Concord, N.C. (May 25, 2008) – During the longest race of the season, most teams expect that something will go wrong over the course of the 600 miles that make up the Coca-Cola 600. The Dish Network team overcame several obstacles including an overheating and ill-handling racecar on their way to a second place finish. Biffle started fourth but was as far back as 32nd and one lap down at one point in the race before getting his lap back and battling to a top-five finish. He remains 11th in the point standings but is less than 100 points out of the fifth position.
After running second in the first practice to teammate David Ragan, Biffle felt confident when qualifying began on Thursday night. He turned in a speed of 184.97 mph which was good enough for a fourth-place starting position on Sunday afternoon. There was no track activity on Friday so the team returned to the track for two practice sessions on Saturday. Biffle was fastest in the first session of the day and fifth fastest in Happy Hour. Needless to say, he and the team were cautiously optimistic heading into Sunday’s 400-lap main event.
Biffle started on the outside of row two beside Brian Vickers and behind Ragan. Biffle was running second by lap two but reported that the Dish Network Ford was a little tight. On lap 11 he began to lose positions and was running eighth when a round of green flag stops began on lap 50. He brought the No. 16 Fusion in for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment on lap 52 and was back in the eighth position when the green-flag pit cycle was complete on lap 57.
Over the course of the next 75 laps and another green-flag pit cycle, Biffle remained in the top 10. On lap 133, however, he reported that he thought he had a tire going down. He pitted under green for four new tires and returned to the track in the 32nd position, one lap down. The tire was not flat and the team determined that a wheel weight may have fallen off. Biffle drove up to 27th before Kurt Busch made contact with the wall on lap 161, bringing out the caution.
Biffle pitted with the other lapped cars on lap 164 and opted for two tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and a track bar adjustment. By taking two tires, Biffle was the second driver a lap down for the restart on lap 166. He quickly got by Mark Martin, who was the first driver one lap down, and was running in front of leader Brian Vickers when a caution came out on lap 167. Back on the lead lap, Biffle pitted for fuel and a spacer on the shock as the team thought a problem with the shock may be leading to some of the handling difficulty.
The field restarted on lap 174 and Biffle was in the 17th position. He had made his way to the 13th position before Vickers lost a wheel and brought the next caution on lap 185. The team opted for fuel only and sent Biffle out in the eighth position for the restart on lap 192. Biffle remained in the top 10 until lap 215 when he began reporting that the car was overheating. A well-timed caution on lap 223 allowed Biffle to bring the Dish Network Ford to the pits for the team to add water to the car to try to cool the overheating problem.
On lap 228, Biffle took the restart from the 19th position and the overheating problem was no longer a concern. He had made his way to the 10th position by lap 296 after stopping for fuel only during a caution on lap 244 but reported that the car was just a little too tight. J.J. Yeley and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got together just before lap 300 and brought out the eighth caution of the day. This allowed Biffle to pit for four fresh tires, an air pressure adjustment and a spring rubber adjustment.
Biffle was eighth in line when green flag racing resumed on lap 305. The spring rubber adjustment made the car just a little too loose but Biffle remained in the top 10 until a caution on lap 329 allowed him to pit for two tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Despite having the end of the race in sight, Biffle would have to pit one more time for fuel before the checkered flag. He had driven the Dish Network Ford to the sixth position before a final round of green flag stops began on lap 384.
Crew chief Greg Erwin instructed Biffle to pit on lap 389 for three seconds worth of fuel and that is exactly what Biffle did. He was sixth when the green flag stops were complete on lap 395 and got by Jeff Gordon for fifth one lap later. He also passed Tony Stewart who had to pit for a tire going down and Carl Edwards who was running short on fuel on the last lap. Finally, coming off of turn four on the final lap, Biffle made the pass on Kyle Busch for a second place finish to winner Kasey Kahne.
“We had run well all night,” said Biffle. “We probably had a fast enough car to run up there with the 9 (Kasey Kahne). We ran good lap times, but we just never could get track position. Every time we’d lose track position. I was too loose in traffic, too tight in traffic. Once it got strung out about 20 laps in, I would come on. We needed that long green run at the end because the Dish Network Fusion was fast, I was just mowing guys down. I passed the 18 on the last lap down there in three and four, but the 9 had a lot of track position on us. I can’t say enough about the team tonight for their hard work through the whole race. It was a good night for us.”
Greg Biffle and the team remain 11th in the point standings. They are 377 points out of the lead currently held by Kyle Busch and 29 points ahead of Kasey Kahne in the 12th position. Biffle is only 95 points behind Clint Bowyer in the fifth position. The team will return to the track on Sunday, June 1st at Dover International 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.