Earlier this week, in between his preparations for this weekend's upcoming 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway, Greg Biffle took a few minutes to talk with members of the media.
Among the topics discussed were the upcoming race, the new qualifying procedure and his outlook on the Chase for the championship.
The last time that the Sprint Cup Series raced at Pocono's tricky triangle, Greg Biffle ended up in victory lane. It was his first win at a track where he typically hadn't fared too well.
In 15 starts prior to his win at the super speedway, Biffle had managed to score just two top-10 finishes.
Biffle was asked what a win would mean to him this weekend, as he is right on the borderline of qualifying for the Chase.
He answered: "It's very important, as you know there's a lot of tough guys right there or right behind me, so even if I get to tenth or ninth, I'll be locked into the chase temporarily. There are a lot of races left and a lot of good guys fighting for that spot."
He continued: "Being up near that Top 10 or 12 in points, a win would certainly secure you a fairly comfortable spot as a wild card, although we have two guys with wins now, so it may, in fact, take two wins."
While winning is always on every driver's mind, the winning formula at Pocono comes early in the weekend. Qualifying near the front here is almost imperative if you want to be successful.
This weekend, the Sprint Cup Series employs a new format for qualifying. Now, teams will qualify in order from slowest to fastest based solely on the first practice.
Biffle was asked about the new setup. He said, "I was a proponent of that. We kind of pushed NASCAR for doing that a little bit because what happened was it was hard to get kind of a practice schedule, a practice plan in place for us as teams."
He added: "Now it's more cut and dry. We're going to take the first practice session of the day and we're going to make that the one preceding qualifying. That is the one you have to run the fast lap in; that way it's much more clear for us. We don't have to jockey between practice sessions."
Biffle finished his thought: "Now it's business as normal for us. I like this new procedure of just having one practice session. Everybody knows what it is. When it's over, that is the lineup. We don't have to wait for the second practice session to see where we're at."
So, it will now be a lot easier for Biffle and his team to focus on race setups throughout the later practices. And with the points being as close as they are, it is vitally important to make sure you have everything set up just the way you want it.
As it stands right now, Biffle is 12th in the points, and would just barely make it into the Chase under the new rules. He was asked about the new wild card format:
"You've got to be in the Top 10 to be locked in. That's plain and simple.We know that 11th and 12th is going to go off of wins. So we knew that at the beginning and we're still aware of that. So Top 10 you're locked in. 11th and 12th will come by who has the most wins. And that can change, obviously, up until Richmond" said Biffle.
He went on: "We've talked about emphasizing on winning forever. People think if we emphasize more about winning, we pay more money to win, we give more points to win, we do whatever, people will try harder."
He finished the thought by saying, "we try as hard as we can every single week to win. It does not matter. That's what 43 guys show up for every weekend. A lot of people don't believe that, but that's what we show up at the racetrack for."
As the series makes its first of two trips to Pocono this weekend, look for Biffle to be in contention all race long.
This is a track that didn't treat him too well up until last summer, but he has found the winning formula. With the stakes as high as they are and a potential spot in the Chase continually hanging in the balance, Biffle knows what he has to do.
With the new rules for inclusion in the Chase, winning has never been worth more. Now that he has found victory lane once at Pocono, it would surprise no one to see Greg Biffle find it again this weekend.
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