Indianapolis, Ind.(July 29, 2012) – The NASCAR Series made its annual trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for what was referred to as “The Super Weekend” due to Grand Am, Nationwide and Sprint Cup all racing at the same track on the same weekend. The Cup teams had just two practice sessions on Saturday before qualifying that afternoon, followed by the race on Sunday. Biffle was fastest in final practice and qualified his 3M Ford fifth for the Crown Royal 400. Every driver dreams of celebrating a win at Indianapolis by kissing the bricks that make up the start/finish line, and Biffle gave it a valiant effort. Biffle ran up front the entire 160-lap race and took a gamble with a two-tire stop at the end to gain track position. Biffle restarted first, led a few laps, but eventual race winner, Jimmie Johnson, was just too fast. Biffle crossed the finish line third in his 3M Ford; his best finish at the famed Raceway.
Just two laps into the race, Biffle reported in to crew chief Matt Puccia that his Ford was “aero tight.” As the laps went by, the car continued to lose grip and Puccia and Biffle discussed what adjustments they would make on their first pit stop. A caution-free opening to the race led to green-flag pit stops for the field. Biffle pitted on lap 26 for four tires, fuel and one round up on the track bar to free him up a little. A few laps later, the first caution of the day came out. Having just pitted 16 laps before, Puccia opted for a quick two-tire stop and fuel. Biffle restarted fourth, and by the second caution on lap 48, was up to third.
The 3M Ford continued to be extremely loose and Biffle had his hands full on the track. A green flag stop on lap 72 for four tires and fuel found Biffle just a “tick free,” but then one lap later, he was so loose he could hardly drive it. Under caution on lap 95, Biffle pitted for what would be his final four-tire stop. In addition to the tires, he was given a left-rear wedge adjustments and packed full of Sunoco fuel. The wedge adjustment helped, but he was still a little free.
The caution came out for an incident on the track on lap 124. Biffle was fourth and had to pit to fuel up to make it to the end. Puccia asked Biffle, “Do you want four tires for grip, or two for track position?” Biffle opted for track position, and came down pit road for two tires, fuel and a ? round down on his track bar. Biffle came off of pit road the leader, but everyone behind him had four tires. The call for track position paid off, as a few laps later another caution came out equalizing the field. A hard-charging Jimmie Johnson passed Biffle, but Biffle has able to hang on and cross the finish line third at the historical Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Well, it was a pretty good day for us,” said Biffle. “We were just super loose all day long, and we had a pretty short practice session for us. It was pretty compact. Toward the end of practice, we put a different package on our car that seemed like it had pretty good speed on the lap tracker but was a little bit free, and we thought that might be good for today if it was going to need the car to turn. We decided to race that package, and just were really loose all day. It made it difficult after about four or five laps my car just started to get real loose. We did two tires there at the end, and I thought a lot of people would do two tires, and it turned out most everybody did four. That hurt us a little bit, but still, we ended up third. It kind of flattened off. That caution right there probably helped us, probably helped the tires equalize, and when we fired off there again we were able to maintain. We'll go back to the drawing board on what we got. We've got to test tomorrow and then Pocono and Michigan, and we'll keep working on it.”
2.5-mile Pocono Raceway
Long Pond, Pa.
Sunday, August 5, 2012