Hampton, Ga. (September 2, 2012) – The NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit made its annual trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Labor Day weekend. Biffle laid down some fast laps in practice, but the team knew they had some work to do on race setup. Biffle qualified second, but struggled with grip throughout the race. A late-race caution set the field up for a green-white-checker finish and Biffle wound up 15th, while Denny Hamlin won the AdvoCare 500. The 15th-place finish was enough to keep Biffle on top of the point standings heading into Richmond, the final race before the Chase.
From the drop of the green flag Biffle reported back to his team that he needed to turn better. He slipped back on the track and was running eighth when the first caution of the day came out on lap 39. Crew chief Matt Puccia called for four tires, fuel and a left-rear wedge adjustment. The 3M Pit Bulls gained Biffle two spots in the pits and he restarted sixth on lap 44.
Handling continued to be an issue for Biffle. Atlanta is an older track surface and is known for tire wear, so every opportunity the team had they pitted for four tires. Wedge, track bar and air pressure adjustments were all thrown at the No. 16 3M / Manheim Ford, but to no avail. Just when it seemed Biffle was making ground, the handling went away again.
While searching for grip over the long green-flag runs, Biffle was put a lap down to the field, along with many other competitors. The caution to receive the “lucky dog” and get back on the lead lap never came at the right time for Biffle. A late-race caution set the field up for a green-white-checkered finish. Biffle took the wave-around, to get back on the lead lap and was able to earn a 15th-place finish.
“We were just way off,” said Biffle. “I don’t know why, really. We’ve struggled the last few times here, but the car just won’t turn and then it’s loose when you want to give it gas. This is a different kind of mile-and-a-half compared to what we normally race on. It’s way different, so we’ll just have to try and figure out what we need to do to get better the next time we come here.”
Next up, the Sprint Cup Series will head to Richmond International Raceway for the Federated Auto Parts 400. Coverage for the Federated Auto Parts 400 begins at 6:30pm ET on Saturday, September 8th on ABC.