Darlington, S.C. (May 12, 2012) – Darlington Raceway is known as the track “Too Tough To Tame” or “The Lady in Black” due to being a notoriously difficult race track. Greg Biffle kicked off the race weekend claiming the pole starting position for Saturday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500. Biffle led for a total of 74 laps, but a loose-handling No. 16 3M Safety Ford got the best of the 3M Pit Bulls in the end. New tires just didn’t seem to agree with Biffle’s Ford, and he was left hanging on for a 12th-place finish.
Greg Biffle was one of the fastest cars on the track Friday during practice, and when it came time to qualify, he claimed the pole position in his 3M Safety Ford Fusion. The pole was Biffle’s second of the season and came at track where starting up front is a big advantage.
In the opening laps, Biffle drove away from the field, but quickly realized his great-handling car from Friday had changed and that his team had their work cut out trying to keep up with the track. The 3M Ford was going from loose to tight in the opening laps and the team’s first opportunity to pit came under green on lap 50. Not knowing for sure which way to adjust, Matt Puccia opted for just four fresh tires and fuel.
Over the next run, the balance remained the same and Biffle continued to lead the field. Another round of green-flag stops ensued and Biffle came down pit road on lap 99 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. One lap later, Biffle was calling in over the radio saying he wanted the car back to the way it was, the air pressure adjustment made it so loose he couldn’t drive it.
Knowing they had to take another swing at it, the 3M Pit Bulls gave Biffle the air back in the tires, four fresh tires and a left rear wedge adjustment. But once again, the car was too loose for Biffle to maneuver and he lost spots on the track. The first caution of the day came on lap 172 for debris on the track. Under caution, Biffle received four tires, fuel, a track bar and a wedge adjustment. In the short run, the changes helped, but none of the adjustments seemed to do the trick overall.
Biffle ran inside the top 10 the entire race, but in the closing laps the handling was just too loose. A late-race caution set the field up for a green-white-checkered finish. Biffle restarted 10th, but lost some ground coming around to the checkered flag and ultimately crossed the finish line 12th, while Jimmie Johnson won the race.
Sprint All-Star Race
1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway
Saturday, May 19, 2012