Loudon, NH. (September 14, 2008) – If the best way to win a championship is to win races, Greg Biffle is well on his way. A strategic pass on Jimmie Johnson with 11 laps remaining took Biffle to his first win of the 2008 season. His commanding victory in the Dish Turbo HD Ford Fusion at New Hampshire, the first race of the Chase, moves him from ninth in the standings to third. He is only 30 points out of the lead with what he considers some of his best tracks still to come.
Biffle was in the top-10 at the end of every practice session this weekend. That paired with the fact that the lap tracker showed that he had the most consistently fast lap times gave the team the confidence they needed for Sunday’s race. As qualifying on Friday was rained out, Biffle started the 300-lap main event from the inside of row five.
After the drop of the green flag, Biffle dropped back a little and reported that the car was just a little too tight. He was able to regain several positions, however, before the competition caution on lap 35 and was running sixth when the yellow flag flew. He brought the Dish Turbo HD Ford Fusion to pit road for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and an air pressure adjustment. Biffle returned to the track in the eighth position as a few teams opted for only two tires.
Biffle again dropped back a little shortly after the restart, but made his way back up to seventh before an on-track incident involving Kyle Busch, David Ragan and Jamie McMurray brought out the second caution of the day on lap 83. This time Biffle radioed to the team to let them know the Dish Turbo HD Fusion was tight entering the corners and loose in the center.
Crew chief Greg Erwin and the team opted for four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. They picked up three positions in the pits and Biffle restarted fourth on lap 88. This time Biffle seemed pretty happy with the car’s handling and began a steady climb through the top five. On lap 152, a round of green flag stops began as Biffle had just reported that he might be losing the brakes a little.
Biffle was running third when he brought the Dish Turbo HD Ford Fusion in under green on lap 155 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. When the round of green flag stops was complete on lap 160, Biffle was in the lead for the first time of the day. He let the team know the brakes seemed okay, but the car was still just a little loose right after the restart. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took the lead on lap 165 but Biffle was able to take it right back ten laps later.
On lap 213, a caution came out for debris while Biffle still had the lead. He reported that the car was good so no changes were made to the Dish Turbo Ford Fusion during the pit stop. The crew gave him four fresh tires and a tank of fuel and sent him out third for the restart on lap 220. That would be Biffle’s last pit stop of the day.
When Denny Hamlin pitted for fuel during a caution on lap 224, Biffle took the second position and maintained it until he was able to take the lead from Jimmie Johnson with what Biffle later referred to as a “textbook pass” on lap 289. Biffle held Johnson off for the remaining 11 laps and claimed his first win of the 2008 season.
“I love this race track and with the old car we ran extremely well here – almost won a couple – top fives everytime we came, and then when we came with the new car we haven’t run very well.” Said Biffle. “It was really troublesome to get going and finally we got onto something that worked here and the race car just drove phenomenal right off the truck. It was really fast. Greg and I worked through some things. I think our practice we executed really good and when the race started off today my car was just perfect. I hardly adjusted anything. I think I took a half-round of wedge out of it all day and that was it. Really, I just took care of my car through the middle part of the race and ran pretty hard when I was trying to catch Junior to get the lead and then the 48 caught us and I just decided to ride for a while and wait toward the end.
“The Dish Turbo HD car just kept getting better and better as the day went and that’s not normally the case, so that’s why I didn’t adjust much on it. I knew I had a little bit left at the end. I backed way off trying to save some brakes and fuel for the end and I’m sure that Jimmie did as well. Greg told me we were catching him about a tenth a lap, so either he slowed down or his car was starting to slow down and at that point I felt like we’d have an opportunity to pass him if the caution came out, so that’s what we were hoping for.”
Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team are now third in the point standings. They are only 30 points out of the lead which is currently held by Jimmie Johnson. The team will return to the track on Sunday, September 21st at Dover International 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.