Concord, N.C. (May 16, 2009) – With a significant amount of money and bragging rights on the line, Greg Biffle and the 3M team were ready for an exciting night of racing at their home track. Practice didn’t go quite as well as they had hoped but they made a few additional changes and worked on their game plan for the race. Biffle qualified 11th even after a five-second penalty for one lugnut that was on but not making contact with the wheel. Biffle quickly fell back with an ill-handling racecar and was just beginning to make up ground at the start of the third segment when contact from Sam Hornish sent the 3M Ford into the wall and out of the race. Biffle was credited with a 21st-place finish.
Biffle was sixth on the board in the first and only practice session for the All-Star race and the team knew there was room for improvement. Biffle was the second driver to take the track for the unique qualifying format which included a pit stop. Jeff Gordon had gone out first but Biffle and the 3M team bested his time by three seconds. Unfortunately, it was determined that one of the lugnuts was not touching the wheel and even though it was cross-threaded and tight, the rule stated that all lugnuts had to be touching the wheel. A five-second penalty was given and Biffle ended up 11th when time trials concluded.
After starting 11th, Biffle quickly fell back a little with a car that he reported started loose and then got really tight. He was running 19th when the team made the mandatory green-flag pit stop on lap 25 of the first 50-lap segment. The crew made several adjustments including wedge and spring rubber adjustments to try to correct the handling of the 3M Ford Fusion. Biffle was back in the 19th position when he returned to the track. He informed the team that the car was looser and made his way up to the 16th position before the competition caution on lap 50.
The crew made a track bar adjustment during the caution but a penalty for being too fast entering the pits put Biffle at the rear of the field for the start of the second segment. He picked up three positions before the second competition caution on lap 70. The car was still lacking in grip but Biffle opted to stay out to try to gain track position. He started the third segment from the eighth position but one lap later he was racing with Hornish when Hornish got loose and made contact with the 3M Ford Fusion. The contact sent Biffle into the outside wall and caused significant damage to the entire right side of the car.
It was determined that there was not time to sufficiently repair the damage and Biffle took the 3M Ford to the garage. As he was the first driver out of the race, Biffle was credited with a 21st-place finish.
“Everybody is trying really hard tonight and the 77 just drove in there probably a little bit too hard – trying to get a little bit too much on that restart,” said Biffle. “He just got loose underneath me. I saw him moving up. I moved up the race track quite a ways, but I guess he couldn’t keep it down and couldn’t save it. You’ve just really got to get these cars really loose to be able to turn and he was just a little too loose, I guess, and took us out.”
As the All-Star Race is not a points event, Greg Biffle and the 3M team remain ninth in the Sprint Cup point standings. They are 256 points behind leader Jeff Gordon but 81 points ahead of 13th. The 3M team will return to the track on Sunday, May 24th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600.
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.