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November 17, 2008 8:14 AM

Biffle Drives 3M Ford Fusion to 18th-Place Finish in Homestead; Takes Third in The Chase

Homestead, Fla. (November 16, 2008) – Despite being mathematically eliminated from the Chase for the Championship, the No. 16 3M team arrived in Homestead with every intention of winning the race.  Fuel mileage would again be the deciding factor and while that did not play to Greg Biffle and the team’s favor, they proved to be a top-10 contender near the end of the race.  Biffle started 23rd, went a lap down early due to a pit road speeding violation and drove his way into the top 10 before fuel mileage came into play.  He took an 18th place finish in the end and retained the third position in the point standings.

While Biffle was listed 31st at the end of the first practice of the weekend on Friday, he still seemed optimistic about qualifying that afternoon.  As he started his qualifying run it seemed that he was on track to turn in a top time but the car got a little tighter than he anticipated and he was 23rd at the end of time trials.  Biffle and the team regrouped and were second-fastest during happy hour on Saturday giving them renewed confidence for Sunday’s race.

Biffle started on the inside of row 12 and picked up two positions before a round of green-flag pit stops began on lap 50.  Crew chief Greg Erwin directed Biffle to pit road on lap 51 for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and an air pressure adjustment as the car was too loose.  Unfortunately, Biffle was too fast entering pit road with the 3M Ford and was penalized with a trip down pit road under green.  When the round of green flag stops was complete on lap 54, Biffle was 40th on the board and one lap down.

It would take the next 110 laps and three pit stops for further adjustments for Biffle to get back on the lead lap.  He was running in the 23rd position when he got the lucky dog pass but the 3M Fusion was still extremely loose.  As he would lose no ground, he pitted for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment, an air pressure adjustment and a spring rubber adjustment to try to correct the handling of the car. 

The adjustments seemed to help and Biffle began a steady climb through the field that saw him in the top 10 for the first time of the night on lap 211.  He made his way by David Reutimann on lap 214 for ninth before he began to drop back again with a loose racecar.  As a long green-flag run ensued, it was clear that fuel-mileage would likely be a factor in the outcome of the race.

Biffle and Erwin opted to bring the 3M Ford Fusion to pit road on lap 250 for right-side tires and fuel.  Biffle was 27th when he returned to the track and was able to pick up nine positions before the end of the race for an eighteenth place finish as several teams gambled on fuel mileage and found success.

“It seems like we’ve got to get the tire to have just a little bit more grip and make it a little racier, but we did pretty good with our 3M Ford,” said Biffle.  “Unfortunately, we’re still not getting the fuel mileage that we need to be getting, so we had to stop like everybody else and get fuel.  We thought about ducking in and getting a little gas there, but we worked so hard to get track position all day that we hardly wanted to give it up at the end and come in for a splash of gas.  We figured there would be another caution and we’d be racing with two tires or something, but there was no caution.  There were a lot of green-flag runs today.  We ended up third in the points, so we’re excited about that and we’ll look forward to next year.”

Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team finished the 2008 season third in the point standings, 217 points out of the lead and 59 points ahead of Kevin Harvick in the fourth position.  The team will return to the track next February at Daytona International Speedway.

About Roush Fenway Racing

Roush Fenway Racing operates 13 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup 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; three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

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