot inside there.
Obviously NASCAR is aggressively addressing it now. I actually have a week or two off with it, actually just one, then we go to Phoenix. They're on it, I'm sure, and we're looking at it, as well, what we can do.
But keep in mind it's not even hot yet. We're not at these hot racetracks where it's going to be hotter outside, and that's going to play a factor, as well. When it's 10, 20 degrees hotter outside, it gets hotter inside.
There could be some things. Smoking -- I said to NASCAR, the cars smoke outside the right pipes, going into the corner, there's this black smoke. It must be the change in fuel from leaded to unleaded fuel, and we see flames coming out the right side pipes. I don't know a lot about the chemistry, but that I think is unburned fuel typically is what ignites in the exhaust system when it's hot.
So there may be some issues with sciencing all this out as we go forward.
Q. You do a lot of Busch races, as well. With the Car of Tomorrow tracks, is the difference between the car, does that make it worth the stress of that weekend running from practice to practice, or are you not really going to gain as much from it as you may have hoped?
GREG BIFFLE: You're probably not going to gain as much from it. They do drive differently than they have for the last year or so, have drove quite a bit different because of the downforce and the spoiler and whatnot. Really what it is, I think, is just a skill set that you get from driving the car, just the extra practice, the awareness.
I do it for a number of reasons; one, I really love to race the Busch Series; two, it's kind of a no-pressure racing for me. We love to race as racers; it's in our blood. And I can go out there on Saturday or Friday night and really enjoy what I'm doing, have a lot of fun racing.
Sunday is so much pressure and Saturday night. Racing is so much pressure that you can't really have fun. You know, unless your car is just awesome fast, then you're having fun.
But so much pressure, and so I enjoy that, and it gets some extra track time and it keeps me in shape. I mean, just keeps you awake and alert at what you're doing behind the wheel, your reflex action. I enjoy it for a lot of reasons. It's not just gaining information for Sunday.
But we're still running predominantly on the same tire, so it's going to give me an idea of what kind of abuse the tire takes and how the racetrack rubbered up and where the groove started moving to. That kind of stuff is going to be the same, and that's really what you get.
You don't get, oh, I had an inch-and-a-half sway bar in the Busch Car; let's try that in the Cup car. Those days were gone years ago and still are. That's not going to be an issue; it's all the other little things about it.
Q. A lot of guys have talked about the difficulty turning these cars. Is that something on a test that you can improve on a lot, or is it just something you're going to have to learn to deal with?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, a little of both. That's a good question. We're going to work on getting our car to turn here the best we can, whatever we can do, whether it's changing front wheel center up and down because this car has a higher center of gravity, so this car wants to roll more because it's boxier and it's taller. So this car wants to roll a little bit more.
We're going to try to raise and lower the front wheel centers, we're going to try different things at the front, try different front sway bars and try and do different things with rear springs.
The other thing we're dealing with is we can only four inches of front travel with that splitter. We've got to look at different bump stops if you will, different hardnesses of rubber, how much we cushion it to make it solid, just go down and hit it and stop. There's so many things that will give the front tires grip than the racetrack that we're going to be here for the next two days trying to figure out what the best scenario is.
What you're going to see is the cars that ran well at Martinsville aren't going to run well here because that's another racetrack where it takes mechanical grip to get the car to turn, and the cars that got the car -- guys that got their car to turn there will probably be successful here with trying to get the turn.
Aerodynamically this car isn't -- you can turn a car aerodynamically, and this car doesn't have that, so you can't rely on that as much to get your car to go around the corner. The other car had a bunch of offsets and -- if you really started looking at it, with the naked eye standing this far away it's hard to see, but if you really got to comparing one side to the other of the old car, they're completely different from one fender shape, from the headlight to the other, so this car is exactly the same so that we've lost that ability to put that in the car to get it to turn. You know, that's one thing we're going to have to work around.
Q. Sorry to be a little bit off topic here, but obviously I want to get your reaction on what happened yesterday in Washington with the IST, their effort toward getting a track. Are you surprised by this ultimately or did you kind of see it heading down this road, and do you think that they should continue and find an alternate venue, that it is doable?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, it's a difficult situation for me because, I'll tell you what, NASCAR is much more persistent than I would be. You know, I applaud them for that. They've done a tremendous amount of work and effort put into trying to get a racetrack in the Northwest.
Like we talked about, if there's any city or any state across the board that has an opportunity to get a racetrack and get a race date, they're rolling out the red carpet, they're doing anything that they can do to get a race day or a racetrack. Go talk to the people at Rockingham or anywhere else around, Iowa Speedway or anywhere, Kentucky, they're willing to chop off one arm to get a race date. And we're trying to go in and build a place, and it seems like we're getting a lot of resistance from that.
I don't know, I'm kind of closed-minded, so when I got all that harassment on trying to go in and build a racetrack, I would have turned around and walked away and said, "Your loss, not mine." I'm from the state of Washington, and it is frustrating for me that we can't get a racetrack there, that we can't get those people on board yet.
I think there's a ton of support, and I think there's -- like I've said before, there's a few bad apples in the basket that ruin the entire basket. You know, there's a bunch of great supporters up there and a bunch of great people, but there's a few people that are against it, and because of that, we're having a tough time.
You know, I know that NASCAR -- I've talked to them and they said they're not going to give up for sure, but there's going -- I think now it's going to have -- the shoe is going to have to be on the other foot. They're going to have to pursue us. We've tried to wine and dine and sweet-talk you and do all this and it hasn't worked, so we're going to back off so now you're going to have to do that to get us to come build a racetrack. I think that that's going to be what it's going to take to get a racetrack in the state of Washington.
They're going to have to realize that this is something we've got to have going forward for the next however-many years, and it's the greatest thing for us up here revenue-wise, sports-wise and all that and come to that realization. And until then, there won't be a racetrack there.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what effects Pat Tryson has had with the team? You've gone through a complete transformation since last year. Can you just talk about how that relationship is going?
GREG BIFFLE: I think it's gone very well. I'm getting along so well with my guys. I kind of feel bad for them in a way because we've had great, great race cars, and they've given me such good opportunities and we haven't been able to capitalize on them as a group. You know, a little bit my part, not really their part, just circumstantial.
Daytona -- you know, you can start the list right now, but Daytona, Kyle Busch gets loose and takes us out, we're third, fourth, going to be fifth or sixth at the worst; Atlanta we had a great race car, came on really strong at the end and got tangled up in some stuff; we didn't run very good at California, our first race together on a big racetrack, we didn't run that good; we went to Vegas and ran better.
And then heading in this weekend we had a brake failure with -- running 12th, the best I've ever won at Martinsville and looking like we're going to stay in the lead lap, no problem at all, we're going to have a good run all day, probably finish in the Top 10 like Scott Riggs did. We were better than Scott Riggs for most of the race, and right there in that general vicinity with him, and unfortunately we had that brake failure.
You know, we've run extremely, extremely well for a new team being all of us together, and I think that we've got a lot of strength. I think that's going to come through quick. I think we'll break through in the next five or so races and win one of these things and be a threat to win a lot more coming up in the future.
Q. Can you address your sponsorship situation for next year? I mean, does that make you feel a little awkward and all heading into next year not knowing who your car sponsor might be?
GREG BIFFLE: You know, it does and it doesn't. You know, one thing is we've got lots and lots of interest of -- lots of interest in the sponsor section of the sport. So that makes you feel good in a way. I'm kind of happy about it because it gives you that reassuring feeling that you're doing the right things at the racetrack media-wise and all those things that sponsors want to be associated with you. We want to be on his car.
So that's a positive out of the whole thing. Unfortunately it's not Ameriquest's decision to go away. Unfortunately their business has turned around, has changed. We all know that the interest rates have gone up, the housing market has slowed down. A lot of people have adjustable -- not to get into the technical part of it, but I feel the pressure or the heat a little bit because I have a lot of adjustable rate stuff on airplanes and houses and properties. That stuff is going up and up, and for people who overbought and can't afford it, unfortunately they've gotten in a bind.
Certainly it's not bad business on their part; they did what they thought they should do, and they got backed in a corner and now they've got to leave the sport which they love to be involved in. So I feel bad in a way for them that they've got caught up in some of the market woes.
But us going forward, we've got lots of great opportunities. There's lots of opportunities out there for us and for myself. I'm really optimistic about the next contract for whatever it ends up being, three or four years of getting a great sponsor.
Q. I want to go back to the foam issue. I understand the need for the foam on the driver's side. What is the reason for the foam on the passenger side of the car? Has anybody questioned that need given the issues?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, the thing about it is most of our wrecks are on the right side of the car. Most of our crashes -- if we plot the -- we've plotted the black box where all the impacts take place, and a large percentage of the impacts are over in this category, if you will.
You know, that foam on that side is going to help absorb some energy from that impact. The other thing is it's so easy to get spun out at Talladega, Daytona, Texas, even here and be sitting on the racetrack and have somebody hit you right square in the smacker on the right-hand side. That possibility exists easily.
Or if they go down and hit the inside wall and come back across the racetrack, man, we can T-bone them so easy. They're trying to absorb some of that energy from that impact.
Obviously the left side of the car is way more critical. We've done all we can, but we might as well do it on this side, as well, if we have the opportunity. You know, certainly they're on the right track, we just have an issue with the heat and the type of foam.
As soon as we isolate that -- because my first question was this stuff is kind of melted into whatever, and I said, well, what's the properties of that foam at that temperature, and they said none. There isn't any.
Once that foam gets to that temperature, it would be like squeezing a household sponge. It just doesn't have any because it's hot and it's melting.
So we need to test the temperature, heat that foam to 150 degrees or whatever it's typically going to be over there once we get it heat shielded, and maybe they've already done that, tested the durability at that temperature, which I'm sure they're way far ahead of just me thinking about it. But with it melting, it's not a good thing.
What we can do is just isolate that around the entire exhaust area, just put it -- keep it 15 inches away from there and just forward and don't even worry about that area. So that's probably what we're going to do. I think it's an easier fix than what it's been so far. We're cutting a six-inch notch out of it. We need to cut a 16-inch notch out of it and just not even worry about it. I think it's an easier fix than what's presented right now.
Q. In the last two races, we've had situations where the guy in second on the last lap could have wrecked the guy in first and maybe gone for the win. Are guys thinking twice before they wreck someone or is it unique circumstances or are they getting soft? I mean, what's the deal there?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, I have to go back and look at the history of the sport. I've been in that position a few times. I'd have to go back and look at how many guys have wrecked somebody that -- I mean, I don't know what etiquette is. If you can just get to his rear bumper, do you just do it and take the win? I don't know what we're supposed to do. You know, I'll do whatever.
If you can bonsai down in the corner and wreck his ass (laughter) and go, you know, that's what I'll do if that's -- but there's going to be a lot of people outraged about that, I think. I'm just guessing.
I mean, are you going to spin Dale, Jr., out for the win? Probably not. You're not going to spin your teammate out.
But I'll tell you what, Jeff Gordon beat the daylights out of the back bumper of the 48. He didn't just touch him, he rammed him. He did everything he could without spinning him out, I mean literally spinning him out and wrecking him.
You know, Bristol is a lot faster, a lot faster. You can't really bump a guy and get away with it at Bristol because you're wrecking. So for Burton to -- he didn't touch Busch, but man, you can't have slid a piece of paper in there. But really, if he would have hit him like the 24 was hitting the 48 at Martinsville, that would be an instant crash.
You know, that's a big controversy. That's a big deal. I mean, it sounds cool and it would probably -- but after the fact, it's like, ooh, that wasn't good. That's what happens. You know, you're right there, you're right there, but it's like, man, the consequences of this is going to be huge.
And the other part about it is we're all professional, we're all race car drivers. It doesn't take any ability to crash the guy in front of you. That takes no skill whatsoever. You could wreck that guy in front of you no matter what. That's easy. Anybody can do it. So that's not the thing to do.
Now, to bump the 48 like the 24 did, heck yeah, bump the daylights out of him. The rule I have is that he doesn't spin out. If you go in there and give him the nudge and he's up in the dirt trying to get a hold of it and get going again, more power to you; that's still dirty, you know. That's still dirty, but that's the way it is.
Q. I just want to clarify, NASCAR told you specifically that the foam was not flammable and the smoke is safe. Would you be as comfortable if you were now warned that the material is combustible and that some labor groups list it as possibly toxic? Do you see this as a design error in the car?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, I mean, logic tells me if it was flammable and it was toxic, that would be bad. I wouldn't put anybody in this room in that situation. I mean, you know, but I'm sure all the research has shown -- there's a difference between flammable, I think, and -- I think anything will melt, but as long as it doesn't have flames -- flammables or combustibles, there's a whole technology there, what will burn and what won't burn.
Is it going to smoke like it did and be melting? Yes, it may do that if it gets to a certain temperature. But is it going to have open flames and fire? I don't think -- I may be mistaken and whatever else, but I didn't see any flames in the 29 car. I saw a tremendous amount of smoke coming out of it, but I didn't see any flames.
So there's a fine -- not really a fine line, but there's a difference between something flammable and something melting and smoke coming off of it. I think about any material you get hot enough, it's going to smoke. But if it just started flames and then just started burning, that's different.
Our fire suit will melt. You know, you throw it in a campfire, something is going to happen to it, and it's going to -- probably going to smoke. But that doesn't mean that it actually caught on fire and has flames coming off of it.
Like I said, I don't think anything is non-toxic. There's a certain amount of toxicity to any material burning.
Q. So do you feel that it's a design error that the foam is so close to the tailpipe?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, you know, I'm sure most of their testing was probably done on the energy absorbent properties of the foam, and then there was a flammable test probably. I don't know, I'm all -- I'm just speculating. I'm in an area that I don't even know.
But how do we know? I think they've had thermal couples over in that side of the race car to know what the temperature is, also, so they've got all the proper information.
Now, did the 29 car not have the heat shield in there? Did the 29 car have the foam right on top of the exhaust pipes? Did the exhaust pipes break on the 29 car? Ours broke the week before, and we used heavier pipes. Did he brush the wall and knock them loose or something and cause -- those are a lot of answers -- there's a lot of things unanswered here that we're pointing at that foam that there could be other contributing factors to it that we don't have all the information.
I'm not going to say it was a design error on NASCAR's part until we do a scientific analysis of exactly what happened. Did they have the proper amount of distance air gap, did they have the heat shields in place, all those things. Because we experienced the same exact thing the week before, and we fixed it and we didn't have any problems.
Q. When you look at the Car of Tomorrow and the Chase and the TV ratings and more minorities coming to the sport and maybe more fans coming in, as well, how would you describe the state of NASCAR today? Are you kind of at a high point right now?
GREG BIFFLE: I would think so. I pay attention a little bit to what goes on with our sport, and it appears that it's still on the up-trend or it's kind of leveled off. Certainly you're always going to level at times throughout history and maybe go down a little bit, but I would say the health of it is very good right now. We've got lots of people watching.
The COT car has created some buzz and some excitement. Of course it's going to because there's a lot of unknowns. It would be like watching the space shuttle launch for the very first time. Everybody is going to be looking at that thing. Nobody knows what's going to happen with this new car, so a lot of people are interested in watching, and that's created some buzz.
Certainly I think we're advertising to a better audience. We're in front of a lot more people, and it's exciting racing. I go home and watch it on TiVo or my DVR, and it's exciting to watch.
Q. I'm not even sure why the COT is going to be tested on 1.5s, but knowing what you know about the car now, the problems, the aero tendencies of this car, would you say that this car is not ready for 1.5s at this point?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, you've got to remember that NASCAR has a motive for some of the things that they're doing. The car not turning as good is by design the objective. You know, they want to slow the cars down. They want to take some downforce away from the cars. They want to control some of those things.
So by design, you know, that's a math problem, if you will, that NASCAR is putting in front of all the teams. It's our job to figure it out. They've given us the procedure we have to follow, now we've got to figure it out.
You know, they're trying to make -- in their eyes they're trying to make the cars more equal and make them more equal behind our cars, which you're only going to do that to a certain point. I don't care who you are or what you are or what you have; unless you take the body off the car in front completely, the car behind is still going to have some dirty air of some kind, you know, that car is going to make some kind of wake in the air. It's never going to make them equal.
I think by design NASCAR has given us what they've given us. Is the car not ready for that? I don't think so. I like the progression, the way they've done it. We're going to test it here, we're going to race it at Phoenix, we're going to race it here, we're going to race it at Dover. Are we going to have a lot figured out by the time we start testing the mile and a halfs and start racing there? Yes, I think we are. So I think it's a good introduction to the way they've done it.
Q. Two questions. The first is can you talk about going to the R & D center? Did you just gather stuff up and decide to go over there or make an appointment? What did you do?
GREG BIFFLE: I didn't make an appointment, I just gathered the stuff up under my arm and got the car and went over there, knocked on the door and said is Robin Pemberton in, and they said he's in a meeting. He came out and talked to me for a few minutes and said, Why don't you come in here. I came in, and there was this conference room this big with like 25 people in it. You know, they were having their regular meeting, Truck Series, Busch Series, the whole thing. They wanted me in front of all those people so we could have someplace we could discuss what happened.
And part of the reason why I went over there is to talk about my car being low and figuring out what they had found, if they found anything with the car. They know that we didn't adjust any jack bolts, they know all these other things. You know, I was addressing some issues with the car.
I think that we have more things to address and work on than a quarter panel being a quarter inch low. That doesn't matter.
Now, if it was high, certainly it would matter. I wish I would have been high. I wish it would have been the height it was supposed to be. I may have won the race. It may have given me enough advantage I could win.
I just went over there to address all the things with the car. I had never been over there before. On Monday, that was the day I was -- I think it was Monday or Tuesday -- I think it was Tuesday, I don't know, but it was the day I was down at the shop in our meetings, and we were talking about the car and what to do, and we're like, we've got to do something about this foam. So I just said, I'm going to go over and see if anybody is over there and if they can look at this and make some suggestions because obviously they've done a lot of work on it.
NASCAR was so receptive to that. They said thanks for coming over, I'm glad you came over. Steve Peterson came over to our shop and looked at the car and looked it where it melted from and all that.
So I think that they enjoyed that interaction with us helping them resolve some issues with the car. We want it to do well. I mean, we're racing it.
Q. What are the issues about the height and the foam that you said need to be addressed coming out of that meeting?
GREG BIFFLE: I guess it's a lot more technical stuff. There's something in the exhaust called a boom tube, and I think it's a pipe that equalizes the exhaust or something like that. They put that in years ago because it takes some vibration out of the exhaust pipes, and I think that exhaust pipes were breaking on these cars. The 20 car a problem and then some other cars and Matt, and I think it's the vibration or something like that, and they said that this would fix it or that's why they did it in the past.
So you know, what to do about the pipes, make them heavier so that they don't come apart or don't have the vibration problem, which is kind of just on our end.
But that's it, just the foam and whatever else that they -- I think there was a couple other things. I don't remember. Oh, a bead blower for the front bead for Martinsville. That was one of our concerns at our team meeting. We said, we really need a bead blower for the right front along with the three brake hoses to the caliper to keep the brakes cool.
These cars are -- we're going to be going slower around the corner so we're going to have to slow them down more. They want to keep the fans out from under the hood, but they allowed us a brake blower, a bead blower at that racetrack for safety. And I think that was smart on their part. They're paying attention and being receptive to what the teams think of this car going forward.
Q. Just want to confirm, you did not have any problems with the foam in Martinsville?
GREG BIFFLE: Not at all. None of our teams did.
Q. Can you explain which door, exactly what the foam looked like and from your perspective what it was like to be inside that cockpit while that foam was burning or melting?
GREG BIFFLE: I didn't. I smelled some -- my foam wasn't as distorted as bad as Matt's foam -- Matt's foam -- I say distorted because it's a square block and it was kind of dished out like that in the middle where it had melted, and when it melted, it kind of condenses, I guess, if you will, it gets kind of smaller because it sucks together or whatever it does.
But Matt's pipes were broken. Matt's pipes were too thin and then it had a hole in it. It was blowing exhaust up inside the car or against the bottom of that tin, and that's what got the foam so hot, and I'm sure what's happened to the 29. I've got to think that's what happened to their car.
I think with the proper heat shield and the pipes not failing that the foam is going to be okay. That's just what we made sure of going to Martinsville, that that wasn't going to be a problem.
But the other thing is there's also a deal with being on the edge or having a little safety built in. Let's say you do have a problem. You don't have disaster. If you have a pipe failure or something like that, you don't want your car -- not on fire but have to come in and douse the thing down to cool that section off.
I think there's still some work to be done, maybe some safety to be built in, an extra layer so that that doesn't happen. But I'm sure that that's been handled now.
The thing that you have to remember, there's so many smells inside the car already. There's burning rubber and there's burning paint, there's exhaust, there's sweat, there's -- you know, there's so much to smell, and your brain is focused on not crashing, not -- you know, you're not smelling cookies cooking over there. So I can't explain what it smells like. You can just smell a little bit because you don't have a right-side window, and we bring our -- the fact that I didn't -- I switched my air intake on that car from that side window to behind my head over on this side of the car because I felt like I could smell a little bit of exhaust when we tested that car. And I said, hey, guys, switch my vent hose from over here to behind my head because I feel like I can smell a little bit of exhaust. Maybe because I'm sitting there running when I'm getting ready to go out on the track or when I slow down. You see all that black smoke coming out when we lift on the gas, that stuff could swirl, could be doing something over there with the air and be coming in that front duct and through the cool box. I moved mine over here. So to be honest with you, I probably didn't even smell that foam really.
THE MODERATOR: Greg, thanks so much for your time.
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