Denton, Texas. (November 2, 2008) – In order to have a shot at the championship, Greg Biffle and the 3M team had to be in position to capitalize if the 48 team had a bad day. Today in Texas when Jimmie Johnson had a mediocre day, Biffle and the team were able to capitalize with a fifth place finish and a gain of 45 points on Johnson. After practice on Saturday, the team wouldn’t have thought a top-five finish on Sunday was possible but after Biffle and crew chief Greg Erwin discussed possible adjustments for some time after Happy Hour, they came up with a plan. It worked and it was clear that Biffle would be a top-five contender for the majority of the race. In the end, however, it came down to fuel mileage and Biffle walked away with a fifth-place finish. He is now 143 points behind Johnson and 37 behind race-winner Carl Edwards.
Biffle turned in solid times in the first practice of the week on Friday and prepared to qualify for the first time in a month due to rainouts. He turned in the 19th-fastest time in time trials for a starting position on the inside of row 10. Biffle was fast in the first practice on Saturday but he and the team did not seem content with their efforts in Happy Hour. After a long discussion following practice, Biffle, Erwin and the team decided to make a few changes. On Sunday morning Biffle and the team seemed to have a renewed confidence and were ready for the 334-lap main event.
Within five laps, Biffle had picked up six positions and was running 13th. He reported that the 3M Ford Fusion was a little too loose but drove his way to the eighth position before the first round of green flag pit stops began on lap 50. Biffle pitted on lap 52 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. The crew completed the stop in 12.6 seconds and Biffle was running in the sixth position when the green flag stops were complete on lap 55. On lap 56, the first caution of the day came out as Biffle was running in the fifth position. Most of the leaders opted not to pit as they had recently stopped for fuel, tires and adjustments and Biffle restarted on lap 64 in the fifth position.
On lap 72, Biffle made his way to second behind Edwards before Jamie McMurray made his way back by a few laps later. He maintained the third position until a second round of green flag stops began on lap 108. Biffle pitted on lap 112 for a four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment as he had reported that the 3M Ford was still a little too loose. He was running third again when the green flag pit cycle was complete on lap 118.
A caution for debris on lap 143 gave the 3M team the opportunity to fine-tune the loose racecar again with wedge and track bar adjustments. They sent Biffle right back out in the third position for the restart on lap 148. He was able to take the second position back from McMurray on lap 156 and held it until the third round of green flag pit stops began on lap 200. This time it would be only a minor wedge adjustment for the 3M Ford when Biffle pitted on lap 203. A lapped car on pit road, however, delayed Biffle’s entry into the pit box and he was sixth on the board when the pit cycle was complete on lap 205.
Biffle made his way back into the top five on lap 207 and remained there for the next 115 laps. During that time he pitted twice during cautions for four tires and fuel. No further adjustments were made as he was happy with the handling of the 3M Ford Fusion. Biffle took the lead on lap 321 as a fourth round of green flag stops had begun. He pitted for the final time on lap 322 for two tires and fuel as all calculations showed him to be several laps short on fuel. Biffle returned to the track in the seventh position and was able to pick up two spots in the closing laps for a fifth place finish.
“It turned into a fuel mileage race and it’s unfortunate,” said Biffle. “We had a pretty good car at the end and so did the 26, but fuel mileage won this thing and that was kind of unusual. I can’t quite figure out how my teammate can go eight laps more than I can either, so we’ll have to go back and do our homework and see what he’s got that we don’t have underneath the hood I guess. We got a top-five here today and gained points on the 48. The 99 is gambling. If the 99 would have run out, we would have gained on everybody, so we’re pretty excited about that.”
Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M team remain third in the point standings. They are 143 points out of the lead which is currently held by Johnson and 37 points behind Edwards in second. The team will return to the track on Sunday, November 9th at Phoenix International Raceway.
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.