FONTANA, CA (September 1, 2008) – Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M team headed to Auto Club Speedway hoping for a clean finish to maintain their position in the Chase for the Championship. They left with much more than that; a second-place finish and a two spot advance in the Chase standings. Biffle is now sixth in points, 187 points ahead of 13th.
Biffle started the race 15th but wouldn’t stay there for long. The 3M Ford Fusion was up to 12th on lap two when Biffle told crew chief Greg Erwin that the car was “just a little tight.” He was up to eighth when the caution fell for debris on lap 19. Erwin brought Biffle down pit road for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. The 3M crew knocked off a solid pit stop and sent Biffle back on the track in sixth place. The No. 16 Ford Fusion broke into the top five on lap 26 and would stay there for most of the night.
The first of two overheating scares came on lap 33 when Biffle reported the water temperature had jumped to 250 degrees and there was paper on the grille. For the next 10 laps, the temperature held steady around 250 until the paper blew off. The next caution came out on lap 43 and Biffle told Erwin to “tighten it up just a tiny bit.” The 3M Ford Fusion came in for four tires and another slight air pressure adjustment. The 3M over-the-wall crew stepped up again, picking up one spot and sending Biffle back on the track in second place.
The next report of the car’s handling came on lap 63. Biffle was running second when he said he was “loose in, loose off and tight in the center.” When the caution came out on lap 68, Erwin called for four tires and wedge and air pressure adjustments. Biffle restarted second on lap 73 and led his first lap of the night on 74, picking up five bonus points.
A long green flag run set in and on lap 103, Biffle said the 3M Ford Fusion was still “a little bit loose off, little bit tight in the center.” Green flag pit stops began on lap 109 and Erwin called his driver in on lap 112 for four tires, another air pressure adjustment and a track bar adjustment. The field cycled through and Biffle reported on lap 129 that he was “turning a little better.” The 3M Ford Fusion was “just a tick on the free side” when the next caution fell on lap 145. The crew gave Biffle four tires and a wedge adjustment and sent him out in second place.
Still running second, Biffle asked the team to “put that track bar back down” on the next stop. That chance came under caution on lap 162. The 3M team had another strong stop and sent Biffle back out as the leader. The 3M Ford Fusion couldn’t hold off eventual winner Jimmie Johnson for long, and Biffle was back running second on lap 174.
Biffle caught debris on the grille for the second time of the night on lap 193. This time, the water temperature lingered around 260 degrees. With the laps winding down, Biffle kept an eye on the gauges and held on to second place. The car had gotten “pretty dang good” at the end, but Biffle was unable to catch the leader. The 3M Ford Fusion finished second, Biffle’s eighth top-five finish of 2008.
“I can’t say enough about my guys,” said Biffle. “They did a phenomenal job. I feel bad. I let them down. They were the fastest guys on pit road tonight and I’ve never had that before in my life. It feels pretty good to beat everybody off of pit road time and time again. It wasn’t just one time. I wish we could have gotten the 3M Ford Fusion car in victory lane. The Ford engines ran really good tonight. I wasn’t getting beat on the engine, that’s for sure. I was getting beat around the corner just a little bit. But I’m pretty excited. These guys stepped up when it was most important and that’s what it’s going to take to make a run at this thing.”
The No. 16 team sits sixth in points heading into next weekend’s race at Richmond International Raceway, the last event before the Chase for the Championship begins.
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.