Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, suffered some bruised ribs when he slipped on a boating dock earlier this week. As a result, Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth will substitute for Biffle in Saturday's Nationwide race. Biffle spoke about the injury, which will not keep him from running in Sunday's Food City 500.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO YOUR RIBS? "I wish I had a better story, I really do. Me and a couple buddies went out fishing on Tuesday night and we were just messing around in our cove right there and we came back to the dock. I jumped over to the dock and the boat was kind of drifting out a little bit. One guy had the front corner and I said, 'I'm gonna jump back over and grab a rope and then jump back again.' It was about 11:30, so there was a little bit of dew in the air and the platform must have been wet, and when I jumped over it just shot my foot out from underneath me. It turned me around backwards and put me right on my side and on my back on the edge of the boat. It's not a normal boat. It's got a sharp edge on it because it has a platform on the front, so it's just one of those freak, stupid accidents where you take a fall and you have no way to stop it or brace it or grab because I was over top of water. You're gonna land on your ribs with all your weight, plus you jumped on top of it, so it was a stupid deal. If I had to do it over, I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Everybody's jumped onto a boat before, but I just lost my footing."
IT'S 500 LAPS HERE ON SUNDAY. "It's 500 laps and it's my right side. I went down yesterday as a precaution and got in my Martinsville car because the Bristol car had already left, and I feel better in that seat than I do sitting in anything. I drove over there in my truck and I actually feel better sitting in that seat (race car seat) because it's hard foam and it's molded. It doesn't create any pressure points. When you sit in a seat that has a lumbar support cushion, it's pushing in on you when you're naturally sitting in it like an easy chair or something, whereas this is hard and rigid and it fits your body. It doesn't have the ability to push in on you anywhere. Remarkably, I cannot believe how much better I feel in three days. I did it Tuesday night and I was really hurting Tuesday night. I felt a fair amount better by the end of the day Wednesday and yesterday I was up and doing all kinds of stuff, stretching and getting ready to go, so I feel pretty good now. I got in the car, just bruised, and the reason why I'm just focusing on the Cup race is you're bruised and if you get in a wreck in the Nationwide car, you blow a tire, you know how easy it is to get in a chain-reaction crash here. I'm thinking, 'Why be even more sore for Sunday if something happened?' Matt and I were fighting over this race to see who was gonna get to run it, so we're just gonna swap Daytona or something like that so we keep the same amount of races. But I'm disappointed, trust me, that I'm not running the Nationwide race."
MARK MARTIN IS DOWN IN THE POINTS. CAN HE MAKE A COMEBACK? "If anybody can do it, Mark Martin can. We know he knows how to qualify. He just happened to be on the pole at Atlanta and we know he can drive. It's just a matter of him not getting in weird situations, an accident, or having a mechanical failure, which he's had a few times this year. If his equipment holds up, he'll be there. There's no doubt in my mind. You can't even question whether he'll be there or not."
WHAT CAN YOU DO ON THIS TRACK NOW THAT YOU COULDN'T DO IN THE OLD CONFIGURATION? "Now you can race side-by-side a lot more productively. It's still almost a one-groove race track. When a guy sort of runs in the preferred groove right in the middle it's sort of a one-groove track, but you can get side-by-side more successfully now than you could before. I liked it better almost before because it was harder, it was much harder to stay after it. The track configuration now is actually a little easier because it laid the corners down and kind of smoothed them out and made them longer, so it makes it a little easier, but it puts on maybe a little better side-by-side racing. I liked it better the hard way just because it was harder and less people ran good, let me put it that way. Would you rather compete against six or 26? It's much harder when everyone is running the same speed. Before, if you got your car working good, you had a big advantage."
F1 HAS CHANGED THEIR FORMAT SO WHICHEVER DRIVER WINS THE MOST RACES WILL WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? "I never heard that. That's the first I've heard of it. I don't necessarily know that I would go with that theory because all forms of racing and all forms of sports, normally, are rewarded for being consistent -- not being on one day and off another day. A football team, a basketball team, a baseball team, if they're on one time and then not, being consistent and being good is what's important -- maybe not so much the stick-and-ball sports -- but you can't be on one day and off another and racing is sort of the same. You have to be at a very, very consistent level. If you want to do that, continue to give wins more points. If you really want to impact your series with wins make it a 50-point bonus to the winner if you want to reward a team for winning. There are ways of doing it versus saying whoever wins the most we're gonna give the championship to them."
HOW WOULD THAT CHANGE THINGS IN NASCAR? "That would be a hard question to answer. I don't know how it would change. I know one thing is the next rule that would come is, 'Are you going to black-flag people?' I promise you that the guy who is leading on the last lap wouldn't be the guy winning if a championship is on the line for, just, wreck the guy because all you car about is getting the win. That takes all the skill and all the fun out of the sport of being consistent and running good and all that. I wouldn't base a series on wins alone. You may weight it more for wins, which we did a couple of years ago. People said, 'We want to see it be more important to win,' so they gave us more points to win. Like I said last year, California is a perfect example when I was trying to catch Jimmie Johnson. It was the same thing. Somebody said, 'They should just pay $1 million to the winner every week.' I don't care if you paid me $100 million, I finished second at California. It's the best I could do. I could not catch Jimmie Johnson. Nobody could catch me. It didn't matter. It didn't matter if it was $1 million or $10 to win, I couldn't catch him. Don't tell anybody, but we're doing all we can do and we'd do this for free. Winning the money has nothing to do with it -- winning has to do with it. All the rest is just there. Trophies are nice because they're something you have forever, but we're all trying to win."
-credit: ford racing
Bristol: Biffle qualifying quotes
GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Qualified 4th)
DID YOU LEAVE ANYTHING OUT THERE? "I don't know. I drove it off in there to three and four really hard and got back in the gas the best I could. It pushed up a little bit off of four and I tried to wheel it to stay down, but I had to come out of the gas. I might have been able to make it, but it was gonna be close and I didn't want to take a chance. I knew we were already second-quick. I don't know if I was gonna beat Mark or not, so I just shut it off."
HOW ARE YOUR RIBS NOW? "They're hurting after that lap. I don't know. I kind of grunted hard on that last lap there coming off of turn four. I'm a little sore right now, but I'll be good for Sunday."