Hampton, Ga. (September 2, 2013) – An overly eventful 500 miles culminated in a 15th-place finish for Biffle at Atlanta. Due to an early qualifying draw Biffle qualified 24th and struggled with turn during the race. On one stop Biffle overshot the pit stall and had to back up for service, then during a later pit stop the air gun quit working. With the odds stacked against them, the 3M team never gave up earning a 15th-place finish.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is a very temperature sensitive track and those with early qualifying draws on Friday evening at 6:40pm did all they could to keep up with the speed the track gained as qualifying continued. Biffle settled for his 24th and spent practice Saturday working on race setup.
Going into the race Sunday evening NASCAR called for a competition caution on lap 25 due to some rain that afternoon. Biffle had dropped from his starting position of 24th to 31st with a 3M Ford that wouldn’t turn. The team took a big swing at adjustments, servicing Biffle’s Ford with four tires, fuel, track bar, air pressure and shim adjustments. The changes helped and the team continued to make similar adjustments throughout the race.
Under caution on lap 79, Biffle came in for a routine stop, but missed his pit stall and had to back up for service. The team made the best of the situation by coming back down pit road to adjust the tape on the grille of their Ford since they’d be in the back anyway.
As the team battled handling and the field cycled through different pit stops, Biffle went a lap down to the field. Luckily when the caution came out on lap 208 he was in position to be the “lucky dog.”
Biffle found himself about to break into the top 10 for the first time all day when under caution on a pit stop the front tire changer’s air gun malfunctioned. Biffle had to make a second unscheduled stop to make sure all tires were tight before going back to green flag racing. The good news was the unfortunate event happened under caution and didn’t cost the team a lap on the track, the bad news was Biffle found himself 17th but behind lapped traffic.
With 20 laps to go Biffle maneuvered his way up to earn a 15th-place finish. The finish keeps Biffle ninth in the Championship point standings and still in the hunt to make the 2013 Chase field which will be determined next weekend in Richmond.
Kyle Busch took home the win and clinched his position in the Chase. Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five. The Sprint Cup Series heads to Richmond next weekend for Saturday night short-track racing and the final race before the Chase.
0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway
Saturday, September 7, 2013