Biffle earns victory at The Monster Mile

Biffle earns victory at The Monster Mile

Greg Biffle earned his series-high fourth win of 2005 winning the MBNA 400 at Dover International Raceway. Biffle didn't make much of a splash in the first half of the event but once he took the lead on lap 241 he dominated the field for the ...

Greg Biffle earned his series-high fourth win of 2005 winning the MBNA 400 at Dover International Raceway. Biffle didn't make much of a splash in the first half of the event but once he took the lead on lap 241 he dominated the field for the remainder of the afternoon.

Greg Biffle.
Photo by Bob Harmeyer.
Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson made runs on Biffle, but Sunday at Dover it was all about the Yates power-plant under the hood of the No. 16 Roush Ford. Once Biffle got in front of the field he sailed off into oblivion at times.

The only time Biffle lost the lead in the races second half was when he pitted under green at lap 374. Johnson inherited the top spot and did not pit until 384, leading ten laps and garnering those critical five bonus points.

Once stops cycled through, Biffle was once again out front unchallenged. While a lot of cars were involved in minor bumps and bangs during the 400 lap event, Biffle's ride didn't have a mark on it until after the checker flag waved. He backed his Ford into the crossover gate wall as he was trying to do a celebratory burn-out.

"The guys worked and worked on this car," said Biffle who led a race high 150 laps. "We made wholesale changes on the car. That's what team work is all about. My car was terrible in the beginning but it was perfect once we got all the adjustments made."

It is Biffle's seventh career win and first at Dover International Speedway.

Kyle Busch matches his career best Cup series finish with second. Busch has had a phenomenal weekend for a rookie at Dover. He also won the Craftsman Truck Series race Saturday and was a threat to win the Busch event before crashing out.

"I learned that loose is fast here," said Busch. "It was really strong during the beginning part of the race. I don't know where Greg (Biffle) came from. There was no catching him."

Defending race winner Mark Martin was third. It is his sixth top-10 of 2005.

"Our guys did an awesome job with the car. It was a little bit off there at the start and we really got it good there at the middle of the race. We had a push we just couldn't get out of the car. It looked like Biffle and his guys just really hit the right combination and put a whopping on us."

Jimmie Johnson and Rusty Wallace complete the top five.

"That was a good run for us," said Wallace. "We had a good car all day long. You could tell from the start we were going to be good. I blew tires out last race here running second and the race before that running second, so we really worked on our camber settings and air pressures. We were real kind to the right front tire today, and we didn't have any problems. Good pit stops and we got up to second. My car got real tight and I fell back and got back up to fifth."

Elliott Sadler, who dominated much of the first half of the event leading 128 laps, didn't have the steam to seal the deal. Sadler's car fell off with about ninety laps to go, and then began to smoke as the race approached its final leg.

"The power steering fluid was leaking," said Sadler. "That finally leaked all the way down and made it tough to drive. But we got a top-10. It could have been a lot worse. The main thing is that we ran well, and we made a statement, I think, on these intermediate tracks.

"We struggled at Atlanta, we struggled at Texas, we went to Charlotte All- Star race and we ran really well. We had an awesome car at the 600 and then we come here and run good, a place where we don't have a good history, so this team is doing a great, great job."

The caution flag flew often at Dover International Raceway. Amongst the more colorful wrecks was an early race skirmish between Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon that put the No. 24 Chevy into the garage. Ricky Rudd's No. 21 Ford also caught the brunt of it when he checked up to avoid Gordon and the No. 9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne got into the back of Rudd's ride.

"We didn't take off too good on the restart," said Gordon. "Tony (Stewart) was a little bit better than me and, you know, there's no doubt I was holding him up and I wanted to see if my car would come to me, and he just ran out of patience. I just think it's a little uncalled for to start something that fast.

"I probably would have let him go once we got out there; it's a long race. All I can say is the next time Tony's holding me up, it won't be very long for him to be out of my way."

The second multi-car crash came at lap 136 when Dave Blaney spun out of turn 2 on the backstretch and floated in front of oncoming traffic. Blaney's No. 07 Chevy took a violent hit as he made contact with No. 49 Chevy of Ken Schrader. As cars scooted to avoid the carnage, Sterling Marlin's No. 40 Dodge scraped the No. 22 Dodge of Scott Wimmer.

"I just lost my car," said Blaney. "That's all."

All-in-all, there were seven cautions for 33 laps and nine lead changes among five drivers.

Jimmie Johnson remains the leader in Cup series standings but Greg Biffle is quickly closing the gap. Biffle sits just 46 points in the rears. Elliott Sadler (-231), Ryan Newman (-240), Tony Stewart (-306), Mark Martin (-324), Rusty Wallace (-328), Kurt Busch (-333), Carl Edwards (-338) and Kevin Harvick (-339) complete the top ten.

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Series NASCAR-CUP