After raising some eyebrows with Friday’s comment that “we’re dying a slow death,” Greg Biffle clarified things somewhat in a Sunday morning session with reporters at Auto Club Speedway.
Biffle qualified 29th Friday.
“This is unacceptable,” he said afterward. “We’re dying a slow death. We need to start showing up for the weekend closer to where we need to be.”
Sunday, Biffle said his “slow death” remark was not so much about Roush Fenway Racing as a whole, but borne more out of frustration that the organization continues to come up short on speed and competitiveness.
“It’s difficult as a competitor to show up at a place you’ve won twice at and come off the track 32nd in speed,” Biffle said, even though his memory was slightly off. He’s won just one Sprint Cup race at Fontana (plus three Xfinity races) and was 26th in Friday’s first Cup practice.
“I didn’t mean we were dying a slow death,” he continued. “You want to unload off the truck and be in the top 10 or top 15. Granted, we were much better yesterday when we were (17th) and 14th in the final practice on speed, so we got it better.
“You just feel crushed when you’ve worked so hard and everybody’s put so much effort into it – and then we come here and come off the truck with that kind of speed. That really crushed us. That was a blow to us that we ended up in that position off the truck.”
Biffle’s performance has been up and down thus far in 2015. He finished 10th in the season-opening Daytona 500, only to fall back to 25th the following week at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Things looked more optimistic after he finished 14th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but again fell backward last week at Phoenix International Raceway (27th).
“Certainly, Las Vegas was a high point for us … something for us to build on,” Biffle said. “Then we came here and were kind of scratching our heads on what we missed off the truck.”
With 2015 rules mandating reduced horsepower and downforce, it’s more difficult for drivers to have input.
“The sport has changed so much,” Biffle said. “I remember when (former teammates) Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt (Kenseth) and I would say to do this, do that.
“Today, these cars are so complicated. There’s so many more factors.”
But one constant that the No. 16 and Roush Fenway Racing have is Roush Yates engines, providing a good baseline of power to build around.
“One thing I know is it’s not the engine,” Biffle said. “Could it be improved to give a little more power? Sure. But Penske uses the same motors as we do. So you can check that off. We just keep looking for what creates speed in the car and working in that direction.”
Even with this season’s struggles, Biffle remains optimistic things will improve soon.
“I wouldn’t say we’re leading the way, but I think we’re on the edge of figuring out what we need to make our cars better,” he said. “We’re all saying the exact same thing.
“We know what we need, we just need to figure out how to get our mousetrap to do what we need.”