Biffle's Season with 10 Down and 16 To Go Before "The Chase" Concord, N.C. (May 9, 2006) - Call it snake-bitten, call it bad luck, call it what you want but if you're reading the NASCAR news or watching it on television, you've heard at least...
Biffle's Season with 10 Down and 16 To Go Before "The Chase"
Concord, N.C. (May 9, 2006) - Call it snake-bitten, call it bad luck, call it what you want but if you're reading the NASCAR news or watching it on television, you've heard at least one of those terms used in reference to Greg Biffle's 2006 season. If Biffle had a nickel for every time he has answered the questions "How do you explain your bad luck so far this season?" or "What's it going to take to turn your season around?" in the last few weeks, well, he'd have a lot of nickels.
Here is a little look at his season in review, where he is in the points, where he could have been in the points and where he has the possibility to go.
The season got off to a rocky start when, after running consistently in the top 15, a cut tire on the final lap of the Daytona 500 left him with a 31st-place finish. Then it was on to California where he qualified second and led 168 laps before a part failure took him out of the race and he went home with a 42nd-place finish. In Vegas, the team took the pole and Biffle was able to hold on to an eighth-place finish.
After the top-10 in Vegas, it was on to Atlanta where Biffle led the most laps before running out of fuel on the final lap and finishing 16th. In Bristol, Biffle cut a right front tire and that combined with a pit road penalty put him three laps down. He and the team fought their way back to the lead lap and left Bristol with a seventh place finish. It is no secret that Martinsville is one of Biffle's least favorite tracks but this year he was very happy with car. He qualified eighth and was running consistently in the top 10 when contact with Jeff Burton sent him to the garage for several laps and an eventual 31st-place finish.
In Texas, Biffle took the lead on lap 12 and had as much as a seven-second lead on the field at one point. However, on lap 82 contact with Kurt Busch sent him into the wall and out of the race for a 42nd-place finish. The next week it was off to Phoenix where Biffle led the most laps for the second race of the season. In the closing laps, it seemed that Biffle would easily take a second place finish behind Kyle Busch but the fuel calculations told another story and Biffle ran short with just two laps remaining for a 16th-place finish.
When teams go to Talladega they know that anything can happen but usually their biggest concern is getting caught up in a multi-car collision. Biffle qualified seventh and was trying to be as cautious and careful as he could in the race when a part failure on lap 45 sent him to the garage. Biffle and the National Guard team took home a 38th-place finish from Talladega.
Last weekend in Richmond where it seemed that the questions about the team's luck this season were at an all time high, things turned around. Biffle qualified on the pole with the National Guard Ford Fusion and after getting trapped a lap down following an untimely caution, fought his way back to a fourth place finish.
If he had finished where he was running in Daytona, California, Atlanta, Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix and Talladega when "bad luck struck", he would be second in the points and around 20 to 25 points out of the lead. However, because Biffle drives a Ford Fusion which has no flux capacitor and is not capable of time travel, these are the results that he has to work with while trying to make the Chase for the second year in a row.
The good news is that making the Chase is well within reach for Biffle and the National Guard team. With 16 races remaining until the points are reset, they are only 169 points out of the top 10. Last year after 10 races, teammate Matt Kenseth was 240 points out of the top 10 and made the Chase with one win, six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in the following 16 races.