Bristol, Tenn. (March 22nd, 2009) – On a weekend when it seemed that several teams were struggling to get a handle on the racetrack, Greg Biffle and the 3M team were rising to the top. Despite a minor rib injury Biffle was enduring as a result of a fall on his boat earlier in the week, he qualified fourth and ran in the top 10 for most of the race. Around lap 295, however, he reported that the engine was missing and lost several positions on the track. Then on lap 326 he pulled the 3M Ford off of the track and informed the team that the engine had failed and their day was over. The 39th place finish moves Biffle back to 18th in the point standings.
After starting on the outside of the second row, Biffle was able to maintain his fourth-place position until the first caution of the day on lap 26. He radioed the team and described the handling of the 3M Ford as being just a little tight. Crew Chief Greg Erwin instructed him to come to pit road for four tires, fuel and a minor air pressure adjustment. Biffle returned to the track in the 14th position as several teams opted not to pit or took on only two tires.
Biffle stayed out during the next two cautions as he reported that the handling of the 3M Ford was “pretty good”. As a result, he was back in the top five by lap 77 and remained there until lap 116 when Marcos Ambrose was able to get by. Seven laps later teammate Jamie McMurray spun and brought out the fourth caution of the day. This gave Biffle the opportunity to pit for a minor track bar adjustment as the 3M ford was still just a little on the tight side.
The field restarted on lap 129 and Biffle was in the eighth position. He lost only one position before another caution on lap 189 allowed him to pit for another air pressure adjustment to fine-tune the handling of the 3M Ford. He returned to the track in the 10th position for the restart on lap 195 but slowly began to lose positions as he informed Erwin and the team that the car had lost overall grip.Biffle fell back to 12th on lap 234 but was able to maintain that position for the next 60 laps. On lap 295, however, he reported that the engine was missing. He stayed on the track but lost several positions as the team prepared to inspect the engine during the next caution. That caution would come out on lap 318 and Biffle made two trips to pit road for the team to try to diagnose the problem.
It was determined that the engine of the 3M Ford Fusion was down one cylinder but Biffle returned to the track for the restart. Just before the green flag waved, however, Biffle pulled the car into the pit area and informed the team that their day was unfortunately over.
“Something happened in the engine,” explained Biffle. “I would have never thought you’d have engine trouble at Bristol. It never crossed my mind. We were running along and I think we were 11th, but we had a top 10 sewn up, I think, easy, and may have even had a better car than that. I was kind of riding around waiting to get to the end. You’ve got to get to the end before you can race. I had a couple of close calls, but the car was running good and the guys were doing a great job. It’s just so disappointing. It’s probably something in the valvetrain, I would imagine. That’s typically what happens when it drops a cylinder like that and then when I was getting ready for the restart parts were chunking around on the inside of it, so I had to stop. It was starting to oil the track, I’m sure, so it’s unfortunate.”
Following their 39th place finish in Bristol, Greg Biffle and the 3M team dropped to 18th in the Sprint Cup point standings. They are 268 points behind points-leader Jeff Gordon but only 58 points out of the top 12. The 3M team will return to the track on Sunday, March 29th at Martinsville Speedway.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing operates 9 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; Three in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Colin Braun; and one in the Camping World Truck Series with Braun.