Joliet, Ill. (July 12, 2008) – After a disappointing weekend in Daytona, Greg Biffle and the 3M team were ready to turn their luck around at Chicagoland this weekend. They were well on their way on Thursday as Biffle topped the speed charts in practice. Qualifying was rained out, so Biffle started 11th on Saturday night. After several adjustments on the car and some late-race pit strategy, Biffle was able to bring home a fourth place finish. The top-five effort moved the team up to seventh in the point standings.
After a late night of dirt track racing at Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin, Biffle was able to sleep in a little before practice on Thursday afternoon. At the end of the session, Biffle was at the top of the speed chart and seemed confident about qualifying. Shortly after practice, however, the rain began to fall and qualifying was cancelled. The teams came back for two practice sessions on Friday and felt that they would contend for the win on Saturday night.
The green flag dropped just before sunset on Saturday and the field drove off into turn one. Biffle picked up two positions on the first lap and was running seventh by lap 10. He quickly reported, however, that the 3M Ford was tight in the center of the corners and loose on entry. A competition caution came out on lap 35 and Biffle pitted for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment, a track bar adjustment and an air pressure adjustment.
Biffle restarted 11th on lap 39 and drove his way up to ninth before the next caution on lap 48. This time Biffle opted to stay out and he was in second place when green flag racing resumed on lap 52. He took the lead from Jeff Gordon on lap 56 and maintained it until a round of green flag stops began on lap 91. Biffle pitted on lap 92 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. He was right back in the lead, however, when the round of green flag stops was complete on lap 106.
On lap 107, Biffle reported that the 3M Ford was extremely loose but he was able to maintain the lead until a caution for debris came out on lap 111. He took the opportunity to pit for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and an air pressure adjustment. Several teams opted for only two tires and Biffle restarted 13th on lap 116. He made his way back into the top 10 on lap 130 but informed the team that the car felt as though it had lost total grip.
A caution on lap 141 allowed Biffle to pit for fuel and four fresh tires. He lost a few positions in the pits, however, and restarted 16th on lap 146. After he had again driven his way back into the top ten, another caution for debris came out on lap 177. He brought the 3M Ford to the pits for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. He returned to the track in the 17th position for the restart on lap 182.
At this point, Biffle and crew chief Greg Erwin agreed that they would have to use pit strategy to gain track position at the end of the race for a satisfactory finish. A caution on lap 225 gave them just the opportunity as Biffle pitted for two tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and an air pressure adjustment. The decision to take on only two tires allowed Biffle to restart in the fourth position on lap 230.
Biffle did not drop out of the top five for the remainder of the race and held off charges by Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth for a fourth place finish. The fourth place finish moves Biffle and the team up four positions to seventh in the point standings.
“It’s just about having track position,” said Biffle. “With this race car, you’ve got to be out front and stay out front, and it’s really important. We weren’t as good back in traffic as the other cars were, like David Reutimann, Kevin Harvick, all those guys were better than us back in traffic. They could pass cars and we couldn’t. Matt Kenseth, good example. He drove by us back there in traffic. So, we need to work on our car a little bit and we just need to work a little harder in traffic and get our car running good.”
Greg Biffle and the 3M team are currently seventh in the point standings. They are 563 points out of the lead currently held by Kyle Busch and 35 points ahead of Denny Hamlin in the 12th position. They are, however, only 66 points out of the sixth position. The team will return to the track on Sunday, July 27th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 13 motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, John Wes Townley and Bobby East; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.