Loudon, N.H. (September 23, 2012) – Greg Biffle felt confident heading into the second race of the Chase at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, behind the wheel of his No. 16 3M / GE Appliances Ford Fusion. Throughout practice, the team struggled with grip and unfortunately, their handling woes continued into the actual race. Biffle started 13th and held on to cross the finish line 18th.
Despite struggling with grip in practice on Friday, Biffle was able to earn a 13th-place starting position. The team spent both practice sessions on Friday trying to fine tune the 3M / GE Appliances Ford, but still struggled to find the perfect setup.
Just three laps into the race, things were looking brighter than in practice, since Biffle had worked his way up to 10th. Just as soon as things were looking up, Biffle reported in to crew chief Matt Puccia that he was loose. Biffle dropped back to 14th when NASCAR threw the competition caution due to rain overnight. In an effort to pick up some track position, Puccia made the call for a two-tire stop, along with air pressure and a track bar adjustment.
With the two tires and adjustments, Biffle reported back that he was a hair tight, but also loose in. As green flag stops cycled through the field, Biffle pitted for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. A debris caution came out on lap 129 and Biffle was up to 11th on the track. Puccia made the call for another two-tire stop, along with a wedge adjustment.
The 3M Ford went from being really tight, to 20 laps later, loose into the turns and plowing. On the next scheduled stop, the 3M Pit Bulls threw everything they could into improving handling. The 3M / GE Appliances Ford was given four tires, fuel, track bar, wedge and air pressure adjustments. Once again, their efforts were not rewarded on the track. Biffle continued to struggle with the handling while racing his way around the 1.058-mile track.
A caution for debris came out with 27 laps remaining, gave the 3M Pit Bulls one last shot to make adjustments. Biffle pitted for four tires, fuel, wedge and air pressure adjustments. The last attempt still didn’t give Biffle the grip he needed and he was left with an 18th-place finish, while Denny Hamlin won the Sylvania 400. Biffle dropped to ninth in the point standings, 33 behind the point leader Jimmie Johnson.
“We were just battling overall grip,” said Biffle. “Our car just didn’t have any grip right when we unloaded off the truck and never fixed it. We were way loose in the corner and had no rear grip. We chattered the front tires. We chattered the rear tires. There at the end we chattered all four, so it was just back and forth with all four tires chattering but no grip at all. We were doing really well in the middle part of the race and I thought, ‘Man, we’ve got something. We’re going.’ We got up to 10th and then just went straight backwards. I don’t know what happened.”
Next up, the Sprint Cup Series will head to Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400, the third race in the Chase. Coverage begins at 1:00pm ET on Sunday, September 30th on ESPN.