Richmond, Va. (September 7, 2008) – By simply taking the green flag in Sunday afternoon’s race at Richmond International Raceway, Greg Biffle solidified his spot in the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup. With that out of the way, his only goal in the race was to win. He quickly reported that the 3M Ford Fusion was too loose and it would unfortunately remain that way for the majority of the race. On lap 114, Biffle got so loose that he made heavy contact with the wall. The 3M crew spent the rest of the race repairing and adjusting the car. In the end, Biffle drove his way to a 14th place finish and a ninth place seed in the Chase.
After turning in the sixth fastest time in the one and only practice session of the weekend, Biffle seemed to like his chances for the upcoming race. With a hurricane in the forecast, however, he would have to wait until Sunday afternoon to see what the 3M Ford Fusion could do. The hurricane passed and the green flag dropped on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Richmond, Virginia.
Biffle started from the sixth position as the field was set by points and radioed the team early to let them know that the car was a little too loose. A competition caution on lap 35 allowed Biffle to pit for four fresh tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and a track bar adjustment. He entered the pits in the 14th position and the crew picked up three spots in the pits sending Biffle out 11th for the restart on lap 42.
Biffle’s teammate Matt Kenseth got by on lap 82 leaving Biffle in the 12th position when the second caution of the day came out on lap 96. This time he brought the 3M Ford to pit road for four tires, fuel and another round of wedge and air pressure adjustments. The crew sent him out 11th for the restart on lap 100. The car’s loose condition had not improved and Biffle lost control of the car momentarily on lap 114.
There was minor damage to the right side of the 3M Ford after Biffle’s contact with the wall but it was quickly determined that the tow had been affected. The crew spent the next 100 laps and nine pit stops trying to reset the tow. Biffle was running in the 30th position on lap 212 when he pitted under caution for minor wedge and track bar adjustments to try to fine tune the handling of the car.
Biffle remained right around the 30th position until a caution on lap 226 gave him an opportunity to stay out while others pitted. The strategic move put the 3M Ford in the 16th position for the restart on lap 232. Shortly after green-flag racing resumed, however, Biffle began losing positions to drivers with fresher tires. He reported that the car was still extremely loose and pitted after a caution on lap 296 for four tires, fuel, and further track bar and wedge adjustments. Biffle restarted 29th on lap 304.
By lap 350, Biffle had made his way into the top 20 for the first time since his contact with the wall. He decided to take on only right-side tires during a caution on lap 361 and restarted sixth on lap 364. This strategy proved counter-productive and Biffle quickly lost positions to drivers with four fresh tires. Fortunately another caution soon followed, allowing Biffle to get four tires and a wedge adjustment to try to tighten the car up a little.
Biffle restarted 25th on lap 373 and was able to pick up 11 positions in the final 27 laps for a 14th place finish.
“I’m excited to be back in the chase after missing it for two years,” said Biffle. “We certainly worked really hard. We haven’t got any wins this year, so that’s been a little bit of a struggle for us, but we’ve had really, really, good solid runs and that’s what we’re gonna need in the chase to get up there in points. It was a little bit of a struggle today, but I’m looking forward to Loudon and getting onto some better race tracks and some mile-and-a-halfs that we run really good at, but just excited to get the 3M Ford back in the chase.”
The No. 16 team will start the Chase in the ninth position but they will only be 80 points behind leader Kyle Busch. The team will return to the track on Sunday, September 14th at New Hampshire Motor 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.