Fontana, Calif. (March 25, 2013) – The NASCAR circuit made its third trip out west in just four weeks, but this time the race was at the 2.0-mile Auto Club Speedway. A few laps into practice on Friday the No. 16 3M Window Film Ford Fusion’s engine expired. With his new engine Biffle qualified second, but due to the change had to start at the rear of the field. He quickly made up the ground during the race, but an off set of tires cost him track position. A fresh set of tires in the closing laps, along with a wreck involving the leaders, helped Biffle cross the finish line sixth (initially reported as fifth) in California.
“It was an up and down day and with about 100 to go or 75 to go we got a set of tires that we couldn’t drive the car on and we were too loose and over adjusted and came back and were pretty good at the end,” said Biffle. “Overall a top-five finish for us is a great day. It was pretty crazy with those restarts at the end. These cars with the big spoilers on them get huge runs at the end.”
Just a few laps into the first practice session on Friday the 3M Window Film Ford’s engine expired. The 3M team worked hard and got Biffle one final run before practice ended. Even with minimal track time Biffle was able to earn a second-place qualifying position. The qualifying effort secured a good pit stall selection, but due to the engine change Biffle had to start at the rear of the field for the race.
In the opening laps the 3M Window Film Ford didn’t have the front turn Biffle needed, but he was still able to maneuver his way through the field. By the first caution on lap 29 he had already worked his way up to 18th. Under caution Biffle pitted for four tires, fuel, a left-front air pressure adjustment and a right-rear wedge adjustment.
Over the course of the race crew chief Matt Puccia continued to tweak on the 3M Window Film Ford and eventually Biffle cracked the top 10. Biffle was making a hard charge on the leaders when a set of tires didn’t agree with his Ford. Luckily there was a caution in the closing laps in which the team could try another set of tires. Biffle took the final green flag restart in 12th and with the fresh tires worked his way forward. The leaders wrecked coming to the checkered flag and Biffle was able to avoid the incident and cross the finish line sixth (initially reported as fifth), remaining fifth (initially reported as fourth) in the point standings.
Kyle Busch followed up his Nationwide victory on Saturday with a win in the Auto Club 400. Dale Earnhardt Jr, took over the points lead with his second-place finish. Joey Logano took home third, while Carl Edwards edged out Kurt Busch and Biffle for fourth-place. Next up is an off weekend for the Sprint Cup Series before heading to the “paperclip” Martinsville Speedway.
STP Gas Booster 500
0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway
Sunday, April 7, 2013