Long Pond, Penn. (August 3, 2008) – With a lot on the line, Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team went to Pocono Raceway this weekend. They knew track position was crucial but a decision not to pit during a rain delay put them at a disadvantage in the closing laps of the race. They would have to pit twice before the checkered flag flew while those who pitted during the rain delay only had to pit once more. Biffle was 32nd on the track after his final stop with 22 laps remaining and was able to pick up 19 positions in the final laps for a 13th place finish in the Dish Network Ford. The 13th place finish moves Biffle back one position to eighth in the point standings.
Biffle was 17th fastest in the practice session on Friday before qualifying. He and the team seemed confident, however, as the lap tracker showed them as having some of the most consistent top-five lap times on the track. Biffle turned in the ninth fastest lap during time trials on Friday afternoon for a starting position on the inside of row five. Rain would cause the cancellation of both practice sessions on Saturday so the teams had to prepare for the race with what they learned on Friday.
Sunday brought fairly clear skies for the start of the 200-lap race as the field drove off into turn one at the drop of the green flag. Biffle dropped back initially with a tight racecar but was able to pit during the competition caution on lap 20 for right-side tires and an air pressure adjustment. He returned to the track in the fourth position for the restart on lap 24.
The Dish Network Ford had become a little loose in turn one but Biffle remained in the top ten until a round of green flag stops began on lap 51. He brought the car in for four tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment and an air pressure adjustment on lap 54. When the round of green flag stops was complete on lap 57 Biffle was in the 12th position. He reported that the car was better and picked up two positions before a caution for debris came out on lap 65.
This time Biffle brought the Dish Network Ford in for right-side tires and fuel only as he seemed happy with the car’s handling. He restarted fifth on lap 70 which is where he was running when another caution for debris came out on lap 88. Biffle took the opportunity to pit for four fresh tires, a track bar adjustment and an air pressure adjustment. He restarted 11th on lap 92 but made his way into the top-10 on lap 101.
Following another round of green flag stops, Biffle found himself back in the 10th position on lap 123. A caution for rain came out on lap 126 and several teams took the opportunity to pit. Crew chief Greg Erwin and Biffle discussed their options and decided to stay out, putting them on a different fuel cycle than most of the other frontrunners. A red flag for rain came out after the pit stops and Biffle was in the fourth position.
When green flag racing finally resumed on lap 135 Biffle held a top-five position until he had to pit on lap 157 for fuel, four tires, a wedge adjustment and an air pressure adjustment. Biffle was back in the third position on lap 171 after the rest of the cars had pitted. He would, however, have to make one more stop for fuel before the end of the race. There would be no more caution flags, so Biffle pitted under green on lap 178 for four tires and fuel.
Biffle and the Dish Network Ford returned to the track in the 32nd position after the pit stop and he was able to gain 19 positions before the end of the race for a 13th place finish.
“We’ll we had a car that was way better than a 13th place finish today,” said Biffle. “The Dish Network Ford was fast but the pit strategy we had just didn’t work out for us today. I hope we can learn from it and move on.”
Greg Biffle and the 3M/Dish Network team are currently eighth in the point standings. They are 470 points out of the lead currently held by Kyle Busch and 88 points ahead of Matt Kenseth in the 13th position. They are, however, only 89 points out of the sixth position. The team will return to the track on Sunday, August 10th at Watkins Glen International.
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.