LOUDON, N.H. (June 29, 2008) – Greg Biffle fought an ill-handling 3M Ford Fusion on Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but salvaged a 21st-place finish. Had things gone just a little differently, Biffle and the No. 16 team might have had a top-five finish. But when an untimely caution for a wreck involving Roush Fenway Racing teammate Jamie McMurray occurred at lap 270, the team’s hopes for a strong finish were eliminated.
Biffle took the green flag in the 15th position on Sunday afternoon, but struggled in the early running with an extremely tight handling condition. By lap 50, the No. 16 Ford had dropped to the 22nd position. Once the leaders began to come to pit road for green flag pit stops at lap 62, Biffle and crew chief Greg Erwin began to discuss their pit strategy, discussing what adjustments to make to help their No. 16 Ford handle better. When Biffle came to pit road at lap 68, Erwin made the call to take on four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. The 3M crew completed their service in 14.9 seconds, placing Biffle in the 24th position when the cycle of stops completed.
Early in the ensuing run, Biffle reported that he continued to fight a tight condition. When the first caution flag of the race flew at lap 85 for an incident involving the No. 40 car, Erwin called Biffle to pit road again to make additional adjustments. The 3M crew changed right side tires and added a spring rubber in the right rear. Biffle rejoined the field in the 23rd position for the lap 89 restart.
Over the course of the following run, Biffle complained that it felt as if the adjustments made on the previous stop actually worsened the tight condition instead of freeing it up. He added that it felt as if the front tires had zero grip, and asked for more adjustments on their next pit stop. Biffle got the break he needed at lap 139 when the caution flag was displayed once again for debris. Erwin called Biffle to pit road at lap 139 to take on four tires, fuel, track bar and wedge adjustments. When the race restarted at lap 142, Biffle showed in the 25th position.
As the laps clicked off, Biffle continued to complain of the 3M Ford being too tight. He reported to Erwin that it felt like he had a flat right front tire, and that no matter what he did he couldn’t do anything with the car. When the engine in the No. 84 car expired at lap 203 to bring out the caution flag, Erwin called Biffle to pit road for more adjustments, taking on four tires, fuel, removing the spring rubber from the earlier stop as well as additional track bar and wedge adjustments. As the crew completed their service, Erwin noticed damage on the right front of the No. 16, and ordered repairs be done to fix the damage. The crew did what they could on the stop, but had to come to pit road the next time by to complete the repairs.
Once the race restarted, Biffle began to pick up positions. He reported that his 3M Ford was turning much better, and that the repairs made to the front end likely played a part in that. Despite the improvements, Biffle continued running mid-pack, and was overtaken by the leader at lap 270. Just as Biffle went one lap down, the caution flag was displayed for an incident involving the Nos. 6, 26 and 88 cars on the frontstretch. Biffle was awarded the Lucky Dog free pass, allowing him back on the lead lap. With nothing to lose, Biffle came to pit road for tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment at lap 274.
When the race restarted at lap 277, it was clear that the closing laps would be interesting. Just as the field went back to racing, the Nos. 07 and 77 cars got together to bring out the caution flag at lap 280. As the field followed the pace car, rain drops began to fall around the speedway. They picked up quickly, forcing the cars to pit road under a red flag condition. With little hope for the storms to pass, NASCAR elected to end the race short of the scheduled distance, placing Biffle 21st in the finishing order.
“We struggled all day with a tight racecar,” said Biffle. “We made a lot of changes but never really gained anything. That last caution killed us. We were going to try to save fuel and stay out when everyone else had to pit. It seemed like we’d be in good shape, but then we lost a lap and the caution came out. Had the caution come just one lap earlier, we’d have finished in the top-five. But that seems to be our luck this season. The guys on this 3M team worked hard today, we just couldn’t get the car where we needed it to be.”
Following their 21st-place finish at New Hampshire, Biffle and the No. 16 team dropped one spot to the eighth position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, 377 markers behind point leader Kyle Busch. The Sprint Cup Series races next at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 5, 2008.
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.