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NSCS: Biffle Gains Much Needed Momentum at Watkins Glen

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JOPLIN, Mo. — Greg Biffle had another stellar performance this past weekend at Watkins Glen International after grabbing a very decent finish. It didn’t come easy for him though after having to dodge numerous wrecks all afternoon long to get inside the top-10.

On Saturday afternoon, Biffle had a very tough time in qualifying, — which gave him a 28th starting spot. This didn’t give the team any high expectations going into the Cheez-it 355, but after some hard fighting and great pit strategy, Biffle walked away with his seventh top-10 finish of 2014. This certainly gives the 43-year-old some momentum going into one of his best tracks.

“The racing was really good,” said Biffle following the race. “We were able to make up a lot of ground. It was aggressive and as people got more comfortable it got nuts. We went into the bus stop three-wide and that is pretty tough to do here two-wide. That is the first time in my career I have been in there three-wide. The car got the fender beat in a little bit and we got tight coming off the bus stop and got off the race track. Stuff happens. I hoped we could work our way back up. You just try to do the best you can and protect your position and race hard. That is about all you can do.”

Once the green flag waved on Sunday, Biffle reported that the car was very tight when he turned right, but very loose when turning left. Luckily for the team, a caution came out on lap 10 that allowed them to come down pit road. After making these adjustments, Biffle was able to drive his way back into the top-10 after coming down pit road running in 24th.

Biffle’s car remained fairly clean until just past the halfway point into the 90-lap event. Once lap 55 rolled around, a major crash occurred that caused some damage to the car, but was able continue without the need to come down pit road. Surprisingly, the crash only took out the two cars of Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell. It allowed Biffle to save just enough fuel to make it the rest of the way despite a late-race yellow.

The finish will advance Biffle one more position further into the Sprint Cup Series standings, but it still won’t be enough to get into the Chase. With AJ Allmendinger securing the race win this past Sunday, who sits 24th in the standings, it drops Biffle to the 17th position on the Chase grid. He is now just eight points behind Clint Bowyer who sits in the last spot on the grid. Biffle badly needs a win in case the standings don’t change significantly in the next four races. If NASCAR still used the regular standings, you would find him sitting 12th by four points. The team would still have some work to do, but certainly would have much less pressure on them to make the exclusive cut.

With four races remaining until the Chase cut off, two tracks stand out where the Roush-Fenway Racing organization has excelled this season. Those obviously would be Bristol and Richmond. Biffle’s teammate, Carl Edwards, captured the victory at Bristol in the spring. Another track that stands out to the No. 16 team will be the Michigan International Speedway. Biffle holds four total wins there and has finished inside the top-10 14 times in 23 starts. Atlanta Motor Speedway, which is a 1.5-mile track, will definitely be a struggle for the organization. The intermediate race tracks in 2014 have not been the cup of tea for them as they haven’t shown decent speed. Given Biffle’s past success at Michigan, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how the team will perform at these two tracks.

 

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About Brett Winningham

Brett Winningham is a Contributing Writer in the NASCAR department at Rubbings Racing and can be followed on Twitter at @NASCAR_BRETT. A native of Joplin, Missouri, Winningham covers multiple NASCAR events in the midwest each season.

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