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How to 'Fix' Talladega? Greg Biffle says it's time to start handing out stiff penalties

Greg Biffle: It's to keep your cool at Talladega (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern

   Greg Biffle likes speed. No surprise there.
   But a 10-flat quarter-mile in his street car?
   What the heck does he have under the hood?
   Well, it is a Shelby GT500 Mustang….
   "…and it's a secret what's under the hood," Biffle says with a laugh.
    "It's just a stock Ford engine that I just changed the super-charger on. 
     "It comes factory super-charged, and I've changed the super-charger and put an exhaust on it. 
     "It's pretty amazing that a car from the factory will run 10-flat quarter mile -- close to 150 mph. 
     "It's a pretty amazing car."
    And it is street-legal, straight-up, with air-conditioning and navigation screen and all that.
    How much horsepower?
    "834 on the chassis dyno at the shop….and the nitrous bottle gives it another 50," Biffle said.
   "But with only nine-inch tires, I can't use the nitrous too much. I might tear up the transmission."
    That was the bright side of Biffle here Friday, as he practiced for Saturday's Richmond 400.
    The other side – reflection on Sunday's Talladega problems. Too many crashes, too much beating and banging, too much rough-housing.
   Maybe NASCAR officials, after hearing for weeks about boring action on the tour this season, were simply excited to see these drivers doing something other than just running single-file. But now drivers are complaining that NASCAR should have cracked down harder on them?
   Biffle says the bottom line to Sunday's 500 is simple: "We're all glad that last Sunday nobody was seriously hurt. 
   "You think about the fans sitting in the stands with no protection….but also Carl (Edwards) up in that fence. And we've seen injuries in the past with fence posts or things coming through the windshield or side window, coming inside the car."
   In fact Dale Earnhardt once had a driveshaft smash through his windshield at Talladega.
   "So first of all, I'm just thankful nobody got hurt. 
    "Secondly -- we continue to push the envelope as drivers, bump-drafting and pushing each other. 
    "NASCAR always talks about it in the drivers' meeting: 'We don't want you bump-drafting in the tri-oval.' So we start pushing on the straightaways…and then we start pushing real lightly in the corner…and then we start pushing a little bit harder…and ultimately that's what ends up causing an accident. 
    "And blocking.  We've seen it over and over again, when you block somebody.
    "NASCAR said they'll penalize us for going below the yellow line, so you have to do a good job about knowing whether you're 'clear' or not, in order to move down in front of a car --  because that car is no longer going to move below the yellow line, because they don't want to be penalized. 
     "One: we need to police the bump-drafting a little bit more.
     "And the other thing is, they always say 'If you force a guy below the yellow line you may be penalized….. If you pass below the yellow line, you will be penalized.'
   "We need to probably change that verbiage a little bit to where the 'will' is in both of them.
    "If you force a guy below the yellow line  - he's inside of you, and you just turn to the left and run him down onto the flat -- then you get penalized. 
    'But that's not going to fix all the problems."
  And certainly there will be a controversial call, or two, or three, if NASCAR starts with penalties like that. 
   "Restrictor-plate racing is a great thing, and we're always going to be bunched up," Biffle says.
   "But there have to start being some consequences for the bump-drafting and chopping a guy off when he's inside of you.
   "Last year, a perfect example: Regan Smith elected to go below the yellow line and not turn Tony Stewart around and flip him upside-down…and they took the race away from him for passing below the yellow line. 
   "So this year the guy (Brad Keselowski) knew not to go below the yellow line -- and we had an accident. 
   "Both cases were trying to block, or force that guy below the yellow line.
   "Maybe we're going to have to be harder on that guy for trying to force a guy down there."

So how about a match race between Greg Erwin's Cup machine and Greg Biffle's Mustang....at Bruton Smith's drag strip? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



Biffle, Shut Up And Race

NASCAR has zero business policing where the racers race and how they race. I agree there should be fines for dirty driving but what happens at Talladaga is what NASCAR has to leave alone. Drivers are supposed to push-draft; they're supposed to try and break the draft - heck, if they'd do this on more tracks the racing would improve. NASCAR's present penalties are wrong and ineffective; it's time drivers just shut up and accept what happens at Talladega. Instead of whining about tough situations for men to handle, start toughening the men.

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