Martinsville, Va. (March 29th, 2009) – The 3M team was determined to turn their season thus far around at Martinsville and regain some lost points. That, however, was not in the forecast. After practice on Friday the rain began and led to the cancellation of qualifying and the two practice sessions on Saturday. The team was left with little time to work on the handling of the 3M Ford before the race at a track where practice was crucial. Driver Greg Biffle and the team adjusted on the 3M Ford throughout Sunday’s race with little progress and finally finished 28th. The 28th place finish moves Biffle and the team to 23rd in the point standings.
Biffle was 32nd in practice on Friday but he and the team seemed confident that they would be able to fine-tune the car on Saturday. Weather did not permit such adjustments and the team was forced to start the 500-lap race only with what they learned in practice on Friday. Biffle started 18th as the field was set by points.
The green flag dropped on a sunny afternoon in southern Virginia and Biffle took off with the rest of the field into turn one. By lap 10, however, he had dropped back to the 23rd position and reported that the 3M Ford was tight in turns three and four. On lap 20, Michael Waltrip spun and brought out the first caution of the race. Biffle took the opportunity to pit for four tires and a track bar adjustment.
The crew sent Biffle out 26th for the restart on lap 26 as a few teams had opted not to pit. On lap 40, NASCAR put out a competition caution because of the rained-out practice sessions. Biffle was 27th on the board and pitted for two tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. He restarted 17th in front of the teams who decided to take on four fresh Goodyears.
The adjustments didn’t seem to do the trick and over the next 100 laps the team did two more track bar adjustments and a wedge adjustment. Biffle reported that the track bar adjustments seemed to help but on lap 215 Denny Hamlin, the leader at the time, got by the No. 16 3M Ford and put Biffle one lap down. Greg Erwin and the team decided it was time for more aggressive adjustments and during the next caution, opted for a spring rubber adjustment in addition to another track bar adjustment.
Biffle restarted 27th on lap 264 and remained just inside of the top 30 for the remainder of the race. He would go two laps down on lap 304 while running in the 29th position. The team continued to adjust on the car throughout the remainder of the race and Biffle picked up one position for a 28th place finish.
“This track is just not my track,” said Biffle. “We’ve run as good as we can here, but it’s tough for us. We could never get the thing to turn and get good grip off. Every once in a while we run well, but we’re just missing that little bit of something. We’ll keep working on it and we’ll get it one of these days.”
Following their 28th place finish in Martinsville, Greg Biffle and the 3M team dropped to 23rd in the Sprint Cup point standings. They are 354 points behind points-leader Jeff Gordon but only 99 points out of the top 12. The 3M team will return to the track on Sunday, April 5th at Texas Motor Speedway.
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.