Hampton, Ga. (March 9, 2008) – The crew worked hard all weekend and throughout the race on the handling of the Jackson Hewitt Ford. It was their hard work combined with the tenacity of driver Greg Biffle that allowed them to come from a lap down and drive back to a fourth place finish. Biffle started 13th, fell as far back as 21st, went a lap down just past halfway and fought back to a fourth place finish with the help of his crew who picked up five positions on the final pit stop of the day. With the fourth place finish, Biffle and the team moved up to second in the point standings.
Although Biffle qualified 13th and topped the speed charts in happy hour, he began to struggle with a tight racecar shortly after the drop of the green flag. On lap three he reported that the Jackson Hewitt Ford was a little too tight and by the time the first caution flag flew on lap 38, he had told the team that the car had no grip anywhere. He pitted for track bar and air pressure adjustments and restarted 21st on lap 42.
Biffle let the team know that the car seemed better but just a little too loose and he began to pick up positions. A caution on lap 84 allowed Biffle to pit for another round of adjustments to try to correct the handling of the car. It had become apparent that the splitter on the front of the car was hitting the ground so the team opted for wedge and air pressure adjustments. Biffle restarted 15th on lap 89.
On lap 114, Biffle was running 14th and still complaining of a loose racecar when Kasey Kahne brought out the third caution of the day. Biffle stayed out during the first two laps of pit stops in order to lead a lap and pick up five bonus points. He finally brought the Jackson Hewitt Ford to pit road for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and an air pressure adjustment on lap 117. Biffle was 18th on the board when the field restarted on lap 118.
On lap 164, a round of green-flag pit stops began and Biffle pitted on lap 167 for an air pressure adjustment as he had reported that the car could be a little looser. On lap 195, Biffle lost a lap to leader Clint Bowyer while running in the 13th position. Three laps later the caution flag flew but Bobby Labonte claimed the Lucky Dog position as he had been lapped shortly after Biffle.
When the field restarted on lap 203, Biffle was 13th and the first car one lap down. He was able to hold off Jimmie Johnson for the Lucky Dog position until a caution on lap 221 allowed him to get back on the lead lap. The team made several adjustments including spacers in the front shocks to try to keep the splitter from dragging the track when Biffle pitted on lap 223. The adjustments seemed to help tremendously and after two more stops for minor wedge and air pressure changes, Biffle was running in the eighth position.
Shortly after Carl Edwards went to the garage with engine problems, the caution came out for oil on the track. Biffle brought the Jackson Hewitt Ford to the pits in the eighth position for four tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment and an air pressure adjustment. The crew knocked out the stop in 12.4 seconds and picked up five positions for Biffle in the pits. Biffle lined up third for the restart on lap 288.
Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got by shortly after the restart but Biffle had reclaimed both of those positions by lap 303. On lap 310, Biffle passed Tony Stewart for second after a couple of laps of door-to-door racing. Biffle was able to hold off Stewart until lap 324 when Stewart and Earnhardt both raced their way by the Jackson Hewitt Ford. Biffle felt he had worn his tires down too much while racing with Stewart for second but was able to hold off Jeff Gordon in the closing laps for a fourth place finish.
“Tony did a great job of protecting Kyle Busch,” said Biffle. “They’re teammates and Tony ran me pretty hard there, but he’s racing for position as well. Obviously, if I could have got by him right away I had a pretty good chance of catching Kyle, but I just burned my tires up racing Tony – really stabbing the gas coming off the corner sideways. I used it all up right there. I should have known better. I’m more experienced than that, but that’s what I did. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a great run for us, another top five, and that’s really what we needed early in the season, to get that Jackson Hewitt Ford Fusion up in the top five. The pit crew was incredible today. They picked up fives spots in the pits on that last stop. Now we move to Bristol and it would be nice to start getting a points cushion on some of these guys as we get 10 races into this thing.”
Greg Biffle and the 3M/Jackson Hewitt team are now second in the point standings. They are only 73 points out of the lead currently held by Kyle Busch and 122 points ahead of Matt Kenseth in the 12th position. The team will return to the track on Sunday, March 16th at Bristol Motor 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.