Richmond, Va. (May 2, 2009) – With Talladega safely behind them, the 3M team went to Richmond with high hopes of continuing their climb in the points. That was not in the cards but despite an admittedly disappointing finish on Saturday night, Biffle and the team lost only one position in the point standings. The team worked throughout the race to better the handling of the 3M Ford and left with a 17th-place finish. The top-20 finish moved the team to 11th in the point standings were they are only five points out of 10th.
After two long practice sessions on Friday, it was clear that the 3M team would have an uphill battle in Saturday’s race but they remained optimistic and prepared the car for qualifying. Biffle turned in the 20th fastest time for a starting position on the outside of row 10. It was apparent early in the race, however, that adjusting the handling of the 3M Ford would be the focus of the night.
The first of 15 cautions came out on lap 9 and Biffle informed the team that the 3M Ford was way too tight in the center of the turns. Crew chief Greg Erwin opted for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. The field restarted on lap 13 and Biffle was still in the 20th position. The adjustment had not improved the handling and Biffle radioed the team to tell them that the car was loose entering the corners and had no grip.
Over the course of the next 250 laps, the team made seven pit stops for wedge, air pressure and spring rubber adjustments to try to improve the car’s handling. Around lap 211, Biffle reported that the car was better but on lap 272, he said that it was too loose again. On lap 285, after a tap from Joey Logano, Biffle spun and made minor contact with the outside wall on the backstretch.
Biffle immediately brought the 3M Ford to pit road for damage assessment. The crew repaired the minimal damage and made additional wedge and air pressure adjustments. Biffle restarted 21st on lap 290 and began to slowly make his way back through the field. A two-tire pit stop on lap 308 gained him five positions on the track and he was 11th on the board shortly after the restart on lap 312.
By lap 325, however, Biffle had dropped back to 16th and told Erwin that he had no forward grip. A multi-car incident brought out the yellow on that same lap and Biffle pitted for four tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment, an air pressure adjustment and a spring rubber adjustment. He restarted 20th on lap 335 and picked up one position before the next caution on lap 345. This time Biffle opted to stay out and restarted 14th on lap 350.
Biffle quickly lost seven positions, however, and it was clear that he would need to pit during the final caution on lap 357 for four fresh tires and an air pressure adjustment. When green-flag racing resumed, Biffle was 20th on the board. He was able to pick up three positions in the closing laps for a 17th-place finish.
“It was a disappointing day for the 3M team and the Roush Fenway as a whole,” said Biffle. “I’m not sure what the problem is but we need to figure it out. I know this team works hard and we deserve to be running better than we did today. Hopefully we’ll have a better understanding of the situation by next week. Darlington is one of my favorite tracks and we’ve had a lot of success there so I have high expectations for next weekend”
Following their 17-place finish in Richmond, Greg Biffle and the 3M team dropped one spot to 11th in the Sprint Cup point standings. They are 248 points behind leader Jeff Gordon but 37 points ahead of 13th. The 3M team will return to the track on Saturday, May 9th at Darlington Raceway.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing operates 9 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; Three in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Colin Braun; and one in the Camping World Truck Series with Braun.