Martinsville, Va. (October 19, 2008) – It is no secret that Martinsville was a track during the Chase that Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team were just hoping to leave with a top-10 finish and move on to the tracks where they had a better record. After the field started by points due to rain on Friday, Biffle fell back but remained in the top ten. A decision to stay out during a caution on lap 161 led to an unplanned green-flag pit stop which put the team a lap down. Biffle finally got back on the lead lap on lap 485 and was able to take a 12th-place finish. The 12th-place finish puts the team second in the standings.
Rain caused the cancellation of practice and qualifying on Friday but the Sprint Cup Series did get in two practice sessions on Saturday. Biffle and the team worked hard to get the Dish Turbo HD Fusion where it needed to be for the race on Sunday. They seemed confident they had made progress in practice and were ready to capitalize on their third-place starting position.
Shortly after the drop of the green flag, Biffle dropped back with a loose racecar. He was running seventh when the first caution of the day came out on lap 28. Most of the field stayed out and Biffle followed suit. He did, however, take the opportunity to pit during the next caution on lap 60. It would be right-side tires and fuel for the Dish Turbo HD Ford Fusion as the crew sent him out 15th for the restart on lap 67. A few teams did not pit as they had come to pit road during the previous caution.
Biffle remained inside the top 20 until a caution on lap 114 while he was running 17th allowed him to pit for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. He restarted 24th as several teams opted for two tires or fuel only. Just as Biffle was climbing back toward the top 20, a caution came out on lap 161. After some discussion with crew chief Greg Erwin, the two decided to stay out to gain track position. Biffle restarted in the lead on lap 169 and maintained it until Jimmie Johnson got by just a few laps later.
A long green-flag run followed and Biffle was forced to pit under green for fuel, right-side tires and a wedge adjustment on lap 247. He returned to the track in the 33rd position one lap down. A caution on lap 256 gave Biffle the opportunity to come back in for fresh left-side tires. He restarted in the 28th position on lap 267. Another long green-flag run followed and Biffle picked up six positions before the next caution on lap 380. As the green-flag run allowed the leader to lap more cars, Biffle was not in the Lucky Dog position, however, and remained one lap down.
Biffle pitted for four tires and fuel as the pit crew sent the Dish Turbo HD Fusion out 19th for the restart on lap 388. With just over 100 laps remaining, Biffle drove as hard as he could and was able to make his way to the Lucky Dog position after a caution on lap 467. He maintained the position and capitalized on it almost 20 laps later when a caution came out on lap 485.
As there were only 12 cars on the lead lap prior to the caution, Biffle pitted for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and an air pressure adjustment before returning to the track in the 13th position for the restart on lap 492. He had to restart at the tail end of the longest line, however, making it difficult to get anywhere near the top 12. On lap 497, Biffle’s teammate David Ragan spun bringing out the final caution of the day.
Biffle restarted 12th for the green/white/checker finish with Ragan just behind him. He was able to hold off Ragan in the closing laps for the 12th – place finish.
“It was a frustrating day to say the least, but we stayed out and got trapped,” said Biffle. “We were going to run out of gas, so that was unfortunate for us, but the team did a great job with this Turbo HD Ford Fusion car. I just wish we could have stayed on the lead lap or got our lucky dog earlier in the day and been able to race those guys.”
Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team are now second in the point standings. They are only 149 points out of the lead which is currently held by Johnson and three points ahead of Burton in third. The team will return to the track on Sunday, October 26th at Atlanta 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.