RICHMOND, Va. -- Greg Biffle is happy where he's at. And why not? That tiny mole hill that kept him out of the Chase for the past two seasons has signs of dwindling away.
Ask him about when it was that his team finally got over the hump and he won't point to his victory this past fall at Kansas. He talks about the 2007 races at Dover and Phoenix when he finished second.
A runner-up was more meaningful than a victory? Well, yes, because they were in the new car as opposed to his Kansas victory in the old body style.
"We struggled splitting our time last year between the old car and the new car," Biffle said. "We were off a little bit on both of them. We honed in on it at the end of the season for sure with two second-place finishes at Dover and Phoenix. That's really carried over to this season."
Biffle had 11 top-10 finishes last season and wound up 14th in the standings, the second consecutive season he missed out on qualifying for the Chase. He missed the 2004 version of the Chase, too, making his second-place points finish in 2005 glow with questions of whether Biffle was a one-hit wonder.
This season, however, he's managed to help steer his No. 16 team back in the right direction. And help is the key word, he said.
"A lot of things have changed at Roush Fenway," Biffle said. "One is having Robbie Reiser as competition director, that has really helped all the teams."
Reiser transferred from a crew chief's role with Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth into a guiding hand for the entire organization. The result: Carl Edwards has won three races, one with Reiser on top of the pit box while regular crew chief Bob Osborne served a six-race suspension; and David Ragan is 16th in the standings, 10 spots higher than at this point last year. While Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray have struggled, Biffle is setting the pace for Roush Fenway in the standings at eighth place.
The reason, he said, is primarily because of consistency.
Aside from a flat-out disaster at Texas, when his team fought ignition box and carburetor issues all day, he's been pristine.
"We feel like we're better than what we're sitting right now because we had a 39th at Texas," Biffle said. "What we have to continue to do to make the Chase is not have races like Texas. The rest of our season has really been flawless, if you will."
He was third at Las Vegas, then followed that up with a pair of fourth-place finishes at Atlanta and Bristol. Martinsville presented a hiccup with a self-destructing bump-stop keeping him a lap down and resulting in a 20th-place finish.
A ninth-place finish at Phoenix, however, has him positive going into Saturday night's Crown Royal 400 at Richmond's short track.
"We're kind of eager to get that lost ground back, and we think we can do it here," Biffle said just before Friday's only practice session. "I was just in the trailer -- we're going to try a shortened practice session this weekend so we really need to get to the point quickly.
"We've had the finishes it takes to make the Chase. If we keep going like we're going, then we'll make it. Everybody's worked hard and nobody's given up. I think we're right where we need to be right now."
The ironic thing is that's exactly what everyone seems to be asking Biffle. His return to a top-10 points position coincides with the end of his contract with Roush Fenway Racing as it expires at the end of this season.
Biffle said last week he's confident he will re-sign and stay in his position at Roush, but that he's not in a hurry to get a new contract signed (read more). He clarified that statement, noting he's not "panicked" about any deadline.
"My 100 percent intent is to work out an extension with Roush," Biffle said. "I want to stay at Roush Fenway until I retire. They know that.
"You go anywhere and drive, there's a chance of unknown in that -- what if the wheels fall off? Certainly that's a consideration. What if you go to a car that doesn't have any points? That's a big deal. That's a really big deal. I'm certainly happy where I'm at."