THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the final finisher among the open teams to make it into the Daytona 500, and that's driver of the No. 44, Greg Biffle. Greg, welcome back. Everyone is excited to walk over here. Fans were coming up to you talking about how happy they were to see you back in the Cup Series. How did that feel and how does it feel to make the 500 on Sunday?
GREG BIFFLE: It feels really good. I'll tell you, I have not slept much in the last couple days just trying to keep a cool composure. I've been nervous about this race because there's so many things that can happen and so many ways it can go. We've talked the scenarios all the way, and I watched the first race and I saw the 62 car was in the lead of the cars, and I thought, well, if he finishes in front of those guys and the 50 actually runs in the second race, we'll be in on time.
Just figuring all those scenarios. But the car drove really, really good. We ran up in the top 10 there, 12th or whatever, ended up finishing 14th. We had a little bit of a hiccup trying to put fuel in on pit road and lost the draft, so we were able to kind of work our way back in there.
Maybe that was good for us because we missed that wreck towards the end, so we might have been in the middle of that.
Really excited for Grambling University, and this Childress-Hendrick combination really worked for us. We're excited about it.
Q. Going into this race, how many did you not have back at the shop to get ready for this? You were scrambling for quite a few things from what I understand.
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, you know, let's face it, when you start a program, there's a lot of things you need. One analogy that comes to my mind is you're going to go camping for the weekend, you need everything. You don't have anything, right? Down to every last piece. You don't know that until you get there, and you know, oh, no, we don't have this or we don't have that.
We had a lot of equipment, but do we have the right equipment for this new car, and that's what posed a big problem for us. We only got 10 minutes of practice in the first practice because some of those new car issues that we weren't quite ready for.
It's been a challenge all weekend, but I think we got our feet under us now, especially with the way the car drove. The car drove amazing. Really, really good. I watched some guys that looked like they were too free and have handling issues, and I didn't experience that.
Makes me feel good for the 500 on Sunday that I've got a competitive car that I can challenge for the win. Not just can we get in the 500. When I was running 10th there and foaming at the mouth looking at the lead, I was like, I know I can't -- I'm just going to stay in line. I'm not going to be a good boy right now.
Anyway, it's been a challenge for us all the way around.
Q. Greg, if I read your stats right, your first Cup win was here in '03 in the summer race. At that time you must have thought you were probably going to win here quite a bit. Knowing Jack's record here with the Roush team, does it strike you as odd that he swept the twins here tonight, given his lifetime frustration with plate racing?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I'll tell you what, I was headed down to Victory Lane to congratulate those guys. I've got a long relationship with them, and I'm really, really happy for them. But they told me I was going to the media center, so here I am.
I'm excited for those guys. Am I surprised? Not particularly. They've got Jimmy Fennig; they've got a smart group of people. I know Brad came in there and made some changes, maybe brought some people with him. Also plate racing is sort of right place at the right time, as well.
I'll tell you what, Brad, I watched the first race, I don't know what went down in the second race, but Brad drove his butt off to get that position and made some moves.
They did a great job, and I'm really happy for them.
Q. You haven't been full-time for a while, and I know a lot of the veteran drivers were curious about this car. Is it just curiosity of how the new car will drive that kind of led you to want to do this? What was your motivation to come back?
GREG BIFFLE: You know, I think the opportunity to drive good equipment was intriguing. It was RCR build with a Hendrick engine. That was an intriguing thing for me to come back. Obviously the new car, I wanted to see what they're about, what they drive like.
To be honest with you, I've been talking with John for a couple years about putting a program together, so it's ironic that it just came together last minute and this happens to be the car, because potentially it could have been last year, but I'm glad it came together when it did.
Q. You're the oldest driver in the field, and Villeneuve said that he was, and then you got added and he was annoyed because now you are. I don't know if maybe is it a badge of honor? Do you feel like the oldest driver in the field?
GREG BIFFLE: After that 150-mile race I do because I was so nervous the whole time. You know, it wasn't tiring, it was just wearing on your -- you're sitting there calculating like a computer over and over and over and over, where is he at and where is this and what lane am I in and make sure I don't make any mistakes and looking at the dash like there's something I could do if anything happened.
I guess. I feel like I've got as good an opportunity as anybody, and I feel like I'm in a position to -- I didn't know being -- not to say dysfunctional, this team came together so late and we're kind of an underdog, but now on the racetrack, that's a different story. It wasn't until tonight that I feel like I got an opportunity to win the 500 for sure. There are 40 other guys, 39 other guys do, but I really feel like I do.
But yeah, badge of honor, sure.
Q. With that said, you've seen so many guys walk away and not come back. Does it make you feel like puff your chest out a little bit like hey, I've still got this? It's not like you walked away from racing.
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, and that's what I said in '16 when I walked away is to be honest with you, I was tired of running in the position we were running. I didn't want to try and stay on the lead lap. It wasn't my goal in racing was show up at each race and try and be on the lead lap at the end of it. I didn't want to do that anymore. I want to win, and if I don't feel like I have the opportunity, if that truck inside that trailer going to the racetrack I don't think I can win with it, then -- we knew we were beat before we left the shop, and I'd had enough of that.
Unfortunately that's when I decided to walk away. I always said with the right opportunity I'd come back, or a situation like this where a guy needs a hand up and they want to start a new team, and if I feel like I can help them, I would come back and see if I can.
Q. Greg, last minute of this team coming together to get here, some issues just getting the car on track, what the guys had to go through. You mentioned you haven't slept the last couple nights. What has this been like for you versus previously when you were racing in the Cup Series, going through all this, being in this position? What is that like for you?
GREG BIFFLE: You know, it's a humbling experience. It's challenging. I'm used to coming down here, being in the 500. You're a charter team or you're high enough in points. It definitely has been a lot of pressure.
I've got a lot of respect for the guys that come down here and have to do it every year. It's tough. I've done it once before a long time ago. I won't mention how long ago that was. I've had to do it once before, try and race my way in.
It'll be a nice night tonight, but I've got to get up at 7:00 in the morning and go do a charity fishing tournament on Lake Lloyd, so I'm excited about that. No sleeping in tomorrow. And when you have a year-and-a-half old, you get up at 6:00, 5:30 every day anyway.
Q. I won't mention how long ago it was back when you were trying to race your way in. You have raced pretty much your entire career until now. How do you feel the different between now and then driving with these Chevy powered cars after being away from it after this many years on the Cup level?
GREG BIFFLE: You know, probably any track you're going to come back to and have to get in the saddle. This was probably a little bit easier racetrack because it's a little more of a chess game than elbows up like at a Darlington where it's really tough or at a Bristol or some racetrack like that, Martinsville where you've got to come and jump in the fire. This was a little bit easier. It's a little more precise, executed. Car has a lot to do with it.
Of any places to come back after a four- or five-year stint, it's probably -- this has been an easier transition than a lot of other places.
Q. Greg, I'm curious, is there any similarities between this week, your return to the Cup Series, and the truck race you made back in 2019, your return to that series?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I mean, you've got to wait for Sunday to see that, but I'm hoping that's going to go the same way. It did feel good to get in the car and run good tonight and just pick the right lanes and stayed in lanes. Everybody did a great job; spotter did a good job, Jay gave me a good car to drive, did his research and figured out where to put the rounds and tire pressure. I think we have a great opportunity. That's all a driver can ask for.
Now it's up to me on Sunday to take care of the car and get it in position at the end.
Q. When you had that pit stop issue it took a little time to get the pit stop completed. Were you aware that Timmy Hill wasn't really having a very good race? How did you keep your emotions in check?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I knew that we had gone by Timmy a couple times, so I knew he was two laps down I thought. My biggest fear all night and these last couple days was losing the draft. So we come down to pit, and we've got some new guys there, and we had an issue getting fuel in it, and I knew we lost the draft.
We were lucky enough that some other guys had issues. I don't know what happened, but the 48 car was in the middle there, so he picked us up and pushed us for a while, and then we were actually able to get back together with some other guys.
We also -- I guess I hadn't mentioned this yet but we also ran out of fuel two laps to go, so fuel light came on, and I had to move out of the -- coming to the white, I had to move up and let the 42 go and get out of the pack in Turn 3 and 4 because the motor started laying down, down to about 22 pounds of fuel pressure.
I wasn't sure if we were going to get stuck on the racetrack or make it around, and I got back in line and was able to draft into 1 and 2 and then that wreck happened on the backstretch. That kind of -- I think we would have made it, I guess, but I'm just not sure. I don't know how the fuel system works in these cars yet, but it kept running all the way back to the checkered flag and then of course around on the cool-down lap it kept running. I guess there's some hidden fuel in there somewhere.
Q. You probably mentioned this in the past, but how do you see your role with this organization, and what is your commitment towards whatever they end up doing this coming season?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, I think the important thing will be that we've got to have cars that are capable of running competitively at the racetrack. That's the most important thing. I certainly don't want to come and run 38th and try and stay out of the way. I've already done that before at different times in my career.
If we can get a program put together, get the proper alliance with some teams, get some help, which I have to say Chevy and RCR and Hendrick have been a huge help to this team so far, and I know there's other Chevy teams that could maybe help, as well.
It's really up in the air. It really depends on -- I know it's difficult to get cars and parts, so every team is facing that, so it's kind of a waiting game, wait and see. I'm willing to continue to try and help them if we can put the right program together.
Q. Earlier you said at the end of your time with Roush you got tired of leaving the shop knowing you'd already lost. From your perspective, what led to that, to that downturn for Roush, and what's it like for you seeing your former team make some history tonight, sweeping the Duels when they only had one duel win ever before tonight?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, like I said, I'm so happy for that organization. I still have a ton of friends there. I talked to Jack for probably 20 minutes in the garage. I respect Brad's decision to go over there and try and help that organization and become part owner. That was a huge risk for Brad to leave and go take that on.
I think it's great for those guys. They needed that. You know, we were on -- after Carl left or after Matt left and then after Carl left, we were on a path that we needed an influx of something to get -- to change the course of the organization, and we were just doing the same thing every week with hoping for a different result is what it boiled down to.
We just couldn't bend the needle. There was just no evidence that that was going to change in the near future. That's sort of when I talked to them about just doing something different.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Greg. Congratulations, and good luck on Sunday.