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Welcome to Darlington Race Day May 9, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Trackside.
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Darlington Raceway during the 2006 Dodge Charg...
Image via Wikipedia

The Southern 500 Returns in a Blaze of Glory

It’s an absolutely beautiful and sizzling hot day here. I think about the traditions of this race track and the history that made it what it is today. I think about all the true racers who never gave up on this place including the man who had the idea to build a race track here. When it comes to tenacity – the name Harold Brasington comes to mind.

A local Darlington business man, Brasington returned from the Indy 500 in 1933 and told some of his friends that he wanted to build a paved superspeedway in Darlington, South Carolina. His buddies likely laughed at him. Imagine your friend is sitting at the local restaurant or bar here in Darlington that many years ago and he tells you of this giantic race track plan.

There were not many paved speedways anywhere in the world let alone the tiny town of Darlington. They were still racing on the beach in Daytona when Darlington was finished

But Brasington proved to be a stubborn man. In 1949 he set out to build his dream on land that once grew peanuts and cotton and here we are today.

Today we celebrate the tradition of the Southern 500 and the fans here are wild over this event! Tony Stewart said of driving here, “It’s like driving down a bad alley.” After practice Friday the buff machine Carl Edwards said his “forearms hurt, because I was squeezing the wheel so tight,”

Matt Kennseth won the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 – and has the pole for today’s race. I told him after the race about Carl’s forearms hurting after practice from gripping the wheel. Kennseth had just battled the lady in black for one hour 47 minutes and 33 seconds. He was soaking wet and fresh from the win. He joked with me that he was in better shape than Carl –so no problem.

All of the drivers have been talking about the surface here and how much it changed since a year ago and the repaving.

Greg Biffle’s crew chief Greg Irwin is cranked up — he thinks that Biffle is so good here that we’re sure to see something spectacular from him today.

Tony Stewart has never won here. It’s one of few tracks that Stewart cannot claim yet. “I’d win on my roof and on fire here,” he said. “I’ll take it any way I can get it here.”

Dale Jr used to not like this track at all. It was so abrasive…..and not one of his favorites. “It’s my job weather I like it or not,” he said yesterday of racing here. He called the track “this is the hardest place to pass on on the circuit,” he said.

This will be a long, physical race.

I can’t wait.

Enjoy the day

Claire B

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Interview with Greg Biffle on “Dialed In” with Claire B Lang May 16, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers.
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Greg BiffleImage via Wikipedia“DIALED IN” With Claire B. Lang XMSN Interview TRANSCRIPT
Thursday, May 15, 2008

Greg Biffle says his frustrated comments regarding his race car last weekend at Darlington should not be related to his contract talks – Talks to CBL about being interested in ownership.

Below is a transcript of part of the interview LIVE on Dialed In on Thursday, May 15th, 2008

CBL: How mad were you about your car last week (at Darlington). Man if I read that quote once I read it a hundred times. They transcribed you saying you were so upset because of the technical side of the car. You were not happy because it fell apart you had engine troubles and what not and then people related it to your contract – what is the true reality of it.

Biffle: Well – I don’t know how people connected that with the contract. I mean you know nobody’s going to be happy with their car breaking. I mean you’re leading the race. Was Denny Hamlin happy that he got a flat tire – a flat tire’s not anybody’s fault. You know it’s clear we had a mistake on a pit stop. I mean it’s done an over with – that stuff happens. And the engine you know I certainly want to defend the engine shop 100 percent because the timing belt failed on the engine. We had a tooth missing on a timing belt on one of the cars after the Richmond race and so they went and that’s why they inspect these parts is that they found a problem and they felt like there was a timing belt issue – a batch of belts that they felt were bad. They changed my engine on Tuesday prior to the Darlington race and the timing belt broke with 92 laps to go. So they did everything in their power possible to make sure that my engine was 100 percent. They did everything humanly possible to make sure that our engines were 100 percent and the thing still broke and that’s dedication on those guys’s part. That’s going to happen I mean there’s no doubt about it. But it’s disheartening so bad that – you don’t get that opportunity very often. We race 36 times a year and when you have a car like that and something breaks it’s just like – it’s a stab to the heart. You know literally it’s just like a knife to the back almost and it hurts you know and so you are unhappy about that.

CBL: So when people say oh he’s looking at other places because of technical problems over at Roush?

Biffle: No – that’s, that’s BS that’s just total BS. That has nothing to do with it – you know – we have had issues this year but you know a timing belt failing or having a broken tooth on a timing belt and the engine shop trying to iron that problem out. That’s not a reason to go look somewhere else for a job. You know what would make me go look somewhere else for a job is if we didn’t lead the race three quarters of the night. That’s what would make me go ‘I gotta try and find someplace I’m happier or have better equipment or car that is more competitive.’ I couldn’t have a more competitive car than had on Saturday night. I couldn’t have one and I’m pissed I didn’t get to race Kyle Busch you know because I didn’t race him earlier in the night because I didn’t figure he’d be around long enough to race him at the end the way he was driving. So I said I’m going to race you when it’s 25 laps to go if you’re still racing and, that was my strategy and I had a dang fast car and I’m just upset that I didn’t get to race him at the end.

CBL: And you told the fans it’s still looking good at Roush?

Biffle: Yes – yea. Nothing has changed. Last weekend yea I was kicking rocks in the way back to the bus to change my clothes ’cause I was mad. We went from locking – not locking ourselves in the chase but we went from finishing in the top three with our eyes closed – a strong points day- Kevin Harvick wrecked, you know a lot of guys had trouble, Ryan Newman had trouble. It was a good day for us in the points to really solidify us for a solid chase spot and we finished dead last 43rd place. That just – we gotta work so hard to try and make the chase now – it just takes the wind out of your sails.

CBL: It’s interesting to me how you being frustrated after the race last week turned into big stories about where you were going (to sign a contract elsewhere):

Biffle: I don’t understand why. I mean anybody that got out of the car after that happened is going to be frustrated. It doesn’t matter whether I’ve got a ten year contract, no contract whatever. I got out of the car – I was totally disappointed that the car broke and that you know it was obvious that we had a wheel loose and I had to deal with that all night and then the wheel studs broke on the right rear and I wasn’t sure if that was going to make it the rest of the race or not cause we were having big issues there – but – regardless of that – that one thing is not going to (make me) say ‘oh I quit’ Biffle doesn’t quit and I’m not quitting. I am not going to quit on Roush because of that race. You know there may be other things that come up or other opportunities like Tony Stewart or whatever is talking about -that, that….

CBL: Would you like ownership maybe or you’d like more things you can do on the side that you can’t do now?

Biffle: Anybody would want ownership certainly. You know Jeff Gordon’s got ownership. What ownership does is keeps you there forever. So that’s a way – you give the driver a piece of the franchise if you will to keep him in your stable.

CBL: Why don’t you ask Jack (Roush) for that?

Biffle: You never know – that might be a possibility or we might have already asked. You know those are negotiation things. I don’t really want to dwell on the contract because I want to focus on the performance of our team, how good Roush Fenway is and all those things. My negotiations or whatever we’re doing – we’re working on those things. Actually I haven’t worked on it in two weeks just because it hasn’t been a topic. My attorney guy has been busy and I’ve been busy with all this testing and all this stuff – I haven’t had time to even you know address that. But we’re going to get back to it we’re going to get it done and we’re going to go on with the season and make the chase hopefully.