Martinsville, Va. (March 30, 2008) – When Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team look at the schedule, they know the two trips to Martinsville will be two of the most challenging of the season. Despite having to start in the back because of an engine change, they worked hard all weekend and throughout the race on the handling of the Jackson Hewitt Ford Fusion. Biffle and the team were able to run as high as eighth at one point and held on to a top-20 finish in the end. The 20th place finish dropped Biffle and the team to third in the point standings where they are only 60 points out of the lead.
Biffle qualified 19th on Friday afternoon but an engine change earlier that day dictated that he would start in the rear of the field regardless of his qualifying effort. The 19th place qualifying effort did, however, give the team an advantage over 24 other teams when picking pits and that is always valuable. Nevertheless, Biffle took the green flag from the rear of the field on Sunday afternoon and slowly began to pick up positions.
When the first caution of the day came out on lap 20, Biffle was 41st and reported that the car was way too loose. The team opted for two fresh tires, an air pressure adjustment and a spring rubber adjustment to try to help tighten the handling of the Jackson Hewitt Ford up a bit. Biffle restarted 33rd on lap 24 but it was soon clear that the handling had not improved significantly.
Biffle reported that the car had no grip and pitted on lap 45 during a caution for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and a track bar adjustment. This second round of adjustments seemed to help and Biffle began to move toward the top 25. By the time the fifth caution of the day came out on lap 104, Biffle was 21st and seemed fairly happy with the car’s handling. He pitted for two tires only and restarted ninth on lap 110.
Two tires proved not the way to go at that point in the race and by the time the next caution came out on lap 181, the No. 16 Jackson Hewitt Ford Fusion was 30th on the board and one lap down. Biffle pitted for four tires and an air pressure adjustment and restarted 28th on lap 187. Over the course of the next 150 laps, Biffle would pit three more times under caution for three more wedge adjustments to try to help the car’s handling. He picked up the lucky dog position during a caution on lap 296 and broke into the top-20 shortly thereafter.
Biffle remained in the top 20 for most of the remainder of the race and pitted twice more for fuel and tires only as the handling of the Jackson Hewitt Ford seemed manageable. He lost a lap to leader Denny Hamlin on lap 472 but was running 22nd with less than 15 laps remaining. Biffle was able to pick up two positions in the closing laps for a 20th place finish.
“These guys worked on the Jackson Hewitt Ford all day and we just didn’t have what we needed to run up front,” said Biffle. “We had to start in the back and that put us at a deficit from the beginning. I wish we could have finished on the lead lap but we’ll take this 20th place finish and go on to Texas and Phoenix where we’re historically pretty strong and see what we can do there.”
Greg Biffle and the 3M/Jackson Hewitt team moved to third in the point standings. They are only 60 points out of the lead currently held by Jeff Burton and 115 points ahead of Clint Bowyer in the 12th position. The team will return to the track on Sunday, April 6th at Texas Motor Speedway.
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.