News & Media


Six Pack of Pop: Biffle fights with his dog for celebrity status

April 19, 2011, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com



Six Pack of Pop: Biffle fights with his dog for celebrity status

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, answers this week's six questions.

1. Is it true your dog Foster is quite famous?

Biffle: He's been everywhere. He's a superstar. He's been in photo shoots for Milk Bones boxes. He's the founder of The Greg Biffle Foundation. We got him when he was a puppy. We saw a lot of animal-cruelty cases and homeless animals and he meant so much to us and was such a part of the family that we couldn't stand to see the things that were going on. [Wife] Nicole and I wanted to make a difference, and it was kind of an area no one was doing much with at the time [in 2005]. We do a NASCAR Pet Calendar every year. That's our single biggest fund-raising event, and it works really well. A lot of the top drivers and their pets participate year after year, so it sort of becomes a piece of memorabilia that the race fans love. I'm proud of the fact that damn near every penny we raise from the calendar, we grant out.

2. As far as Foster goes, he's pretty good in front of the camera?

Biffle: He's super smart. I think he's part-human. He can open doors from the outside. ... He's really funny, with a hell of a personality.

"Every once in a while I'll take [Foster] with me when I go to sign autographs and he'll sit in the chair beside me. There will be a huge crowd there, like it's Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. signing autographs or something."

--GREG BIFFLE

3. Who's the bigger star, you or him?

Biffle: I think he is. Every once in a while I'll take him with me when I go to sign autographs at the souvenir trailer at a track, and he'll sit in the chair beside me. There will be a huge crowd there, like it's Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. signing autographs or something. There's a whole bunch of people and flashes going off with people taking pictures -- and it's not of me, I can tell you that.

4. Shifting gears for a second, tell us what happened in March when your plane crashed while landing at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky.

Biffle: That was an unfortunate incident, but I'm very lucky for it to happen the way it did. Ironically enough, I was going to Morehead City [N.C.] where my boat is to go fishing that weekend. We had the weekend off and we were going to spend a few days down there and then come back. Well, that's only a 4,000-foot runway. I had a business meeting pop up sort of unexpectedly in Lexington, Ky., and I thought, 'Well, I'm going to run over there since I've got the day and I've really got nothing important going.'

So I ran over there and it was a perfect, absolutely textbook landing -- but as the nose of the airplane was coming down, I felt the plane leaning to the right. ... I'm a pilot, too, and I noticed the right wing was really low to the ground. What had happened was the right landing gear had come down, but didn't lock into place. So as we're landing and rolling, it got weight on it and there was nothing holding it. It just folded under and went down under the wing. Then the plane doesn't want to stop because you don't have any brakes [on the right side] because the wheel is not on the ground anymore. So the pilot is trying to brake with the left and turn full left rudder, just to keep it on the runway. Because if it gets in the dirt and gets off the runway with that wing, it's going to cartwheel instantly and flip the plane upside down -- because the wing is going to dig into the dirt and that's going to be the end of it. Plus there are runway lights on the side of the runway and if you go off and start hitting them, that's going to strip the wing open and fuel is going to spill out. My pilot did a magnificent job keeping it on the runway, and we finally stopped about 500 feet from the end of what was a 7,500-foot-long runway. So the moral of the story is if we had gone to Morehead City, I would have been in the water -- because that runway only goes about 4,000 feet, then there is about 100 feet of grass and a chain-link fence and a road and then there is water.

5. Wow. So it was a real blessing in disguise that at the last minute you decided to go do a little business instead of going fishing?

Biffle: Yeah, it was. And I was by myself, which was also good -- because my wife is pregnant and she probably wouldn't have been thrilled about sliding down the wing onto the runway, either.

6. Congratulations on recently agreeing to a multi-year contract extension with Roush Fenway Racing. Do you intend to finish your career there?

Biffle: I think so. I definitely do. There has been a little bit of talk about that. But let me be clear that this isn't my last contract. ... They've been fair to me over the years and that's part of staying. That and the consistency. I know what to expect. I know what the policy is with our company, and I think that has a lot to do with it. If you go somewhere else, you don't know what to expect. I feel like I've got a little job security where I'm at because I'm embedded in the company and I know a lot about the way it works and the way it operates and what we have to do to get better.

All a driver wants is the ability to win races and be competitive, and if you feel you can't win races and be competitive, then you need to look elsewhere because that's truly what this sport is about -- who is going to win the race today. I felt like our company has been competitive throughout the entire time that I've been here, and I take some pride at some point in us being the underdog and coming back and winning races. Maybe we weren't the best at times and I think it's a cycle. Now we're back on an upswing.