Darlington: Round 11 preview

* Greg Biffle hopes momentum can lead to Darlington repeat DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 9, 2006) -- Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard Ford) may have finally caught the break he's been looking for. Just months after coming within 35 points of ...

* Greg Biffle hopes momentum can lead to Darlington repeat

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 9, 2006) -- Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard Ford) may have finally caught the break he's been looking for.

Just months after coming within 35 points of winning the championship, Biffle's luck had gone sour. In the first nine races of the season, Biffle had more DNF's (three) than top-10 finishes (two). The combination of cut tires and blown engines had left him in 23rd place in the point standings, hardly where the team had envisioned itself before the season started.

What's interesting is that the team's performance on the track is exactly what they had been hoping for.

Despite his poor finishes, Biffle has been a factor in almost every race of the season. He has led at least one lap in all but two races and has led 837 miles this season, the most of any driver. He is fourth in Driver Rating (99.1), a new loop data statistic that combines numerous on-track statistical categories to rate driver performance, behind Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) (112.8), Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford) (105.9), and Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) (100.8) -- the top three drivers in the point standings.

But it wasn't this past until Saturday night in Richmond that he finally carried his strong performance to the finish line. Biffle finished fourth in the race and celebrated as if he had won.

"It feels like a win," Biffle said after the race. "I was pumping my arms up in the air. We certainly needed this. We've been running like this all season, but we finally made it to the checkered flag."

Biffle's Roush Racing team jumped three spots in the standings, leaving Richmond in 20th place. But the momentum the team picked up should carry over to Darlington Raceway where Biffle is the defending race winner.

"Darlington is one of the toughest tracks on the circuit," Biffle said. "I've gotten several of the black stripes over the years but I'd still put it up there as one of my favorite tracks. Winning this race there last year was one of the highlights of my career. We're going to go there with the car we won with last year and plan on doing everything we can to defend the title."

Which could spell trouble for the other 42 teams on the track.

Biffle dominated last year's Dodge Charger 500 en route to winning his third race of the season. He led 176 laps and left Darlington atop most of the loop data statistics. His Average Running Position was 2.581, he had a Driver Rating of 144.4 (150 is the maximum) and was Fastest Early in a Run (157.127 mph), Fastest on the Backstretch (171.341 mph) and Fastest on Restarts (159.079) and had four of the five Fastest Laps of the day.

If Biffle can avoid the bad luck that has plagued him this season, Saturday night's race can be a big push in his quest to get into the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson