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Ford's Greg Biffle is getting frustrated -- where's the corner speed? And he realizes time is running out for answers

  Greg Biffle: It's been a year since his last win, and he says he needs more speed (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   DOVER, Del.
   Okay, Greg, it's time to get in gear and make something happen.
   Greg Biffle agrees. It hasn't been a great season for him or his teammates. The Jack Roush operation hasn't won on the Sprint Cup tour since February, and Biffle himself hasn't won since here last fall.
   Teammate Carl Edwards is an even more mysterious issue, winless this season after a league-leading nine victories in 2008.
   Now Biffle and Edwards did make the chase, and in these last nine races of the season perhaps they can mount a championship charge.
   But as strong as some of those Rick Hendrick-powered rivals are, time may be running out.
   This Dover 400, which should be a good one for Biffle, and he's starting fourth, could be the key.
   However, there is the sense that Biffle has to make something happen here, and then again next weekend at Kansas, or it may be all but over till next season.
    Biffle certainly knows the score, and he's fired up: "This is one of the race tracks that I look for on the schedule. We run very good here.
    "The spring race we're leading with five to go and got passed by Jimmie Johnson and finished third.
    "But we're running good here this weekend.
     "We didn't come off the truck very good with this new tire. It took us a little bit to get up to speed. But we're pretty happy with the way the car's driving now."
    In the title fight it's not just Biffle and Edwards against the Chevy horde; teammates Matt Kenseth, David Ragan and Jamie McMurray need to run well too in these final nine races, to try to give Biffle and Edwards some points-room over their title rivals, if possible.
    But it's not clear just how Roush is going to play this whole hand.
    "We stand an opportunity for Matt and David and Jamie to do a little bit more stuff outside of the box, a little more research with the race cars," Biffle points out.
    "Everybody in here has criticized us about being a little bit slower than the rest of the chase guys right now. We're trying to close that gap."
    And then there's Mark Martin, once a teammate, now a rival, and a challenger for the title to boot. In fact Martin comes into the 400 leading the standings, 92 points ahead of Biffle.
    But Martin has this 'nice guy' reputation. Is he tough enough, and rough enough, to win a championship?
   Biffle all but laughs at the question:
   "Mark Martin is definitely capable of winning….and him being a clean driver: well, I've traded paint with Mark before," Biffle said.
   "I wouldn't say he's perfect when it comes to that, because I've had him against my door in the middle of the corner at Homestead for the win on the last lap.
    "So he definitely pushes the envelope…and I don't feel it's cost him any finishes or any wins or championships up to this point."
    Okay, Greg, so what's happened to the Ford teams this season? Why aren't they more competitive with the Chevys?
   "We know it's corner speed," Biffle says flatly.
    "Our pit stops – we've whipped everybody's butt on pit stops the last five or eight races. We've gained a tremendous amount of spots on pit road. It's incredible what we've been able to accomplish three.
    "It just sucks that we can't always get everything perfect.
     "Our cars' center-of-the-corner speed is really off a little -- our car turning in the middle of the corner.
   "We've got great engines, we've got a good pit crew, we've got great mechanical parts, great wiring, and electrical and mechanical.
    "We've had great success with all of that.
    "But we're just lacking that extra little piece of speed we're searching for.
    "And we're killing ourselves trying to find it.
    "It seems like this weekend we're running with the top guys, so we'll wait and see next week how it pans out.
    "There are two ways of getting a car to turn around the corner: One is the car turns with the front tires when you turn the steering wheel. The second is, if the front tires don't turn, if they slide up the track and you cannot get them to turn, then the only thing you can do is loosen the car up -- get the back of the car loose enough to where you go around the corner with the back of the car turning…like a forklift.
     "When you purely talk center-of-the-corner speed, and lap time, 90 percent of it is generated from that three-quarter mark into the corner and then off --- 90 percent of your speed generated is right there.
    "And 10 or 20 more horsepower isn't going to make a difference on your lap time."
    And then there is the Bobby Labonte factor.
   Labonte,  Biffle's 'teammate' when he's in Doug Yates Fords, has split his time the last few weeks, running a Chevy for rival Slugger Labbe at times, while Yates debates his next business moves as team owner.
   So Labonte is providing something of a baseline for Ford. And Biffle says the fact that Labonte has been running faster in Labbe's Chevrolet shows there is a problem somewhere.
    "To be perfectly honest with you, it's a little bit disheartening that they're that much different," Biffle says of Labonte's two rides.
    "I know Bobby Labonte is a good driver, and I know that (Labbe) is a single-car team…and it's apparent that since they've made the switch that he's run better in that single-car team car than our cars.
    "That constitutes how poorly we're doing.
    "We're just not getting it done. I don't know what else to say. We just simply not getting the job done.
    "It's apparent.
    "But we're working hard at it.
    "And some teams within our own organization are better than others, and that confuses us as well.
    "I look at the setup sheet, and I'm running fourth and they (Labonte, this week in a Yates' Ford) are 41st.
    "Sometimes I don't understand that."

Nascars a Chevy Fan

By Bobby Labonte running so much better in a Chevy just shows it is the same old Nascar! GM gets to rule and the others are just contenders!

One thing I can assure you if Hendrick was running as bad as Roush, you would have probably seen a bunch of rule changes!

It has been high time for Nascar to 'EVEN IT UP'! There should not be the favoritism for GM.I still say GM is giving Nascar more money than the rest of the manufacturers; the results are always the same! They may let some of the other brands have a decent year, BUT WITH MORE BRANDS THAN EVER IN NASCAR, ITS MORE ONE-SIDED THAN EVER!!

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Why aren't they running the new FR9 engine ?

Good question. First, the

Good question. First, the advantage Hendrick's Chevy teams have doesn't appear to be HP, but rather in front-end geometry (according to Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle last weekend, for example). Second, the current Ford engine is fine. Third, it's going to be expensive to do all the new parts and pieces, and there are some questions about reliability apparently. Better bump-stops might be the solution, rather than the new engine.

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