Phoenix, Ariz. (November 9, 2008) – Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team unloaded the 3M/American Red Cross Ford Fusion in Phoenix on Friday morning knowing that they were a long shot for the championship. That, however, did not deter them from giving a 100% effort throughout the weekend. Biffle grazed the wall twice during qualifying and still earned a 31st-place starting position. A transmission change on Saturday, however, meant that he would have to start in the rear of the field. Biffle was able to drive the No. 16 Ford to an 11th-place finish with the help of his team in the pits. As Jimmie Johnson was able to capture the win, Biffle and the team are now 203 points out of the lead and remain third in the point standings.
After Friday’s first practice session, the team knew it would not be an easy weekend but they prepared the car for qualifying and Biffle took the track for time trials that afternoon. As the sun was low in the sky, Biffle had extra tape on the windshield to block the glare. The tape, however, also impaired his vision a little and caused him to misjudge how close he was to the wall. Despite contact with the wall, Biffle turned in a 31st – place qualifying effort. After the two practices on Saturday it was determined that the transmission would need to be replaced and Biffle would start from the rear of the field.
During the warm-up laps, Biffle dropped to the 43rd position for the start of the race. He picked up five positions before the first caution came out on lap 19. Crew chief Greg Erwin directed Biffle to pit road for right-side tires and a wedge adjustment as Biffle had reported that the car was really loose. When green-flag racing resumed, Biffle was in the 24th position. The cars behind him who had taken on four tires seemed to have the advantage and Biffle lost three spots before the next caution on lap 30.
Biffle pitted for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment on lap 31 and restarted 33rd on lap 36. Rain began to fall around lap 40 and the red flag was put out on lap 43. A few teams opted to pit under yellow before the restart on lap 47 giving Biffle the 30th position. A long green-flag run ensued and Biffle picked up 16 positions before a round of green-flag pit stops began on lap 99. After leading seven laps, he brought the 3M/American Red Cross Ford to pit road on lap 109 for four tires and fuel as well as wedge, track bar and air pressure adjustments.
On lap 134, Biffle was back in the 14th position and picked up one more spot before a caution for debris came out on lap 141. This time it would be four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment as the car was still just a little loose. Biffle restarted 12th on lap 148 and began a steady climb into the top 10. He had made his way to the ninth position when it appeared that the battery was not charging on lap 190. Biffle switched to the second battery and that seemed to remedy the problem.
Another caution for debris came out on lap 210 and Biffle took the opportunity to pit for four tires, fuel and another track bar adjustment as he reported that the car had become just a tiny bit tight. He restarted ninth on lap 218 but the 3M/American Red Cross Ford remained a little too tight during the next run and Biffle fell back to 10th before another caution came. On lap 261, more debris brought another caution and Biffle pitted for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and a track bar adjustment to try to correct the car’s handling.
Biffle made his way back into the top 10 and was running eighth when Scott Speed and David Gilliland wrecked and brought out the second red flag of the day on lap 273. After the track was cleared, the field restarted on lap 278 and Biffle was eighth on the board. A few teams opted to pit before the restart and those drivers quickly got by him with their fresher tires. By the time the next yellow flag flew on lap 284, Biffle had dropped back to the 12th position.
Erwin brought Biffle to pit road this time for four fresh tires, a wedge adjustment and an air pressure adjustment. Biffle restarted 14th on lap 287 and was able to pick up three positions in the closing laps for an 11th – place finish.
“After starting in the back like we did, I’d have to say that it wasn’t a bad day but it could have been better,” said Biffle. “We were loose at the beginning of the race and ended up tight at the end. These guys had great stops all day and the adjusted on the car through the whole race. We lost a little track position on two tires there near the end of the race but were able to get most of it back. We’ll just learn from everything that’s happened this year, go out and try to win at Homestead and get ready for 2009.”
Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M team remain third in the point standings. They are 203 points out of the lead which is currently held by Johnson and 62 points behind Carl Edwards in second. The team will return to the track on Sunday, November 16th at Homestead – Miami 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. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com. For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Robin Johnson at 704.720.4645.