Homestead, Fla. (November 19, 2012) – Greg Biffle wrapped up the 2012 season with a fifth-place finish at Homestead in the Ford EcoBoost 400, while also clenching fifth-place in the Championship point standings. After an accident in practice forced the team to race the backup car, Biffle maneuvered his way from the back and conserved fuel in what came down to be a fuel mileage race. Biffle out-conserved the others, earning his top-five finish, while Jeff Gordon won the race and Brad Keselowski was crowned the 2012 Sprint Cup Champion.
Biffle had a fast 3M / SP Richards Ford in practice on Saturday, but contact with the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin and the No. 20 Joey Logano forced all three to pull out their backup cars. Luckily the team was able to focus the final practice session on getting their backup Ford race ready. The switch to the backup car caused Biffle to lose his 13th-place qualifying effort and start at the end of the field.
From the start of the race Biffle began to work his way forward through the field with a Ford that had good balance, but he was losing the nose on exit. On the first green-flag pit stop Biffle was given four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The changes weren’t enough and Biffle began to suffer from no front grip. While running 25th he was lapped by the leaders, but luckily held onto the “lucky dog” position and was the recipient on lap 78 when the caution came out for debris.
Another pit stop for four tires, fuel, track bar and left front shim adjustment left Biffle suffering from no rear grip. Crew chief Matt Puccia continued to call for big handling swings throughout the race to stay ahead of the changing track conditions as the day turned into evening.
As the race was winding down it became clear everything was going to come down to fuel mileage. Biffle started saving well before the final pit stop, so after his last trip down pit road on lap 213 for four tires, fuel and a left rear wedge adjustment he was able to make it to the end. Biffle ran out coming off of turn four, but was still able to cross the finish line fifth.
“I crashed our primary car in practice, but I kept this one out of the fence all day,” said Biffle. “You can see every car here has some concrete on it except this one here, so I feel pretty good about that. We stayed after it and the car definitely got better at the end. I think we would have been about a 10th-place car if that fuel mileage thing hadn’t happened. We were coming along pretty good and we were right there, so we’ll take fifth instead of 10th. That probably made the difference in the points. This was our first year as a full team and I’m happy for Matt Puccia to make the Chase and finish fifth. On the other hand, it’s a little disappointing that we didn’t win the title or get closer than we did, so it’s kind of bittersweet.”
The Ford EcoBoost 400 wrapped up the 2012 season for the Sprint Cup Series. The Series will return to Daytona in February with a brand style of car.