Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 7th, 2009) – The first race of the 2009 Sprint Cup season lived up to the off-season hype with flying colors. A record number of entries due to the new format led to some very exciting racing for some and a very disappointing night for others. Greg Biffle and the 3M Ford Fusion were involved in four of the eight cautions during the 78-lap event. The 3M Ford survived the first three fairly unscathed but on lap 73 with only two scheduled laps remaining, Biffle got turned by David Stremme into the outside wall. The resulting damage was enough for crew chief Greg Erwin to send Biffle straight to the garage.
Biffle drew the 26th starting position at the Bud Shootout draw party on Thursday night which put him right next to teammate Matt Kenseth for the start of the race. Biffle hung back at the start but had to cut down onto the apron to avoid a multi-car incident on lap four. The evasive action caused minor damage to the left front splitter but after two trips to pit road, the 3M Ford was back in the race.
The field restarted on lap eight and Biffle was in the 24th position. He began a steady climb through the field and was running 19th when Stremme and Reutimann got together on lap 22. Biffle opted to stay out as the schedule 10-minute break was coming up on lap 25. He brought the 3M Ford in at that time for a little further repair to the damaged splitter. Biffle restarted 17th when green flag racing resumed and made his way up to fourth before contact from Jeff Gordon sent him on another spin onto the apron.
The incident with Gordon damaged the left front splitter again and Biffle was back on pit road for repair on lap 32. He restarted 23rd on lap 35 and hung out in the back for several laps. He had made his way up to 10th on lap 59 while drafting with Kenseth but then began to lose a little ground. Biffle was running 18th on lap 64 when he took another spin through the grass and again returned to pit road for repair to the splitter.
At this point, although involved in three cautions, the 3M Ford was still capable of running up front. On lap 73, however, contact again from Stremme sent Biffle into the outside wall and out of the race. Biffle was credited with a 17th place finish.
“Well, tonight I learned we could spin out four times and not hit anything – well, we did hit something that last time,” said Biffle. “I got a good idea of how the car is handling and a good idea of how we’re gonna start our 500 car for race trim, but it’s gonna be a lot different conditions. It’s gonna be much warmer and it’ll be a daytime race with the sun most likely out, so it’s gonna be extremely different from tonight.”
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.