Biffle still trying to get a handle of COT

Admitedly not a big fan of the Car of Tomorrow, Greg Biffle chose his words carefully, saying it's difficult to get it to do what you want it to do and "It's hard because it's all technical stuff."

Updated: May 15, 2007, 5:54 PM ET
By Jim Benton | Scripps Howard News Service

He knows his thoughts don't have the same impact as those spoken by drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart.

Matt Kenseth (17) , Greg Biffle (16)
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIREGreg Biffle closely follows teammate Matt Kenseth in a Car of Tomorrow race May 6 Richmond International Raceway.

Drivers have criticized the Car of Tomorrow because it is difficult to turn and it doesn't handle as well as the old cars.

Stewart and Kyle Busch were the first drivers to disapprove publicly of the COT, and Earnhardt chimed in Monday, saying it was "the most frustrating thing I've had to deal with in this sport."

The fifth of 16 COT races this season will be held Saturday night at Darlington Raceway, where Greg Biffle has won the past two races.

On the weekly NASCAR conference call, Biffle was cautious when discussing the COT, which could make Darlington even tougher to tame Saturday night.

"I've got to be careful about what I say or I get ripped a little bit more than they (Earnhardt or Stewart) probably do," Biffle said. "It is a difficult car to get to do what you want it to do. It's hard to influence the car to do stuff. It's hard because it's all technical stuff. We just haven't gotten it figured out yet.

"I think as time goes on, we will figure it out. I don't think NASCAR is against modifying the design a little bit. We've got the concept down. We've got a safer car."

The COT is a result of a seven- year NASCAR project created to produce safer and more competitive cars.

"Definitely at Phoenix, I was yelling about the car, too," Biffle said. "I hated it, but nobody wanted to listen to me because I finished 20th, barely. But I was miserable. At Richmond, I was a lot better."

Part of the reasoning for creating the COT was to allow teams to use the same car at all tracks, reduce costs and help small teams compete with the bigger teams.

The first four COT races have ended with close finishes, but strong teams such as Hendrick Motorsports, which has won all four COT races, have remained strong.

"Maybe it has brought the teams a little closer together," Biffle said. "But it's not the great equalizer that everybody expected it to be in the beginning."

As for Biffle's future, his contract with Roush Fenway Racing expires next year, but he expects to agree to a contract extension that will keep him with Roush through 2012.

"We're negotiating with Roush on getting the extension done," he said. "We've got a couple sponsors that want to come over and be on our race car, and there are other teams that have shown interest in me coming over to drive their car.

"I'm pretty sure I'm staying at Roush. I don't have any reason to believe that we're not going to be able to do a deal with them."

Biffle, who has won 11 races in the past four years and is 15th in the standings this season, doesn't want contract talks to drag.

"If we don't get it done this year, I'm going to be announcing where I'm going to be driving in the future," he said.

Pit stops

  • Michael Waltrip has failed to qualify for eight consecutive races and he is eager to be one of the 43 cars in this weekend's field. "I have watched more races this year than I have in my whole life, and I'm in awe," he said on his satellite radio show. "I mean seeing the cars and the things these guys can do ... I can't wait to get in a race so I can go out there. I'm going to have some great excuses, too. If I wreck a guy ... 'Oops, sorry about that. I'm still rusty. They haven't let me race in a while.'"

  • Biffle is seeking his third consecutive win at Darlington. Only two other drivers have won three straight Darlington races -- four-time series champion Jeff Gordon and seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt. Gordon leads all active drivers with six Darlington wins. David Pearson is the all-time leader with 10 wins at the South Carolina track, followed by Earnhardt with nine.

  • Over the past 56 years, Darlington Raceway has earned a couple of nicknames. According to Kurt Busch, "there might even be a few more choice names tossed around after Saturday night's race." Darlington is known as the "Lady in Black" because of the black tire marks on the white walls after races. The oval also has been called the "Track Too Tough to Tame" after cars receive their "Darlington stripes" from hitting the wall.

  • Tony Stewart enjoys watching old races run at Darlington but admits he hasn't figured out the track. "I could probably run backward and run about the same as I do going forward," he said. "That's how close I feel like I am to figuring out Darlington."

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