Avondale, Ariz. (April 12, 2008) – With 3M back on the No. 16 Ford Fusion, Greg Biffle drove to his fifth top-10 finish of the season.
Biffle qualified 18th on Thursday but felt confident after turning in solid laps throughout Friday’s practice sessions. The team combated minor handling issues throughout the race with adjustments in the pits but Biffle was rarely seen outside of the top 10 during the second half of the race. He was running ninth with eight laps remaining when the team made a decision to pit for fuel. It was the safe decision and Biffle ended up with a ninth place finish. With the points so close from sixth through 10th, Biffle dropped to 10th but is only 39 points out of sixth.
After the day the No. 16 team had in Texas last Sunday, they were ready for a solid finish with the 3M Ford this Saturday in Phoenix. Biffle took the green flag from the outside of row nine and immediately began to pick up positions. He reported that the car was a little tight in traffic but drove all the way up to 12th before his first pit stop. Biffle brought the 3M Ford to pit road on lap 42 after teammate Matt Kenseth made contact with the wall.
The 3M crew gave Biffle four fresh tires, a wedge adjustment and a track bar adjustment. Biffle returned to the track in the 12th position for the restart on lap 46 and drove to the fourth position before a round of green flag stops began on lap 111. He pitted on lap 112 for four tires and fuel. No adjustments were made as he seemed happy with the handling of the car.
Unfortunately, a caution came out on lap 113 putting Biffle 20th and at the tail end of the lead lap in front of the leaders for the restart on lap 121. He was the first of the cars at the tail end of the lead lap and took off after the drop of the green flag putting almost a straightaway between himself and the leader before a caution finally came out on lap 133. This caution put Biffle back in line with the lead lap cars in the 16th position as several cars were involved in the caution-causing incident.
As he was still fairly happy with the handling of the 3M Ford, he opted not to pit in order to gain track position and restarted fourth on lap 140. A couple of drivers with fresher tires got by but Biffle chose to again stay out during the next caution and restarted second on lap 153. He was running third and getting close to the end of a fuel run when the caution flag flew on lap 162.
This time Biffle pitted for four tires, fuel and repair to some minor left front fender damage. He restarted eighth on lap 180 but quickly reported that the car had no rear grip. He pitted twice during the 50 laps for wedge, air pressure and track bar adjustments while maintaining a top-10 position. He was running ninth on lap 298 when some drivers began to pit for fuel. Although Biffle had been trying to conserve fuel, the team decided it would be safest to pit for fuel in the closing laps.
Biffle pitted on lap 304 for fuel and right-side tires. He returned to the track in the 10th position and was able to get by Kyle Busch in the closing laps for a ninth place finish.
“I just needed track position,” said Biffle. “Once I got out front I was really good. But, I struggled for track position. The 3M Ford Fusion was a lot better car than where we finished, but reality is we got caught under the green, we were way too loose then there was a little miscue on whether to tighten it up. I was so loose that whole run and I couldn’t go anywhere, so I didn’t get any track position back. So, we kind of missed opportunity there a little bit. But, overall, you’ve got to be happy with a top-10.”
Greg Biffle and the 3M/Dish Network team moved to 10th in the point standings following their ninth place finish. They are 176 points out of the lead currently held by Jeff Burton and 124 points ahead of Ryan Newman in the 12th position. The team will return to the track on Sunday, April 27th at Talladega Superspeedway.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 13 motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 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; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, John Wes Townley and Bobby East; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.