Richmond, Va. (September 8, 2012) – Richmond International Raceway is the final race before the 10-race Chase to the Championship. The 400-lap event was delayed by rain and then red flagged for rain. Biffle qualified 23rd, but during the race managed his tires and at times was the fastest car on the track. Biffle held out on making his last stop as long as he could hoping for a caution on the track, but one never came. Others who received new tires sooner made up some ground on Biffle, but once he had his fresh Goodyears on he drove his way to a ninth-place finish. Having been the point leader with two regular season wins, seeds Biffle fifth in the Chase lineup for the final 10 races.
Biffle had his work cut out for him starting from the 23rd position, but methodically began to work his way through the field. By lap 40 he cracked the top 15 and told his team he had a ton of rear grip. Due to the race being delayed by rain, NASCAR called for a competition caution on lap 45. Biffle pitted under caution for four tires, fuel and a left-rear wedge adjustment. The 3M Pit Bulls helped him gain three spots on pit road, setting him up 10th for the restart.
Over the next run the tires wore out and Biffle held on the best he could. On lap 138 NASCAR brought out the caution for rain. Knowing the race was well short of halfway crew chief Matt Puccia called Biffle down pit road for four tires, fuel and another wedge adjustment. The rains continued and the race had to be red flagged. The red flag gave Biffle a chance to chat with Puccia and the engineers to discuss the handling on the 3M / Owens & Minor Ford.
Once the field was back to green-flag action, Biffle found himself once again just trying to manage his tires. Sure enough as other drivers’ tires faded, Biffle was able to make the pass and gain the position. Knowing they were short on fuel Puccia kept Biffle on the track as long as he could toward the end hoping for a caution to fall on the track. As other teams pitted for fresh tires, Biffle could not match their lap times on his older tires. He was one of the last cars to pit under green, but had 33 laps to get back towards the front. He charged forward and crossed the finish line ninth, while Clint Bowyer won the Federated Auto Parts 400.
“We actually ran really well here tonight,” said Biffle. “We haven’t been that great in the past. To finish ninth and we really stayed out way too long on that one run trying to catch a caution so we were just experimenting and gambling. We would have been in the top five. We are excited about that. We learned a bit I think and it should help us at Loudon.”
Next up, the Sprint Cup Series will head to Chicagoland Speedway for the Geico 400, the first race of the Chase. Coverage begins at 1:00pm ET on Sunday, September 16th on ESPN.