News

June 25, 2012 8:57 AM

Biffle Drives Loose Handling Ford to a 7th-Place Finish at Sonoma

Sonoma, Ca.(June 24, 2012) – The NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit took a trip out West to wine country for some road course racing from Sonoma.  A relatively calm start led to a wild finish on the 1.99-mile course.  Biffle qualified his 3M / US Stationary Ford fourth, but during the race was too loose.  On a late caution, which set the field up for a green-white-checkered finish, crew chief Matt Puccia made the call to pit for tires and fuel.  Biffle restarted 12th, but was able to maneuver around on the fresh tires and crossed the finish line seventh.  The top-10 finish boosted Biffle to second in the point standings, just 11 points behind his teammate Matt Kenseth.

Biffle had a fast Ford in practice and was able to qualify fourth, but immediately began to lose ground during the race with a loose handling race car.  Sonoma is all about pit strategy and the goal for the 3M Pit Bulls was to make it 112 laps on just two pit stops, which doesn’t leave many opportunities for adjustments.  Biffle’s first pit stop of the day came under green flag on lap 33.  He was given four tires, fuel, air pressure and track bar adjustments.  It seemed as if the changes helped, but he still needed more. 

The teams second scheduled pit stop came under green on lap 71.  He was once again given track bar and air pressure adjustments, along with new tires, but he still needed more.  The first caution of the day came out on lap 82, and knowing they were one lap short on fuel Puccia called Biffle down pit road for four tires, fuel and a rear air pressure adjustment. 

Biffle had his hands full, but when he could update the team he reported in that he was still too loose.  The last caution of the day came late in the race, setting the field up for a green-white-checkered finish.  Biffle was 11th, but Puccia knew fresh tires would be the way to try and get a better finish.  Pitting for four fresh tires and fuel dropped Biffle back to 12th on the restart, but he quickly made up ground.  Biffle crossed the finish line seventh in his 3M / US Stationary Ford Fusion.     

“We had a decent day but we were just too loose all day,” said Biffle.  “We didn’t have enough forward drive to turn the way we needed.  We need to work on our road course program a little bit.  Matt (Puccia) made a great call to salvage a good day for us.  It is disappointing we can’t run any better than we are.” 

 

NEXT UP:

Quaker State 400

1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway

Sparta, K.Y.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

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