Roush Racing Lays 2005 Cup Groundwork During Kentucky Test
Roush Racing pooled its resources at Kentucky Speedway today when driver Greg Biffle teamed with Crew Chief Robbie Reiser to begin laying the groundwork for a 2005 NEXTEL Cup program that could deliver the organization a third consecutive series championship.
The pilot of the No. 16 National Guard Ford finished the 2004 season with a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway and a career-best single season record that included two wins, four top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
Reiser, who won the 2003 series championship with No. 17 DeWalt Ford driver Matt Kenseth, had his team in range of a second straight series title last season, but finished eighth in the first "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" with two wins, eight top-five and 16 top-10 finishes.
Biffle budgeted his time between four cars and worked with Reiser under the new series rules that include a reduced spoiler.
"This is really important," Biffle said. "NASCAR has implemented a shorter spoiler and a lot of teams are trying to get a head start on that. We're one of them. We have four cars here today. We've never taken four cars to the racetrack before.
"We're trying to figure out what to build for 2005. We're going to go test at Las Vegas and California at the end of the month and we don't know what to take. We're trying to figure out what platform will be the best for driving on a racetrack. We have wind tunnel numbers, but you never know until you get to the track."
Biffle spent a portion of his day in the same No. 16 he drove to Victory Lane in the 2004 season finale and noticed a measurable difference when driving it with the new spoiler.
"This is our baseline car," he said. "Believe it or not, we brought three other cars that have better down force numbers, but this car is the fastest car. We're scratching our head trying to figure out what's special about this car. I told them we need to put it in a museum, but I want to run it next year, because we'll win some races. "The short spoiler is quite a bit different. We didn't even put the big spoiler on this car. We're technically never going to put it back on until NASCAR tells us to because we don't want to get a false sense of security. We did do it (on) back-to- back (runs) in Vegas and the car was slower by three- to four-tenths a lap with the short spoiler. It shows up more on older tires than it does on newer tires.
"We're trying to put on a better show and we're trying to make it (the series) more competitive, but there's just not enough spoiler on it to run side-by-side. Cars are going to be harder to drive, especially around people in a group."
Although he faces a firm set of challenges for the upcoming season, the Vancouver, Wash., native who turns 35 on December 23, is optimistic about making the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" in 2005. "I'm focused on making the NEXTEL Cup Chase next year. We learned a lot with this racecar and came a long way as a team (in 2004)," Biffle said. "I got a lot better at places where predominately I'm not good as a driver. The team has gotten better with racecars and we feel like we're in line to win about five races and compete everywhere we go. There isn't one racetrack I dread going to now. I'm excited to go Bristol, I'm excited to go Dover, I'm excited to go to Louden and Martinsville, just everywhere. We're really looking forward to next season."
Biffle also is excited about his limited NASCAR Busch Series schedule with Brewco Motorsports of Central City, Ky., and the No. 66 Duraflame Ford. He finished fourth in the 2004 standings after driving to five wins, 15 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes.
"I love running Busch races," he said. "That's what keeps me going in this sport of NASCAR because there's no pressure and it's a lot of fun for me.
"It's a little bit more difficult with Brewco being in Kentucky because I really like to go to the race shop and this (arrangement) doesn't afford me that opportunity that much. I can do it, but it's a little harder.
"I'm real excited about racing with them because those guys have great cars. Everybody I've worked with over there has been great and I'm excited they're switching to Ford. Our Ford Taurus is really good right now and we're working hard on it. Dodge is bringing out their new car, so we'll have some competition, but I feel good about next year and teaming up with Duraflame."
Joe Gibbs racing drivers Jason Leffler, Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte also tested today along with ppc Racing driver John Andretti, Haas CNC driver Mike Bliss and Labonte Motorsports driver Justin Labonte.
Kentucky Speedway will pack 11 races and concerts with country music artists Travis Tritt, The Charlie Daniels Band, Billy Ray Cyrus, SHeDAISY and The Kentucky Headhunters into five weekends of entertainment in 2005. The new season begins May 14 and ends September 10.
Season ticket packages are on sale now and begin at $200. New and renewing members will be able to attend Outback Steakhouse Tailgate Parties during the June, July and August weekends and enjoy access to a VIP concert area. Members also will receive one general admission pole event voucher and one cold pit pass with each season ticket purchased, the opportunity to purchase pole event tickets at half price, one preferred parking pass that can be exchanged for free access to general camping areas. Season seat locations can be renewed each year.
Packages can be reserved and renewed online at www.kentuckyspeedway.com, by phone at 859-578-2300 or at the speedway ticket office located at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 200, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky. A mail in order form also is available on the tickets pages of the official track Web site.
Single event ticket sales will begin January 10, 2005.
~ Kentucky Speedway ~