DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 23, 2014) – Greg Biffle kicked off the 2014 season with a third-place in qualifying, narrowly missing a front row starting position. A 13th-place finish in the Duel qualifying race resulted in a 25th-place starting position for the Daytona 500. In the Daytona 500 Biffle brushed the wall early on in his No. 16 3M Ford, but rebounded to lead eight laps on his way to an eighth-place finish
“It was a good night,” said Biffle. “They (Chevrolet) just have a tick more speed, it seems like. I could kind of hold them off, but it depends on who is pushing you, I guess. You get some fast cars lined up and you’re fast, but that last restart killed me. That was it. We had a really strong car, but the No. 88 was real fast. We just couldn’t hold him off.”
Just 15 laps into the 200-lap Daytona 500, Biffle brushed the outside wall due to a loose handling Ford. Not wanting to take any unnecessary chances, crew chief Matt Puccia called Biffle down pit road for four tires and to check the fenders. Being cautious put the team a lap down, but their cautiousness paid off as one of the tires removed was flat. Biffle was awarded the “lucky dog” a few laps later, putting him back on the lead lap.
Just when it seemed things were picking up for the No. 16 team, the rains came. NASCAR was forced to red flag the field for over six hours due to the weather, moving the afternoon racing into a Sunday evening shootout under the lights.
After the delay Biffle’s No. 16 3M Ford seemed to come alive and even led the field three different times for a total of eight laps. In restrictor plate racing one minute you can be leading and the next be scored in the back of the field, depending which lane has the momentum.
The closing laps of the Daytona 500 were caution-filled and the final restart didn’t work out in Biffle’s favor. As the laps dwindled down Biffle finally found himself in the row with momentum, a feat which seemed to elude him earlier in the race, and was able to cross the finish line eighth.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 despite a large piece of debris adhering to his grille coming to the final sprint to the finish. Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five. Next up the Sprint Cup Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Profit on CNBC 500, coverage begins at 3:00 PM ET on FOX.
The Profit on CNBC 500
1.0-mile Phoenix International Raceway
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Points in Race: 37
2014 Season Total: 37, 11 points behind the leader
2014 SEASON SUMMARY
Starts Wins Top Fives Top 10s Poles
1 0 0 1 0