Concord, N.C. (October 11, 2008) – The No. 16 3M Ford Fusion was one of the fastest cars at the test two weeks ago at Lowe’s Motor Speedway so Greg Biffle and the 3M team were looking forward to racing at home this weekend. When practice and qualifying were cancelled on Thursday due to rain, they were forced to wait another day to get on the track. Biffle was in the top five at the end of both practice sessions on Friday but dropped back early in the race with a tight racecar. Biffle and the team fine-tuned the handling of the 3M Ford all night but on the final run the car was just a little too loose. Biffle held onto it for a seventh place finish and remains third in the standings, 86 points out of the lead with five races to go.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series got through most of their first practice on Thursday before the rain came. Track activity for the rest of the day was cancelled which included Sprint Cup Series practice and qualifying. The field would be set by points and Biffle would start on the inside of row two. Biffle was fourth in the first practice session on Saturday and fifth in the final practice. The team seemed a little disappointed as they had hoped to be at the top of the charts based on the test a couple of weeks ago but they were still optimistic.
Shortly after the drop of the green flag, Biffle dropped back a little and reported that the 3M Ford Fusion was a little too tight. He was running fifth when the first caution of the day came out on lap 44. Biffle took the opportunity to pit for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and a track bar adjustment. The crew sent him right back out in the fifth position for the restart on lap 48. One lap later, Biffle passed Jeff Burton for fourth and then teammate Carl Edwards dropped back to pit for a loose wheel.
Kyle Busch was able to drive by Biffle on lap 75, putting Biffle back in the fourth position when a caution on lap 103 allowed everyone to pit for fresh tires and fuel. Biffle and the 3M team opted for four tires and a wedge adjustment to try to continue to correct the handling of the No. 16 Ford. Green flag racing resumed on lap 108 and Biffle was in the sixth position but dropped back a little with a loose racecar. After another pit stop on lap 122 under caution for a track bar adjustment, Biffle restarted back in the 10th position.
A long green flag run followed that round of pit stops and Biffle drove his way to the second position before a round of green-flag pit stops began on lap 175. He was right back in the second position when the green-flag stops were complete on lap 180 and maintained the position until lap 194 when an incident involving teammate Matt Kenseth brought out the seventh caution of the day. This time Biffle and the team decided to go with right-side tires only and a minor wedge adjustment.
Biffle restarted fifth on lap 202 as three teams opted not to pit. He quickly got by Burton and eventually took the lead on lap 251 as a round of green-flag pit stops began. With Reed Sorenson in the lead because he had not yet pitted, Biffle was running third behind Jeff Gordon when a caution came out on lap 265. Sorenson and Gordon both pitted and Biffle stayed out as he had just recently made his green-flag pit stop on lap 256.
On lap 269 the field restarted with Biffle in the lead. A few laps later, Burton and his teammate Clint Bowyer got by as Biffle reported that the 3M Ford was loose entering the corners but tight all the way around. A final caution on lap 296 allowed Biffle and the team to make their last round of adjustments for the day. It was four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment for the 3M team. Other teams decided two tires was the way to go and Biffle restarted fifth on lap 301. He quickly reported that the wedge adjustment the team made may not have been the way to go and dropped back to seventh with a loose racecar.
When the checkered flag dropped, Biffle was still in the seventh position right behind points leader Jimmie Johnson. The seventh place finish leaves Biffle in the third position in the points, 17 points behind race-winner Jeff Burton.
“We put four tires on during that last stop,” said Biffle. “It was my call. I felt four tires would be the right call. We had been really fast all night, but I was just too loose. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t turn the steering wheel and give it gas and, man, it just murdered me. Normally it’s gonna handle, but what happened was it turned so good that I couldn’t get the power down and the back end wouldn’t stay under it. We freed it up half-a-round and you wouldn’t think that was too much, but, obviously, it was. I feel really good though. I would have felt better if we would have won tonight and been about 30 points back or 40, but we’re not gonna give up.”
Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team are now third in the point standings. They are only 86 points out of the lead which is currently held by Johnson and 17 points behind Burton in second. The team will return to the track on Sunday, October 19th at Martinsville 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.