Talladega, Ala. (October 5, 2008) – One little bump or one little wiggle can end a team’s day at Talladega and they know that when they show up. Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M team were no different this weekend. They turned in solid practice times and qualified 22nd for the 188-lap race. They had a plan to play it safe and then try to race to the front at the end. With less than 15 laps to go, Biffle had followed the plan and avoided several on-track incidents. He was being pushed to the front by his teammate Carl Edwards when Edwards gave him a bump that sent the 3M Ford Fusion out of Biffle’s control. The incident collected several Chase contenders including Edward and Matt Kenseth. Biffle was credited with a 24th place finish and remains third in the point standings.
The 3M team seemed happy with the No. 16 Ford after the practice sessions on Friday. Biffle turned in the 22nd fastest lap in time trials on Saturday and the field was set. Although a little discouraged by their qualifying effort, Biffle and the team felt that a safe strategy and a fast racecar would put them where they wanted to be at the end of Sunday’s race.
Shortly after the drop of the green flag, Biffle dropped to the back and hung right around the 35th position until the first caution came out for debris on lap 33. He had reported that the 3M Ford was just a little too tight so they opted for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Biffle restarted 25th on lap 38. He made his way up to 16th but then dropped back to get out of the side-by-side racing for a while.
Biffle pitted again for another wedge adjustment during a caution on lap 56 to try to loosen the 3M Ford up just a little bit more. He entered the pits in the 35th position and restarted 32nd on lap 58. He was still running just outside of the top 30 when a multi-car incident on lap 68 brought out the fourth caution flag of the day and eventually the first red flag of the race. Biffle took the opportunity to pit for four tires and fuel. He restarted 23rd on lap 72 and maintained the position until the next yellow flag on lap 80.
During this caution Biffle stayed out to lead lap 82 for bonus points while the leaders pitted. He brought the 3M Ford to pit road on the next lap for four tires and fuel. Biffle restarted 26th on lap 86. After the next caution on lap 98, Biffle began a slow climb through the field, eventually breaking into the top 15 around lap 130. As racing got a little dicey once again, however, Biffle found the 24th position a little more comfortable for accumulating laps.
Biffle made his final pit stop of the day on lap 166 for four tires and fuel while running in the 24th position. He restarted 24th on lap 169 and hooked up with Edwards for a late-race push to the front. They were running 10th and 11th on lap 173 but on lap 174, as Biffle and Edwards were entering turn four, Edwards gave Biffle a bump that caused the 3M Ford to get a little too loose. Biffle lost control of the car and spun in front of the field.
The incident resulted in severe damage to the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion as well as the machines of Edwards, Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya, Reed Sorenson and Travis Kvapil. The damage could not be repaired and Biffle was eventually credited with a 24th place finish.
“You can’t blame Carl,” said Biffle. “He was trying to help us and he pushed us all the way to the front down the backstretch. We talked about it last night. We talked about it the night before. We talked about it today as far as what we were going to do and that was our deal – to get teamed up and shove each other all the way to the front. We had been able to push around the corner all day and I don’t know if I was moving down or he was moving up, but maybe when he came to push a little bit it just instantly slid. I had my foot on the gas and it just spun the tires and went around. It was a disappointing day for the 3M team but we’ll be alright.”
Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team are now third in the point standings. They are only 77 points out of the lead which is currently held by Jimmie Johnson and five points behind Edwards in second. The team will return to the track on Sunday, October 12th at Lowe’s 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.