Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 17, 2008) – Greg Biffle’s previous best finish in the Daytona 500 was 12th in 2004 when he started from the pole. This Sunday he took the green from the 18th position, went on to lead seven laps and brought the 3M Ford Fusion home with a 10th place finish. Because he led laps for bonus points, he will start the season tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings but only three points out of the ninth position and 51 points behind the leader.
After an eighth place finish in the second of the Gatorade 150’s, Biffle started on the outside of row nine for Sunday’s 200-lap main event. After only five laps, Biffle began reporting that the 3M Ford was running a little hot. The water temperature was several degrees above the acceptable range so he began to fall back as he tried to keep the nose in clean air to keep the car cooled down. Around lap 15, however, as he was bump-drafting Clint Bowyer the car began to cool down and the team determined there simply must have been a piece of paper on the grill.
Biffle was happy with the handling of the 3M Ford and began to quickly make up ground. He was running 13th on lap 35 when he made his first of many green flag pit stops. He brought the car in for four tires and fuel. No adjustments were made and he was 15th on the board as the round of green flag stops was completed on lap 40.
On lap 58, Biffle made his way into the top-10 for the first time of the day and remained there until a second round of green flag stops began on lap 71. He brought the 3M Ford to the pits on lap 74 for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and an air pressure adjustment as the car had begun to tighten up a bit. The crew knocked out the stop in just under 13 seconds putting Biffle in the fifth position at the end of the green flag pit cycle on lap 77.
Biffle held the position until the first caution flag of the day flew on lap 80 for debris. After discussion with crew chief Greg Erwin, the team opted for right side tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and an air pressure adjustment as the car was still just a little tight. Biffle entered the pits in the fifth position and the crew sent him right back out in the fifth position for the restart on lap 84.
Shortly after the restart, Biffle reported that the car was better and hooked up with his teammates Matt Kenseth and David Ragan in the outside draft. They were able to hang around the top 10 but on lap 104 Biffle radioed the crew to let them know he was “going to the front” and that is exactly what he did. On the way, however, he pushed his teammate in the No. 17 Ford to the lead first. Kenseth would lead lap 108 and Biffle led lap 109 before Kyle Busch got by on lap 110.
On lap 118, a third round of green flag stops began as Biffle was running in the third position. He pitted on lap 122 for four fresh tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment and an air pressure adjustment as he had reported that the car was beginning to tighten up again. Biffle was running sixth in the 3M Ford at the end of the cycle on lap 123. He quickly found himself back in the top five, however, with the help of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
The second caution of the day for debris came out on lap 150 as Biffle was third in the lead draft. He pitted for four tires, fuel and a minor air pressure adjustment. The crew performed another lightening fast stop and sent Biffle out in the lead for the restart on lap 155. Biffle held the lead this time for three laps before the Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart made the pass on lap 158.
On lap 161, Ragan and Kenseth were involved in an incident that took both cars out of contention for the win and left Biffle without much drafting help in the lead pack. Biffle made what would be his final pit stop of the day on lap 162 for right side tires and fuel. He entered the pits in the sixth position and the crew sent him right back out in the same position for the restart on lap 165.
Biffle was running 11th after losing the draft when a caution came out on lap 176. After some discussion, Biffle decided to stay out and picked up six positions in the process. He had made his way up to second when Dave Blaney brought out a caution on lap 189. With no teammates in site, however, he fell back to 11th shortly after the restart. He was able to hang with the lead draft, however, and hold on to a top 10 finish when the checkered flag dropped.
“We had a really good run out there today,” said Biffle. “We were a little bit shy on speed. They got such a run on us and I couldn’t block them. They’re just going to spin us out. We’re thinking about the championship, not a Daytona 500 win. We needed it to go green for us to have a chance. With cautions like that you get ganged up and you don’t have a chance. They had a huge run and went right by us. I had a really, really good Fusion. My 3M guys did a great job to get it to drive the way it did. I’m really excited to get this season off in the top 10 in points.”
Greg Biffle and the 3M team will start the season 10th in the point standings. They are only three points behind Robbie Gordon in ninth and 51 points out of the lead currently held by race-winner Ryan Newman. The team will return to the track on Sunday, February 24th at California 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 and Joey Clanton; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.