Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 16, 2013) – For the first time ever fans had full control over the newly named “Sprint Unlimited,” controlling the starting lineup, segment lengths and first pit stop. Biffle earned a fourth-place starting position under the vote, but benefitted from others having to start from the rear of the field and started second. Biffle led the opening laps and made a hard charge at the end, but came up short to race winner Kevin Harvick, earning a second-place finish in the 3M Ford.
Fans voted to set the starting grid based off when, during the 2012 season, a pole was won. Biffle earned three pole starting positions in 2012, the first of which came at Bristol Motor Speedway, earning him a fourth-place starting position for the Sprint Unlimited. Two cars ahead had to drop to the rear of the field for being in backup cars, putting Biffle on the front row for the green flag.
The Sprint Unlimited was the first time the new Gen 6 style cars were in an actual race setting and Biffle quickly jumped to the lead. He settled into the top five while reporting back to crew chief Matt Puccia that his 3M Ford was loose. On lap 15 the caution came out for a seven-car pileup that Biffle narrowly avoided. The first of the three segments that make up the Sprint Unlimited ended on lap 30.
The fans voted for all competitors to make a four tire stop during the first break between segments. The 3M Pit Bulls went to work servicing Biffle with four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
Biffle took the green in segment two in the fourth position and after 25 laps was sitting second for the break before the final segment. Biffle’s crew gave him four tires, fuel, a chassis adjustment and some tape on the grille of his 3M Ford.
In the final segment Biffle started second and in the closing laps made a hard charge to pass the leader, but fell just short of taking home the victory. Biffle was left with a second-place finish.
Kevin Harvick won the Sprint Unlimited, while Biffle, Logano, Stewart and Kenseth rounded out the top five. Qualifying begins Sunday, February 17th and will determine the front row for the Daytona 500, while also setting the field for both Duel races, which will set the rest of the field for the 500. The Duel’s will air Thursday, February 21st at 2pm on FOX.
“The 3M Ford Fusion really was strong all night,” said Biffle. “It seemed like some cars were better than we were and we will work on our stuff for the 500. I had a run on him at the top there and he closed the door. Kevin did what he had to do to win that race. I didn’t think there was room to stick it in there. I thought we would end up wrecked. I looked in the mirror but didn’t have any help. I was against his bumper but couldn’t do anything. I am happy to come home second. I have been so close so many times here at Daytona. It would feel nice to win one.”
2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Thursday, February 21, 2013