Roush Racing's Greg Biffle looked back on a “tough” 2009 season in NASCAR's video conference, as well as looking forward to the final two races of the season and beyond.
“The season has been a little bit disappointing for the 16 team,” said the Washington state native, describing how he and his crew chief, Greg Erwin, had looked back over the season.
“We look back and we almost won California. We were right there at Las Vegas. We would have probably won Texas had we not dropped a lugnut. We were so close. Michigan. We would have won Michigan if we wouldn't have run out of gas 800 feet from the start-finish line. So we look back and look at so many opportunities that we missed, where we were the fastest and most dominant car of that event.”
“What is disappointing is that we haven't been able to perform the second half of the season. Leading up to the chase and the first eight chase races so far haven't been where we wanted them to be.”
But while Biffle, who lies seventh in points – 247 points in arrears – is still looking forward to the final two races, this weekend at Phoenix and the finale at Homestead-Miami.
“I feel like I have as good an opportunity as all the other guys, absolutely,” Biffle enthused when asked how he felt about the last two races. “I really look forward to Homestead. I look forward to Phoenix, too. I've got three wins there and a couple second-place finishes, so I look forward to that race track. It's a fun track, but I want to win a race this season and I've got two opportunities left.”
But with Biffle and the no.16 realistically out of title contention, a title the driver himself suggests is still open, comparing Mark Martin's recent form at the tracks and the pressure he believes Jimmie Johnson is now under, focus is obviously turning to 2010, as Biffle, and the entire Ford program (the manufacturer having only scored three Cup wins the season, the fewest of the four car makers in NASCAR).
Arguably central to reviving the fortunes of the blue oval's team, which next year will include the Richard Petty Motorsport teams, is the new Ford engine, debuted by Matt Kenseth and David Ragan at Talladega.
“The engine looks promising,” Biffle said. “I spoke with Doug Yates quite a bit about the engine and I'm really excited about it.”
However, he concedes the introduction will not be instant, expecting to run the old engine for the first third of the season.
But Biffle knows the team face other problems if they are to challenge for the title next year. “he spots are to figure out these front bump stops, figure out the front geometry, figure out how to get our cars to turn around the center of the corner – rotate so that we can put the gas back down. Those are our issues.”
“We're just gonna continue to work as hard as we can, take advantage of a tire test it looks like we're gonna get invited to in late January, and just try to get as best prepared as we can for next year.”