Phoenix, AZ- Roush Racing's Greg Biffle clinched the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series Championship Saturday afternoon after running the No. 60 Ford a strong third at the Phoenix International Raceway. Biffle also gave Jack Roush his first ever Busch title, the same as he did in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. This closes another chapter in Biffle's book as the newly crowned champion moves onto Winston Cup next year.
The weekend started on the right path for the Roush Racing camp as the 60 team sat atop the starting grid after winning the Bud Pole Award. With serious momentum and a strong car underneath him, it appeared as though Biffle was on the verge of winning both the race and the title after he dominated the first 185 laps.
With less then 15 circuits remaining, Biffle lost the lead to eventual winner Scott Wimmer. Phoenix, generally known for an abrasive track surface, bit Biffle as he wore out his tires battling for position.
Following the race, he made it clear; losing the lead was something he didn't want to do. "I was trying to lead all of the laps, being greedy," Biffle said with a smirk.
Biffle has done his fair share of being greedy throughout his short-lived NASCAR career. Last season he won the Busch Series' Raybestos Rookie of the Year award. Prior to that, he was the 2000 Craftsman Truck Series champion along with winning the top rookie honors in 1998.
In 2001 after bursting onto the Busch Series scene and knocking out two poles and five victories, some wondered if Biffle would fall victim to a "sophomore slump." By winning the championship, Biffle definitely put the icing on the cake after already tallying up four wins, 19-top five finishes, 24 top 10s, and leading in 21 of the 33 events that have been run so far this season, which had already silenced any remaining critics.
In 2003, Biffle and his Randy Goss led crew will be making the jump full-time to Winston Cup. If Biffle were to grab the title in that division as well, he would become the first driver to win the championship in all three of NASCAR's premier series.
Both commented on their thoughts for next year, I'm a little bit nervous about next year, to tell the truth," said Goss. "I know that he's a good enough driver to be in the top 10 in Winston Cup."
"I'd really like to win rookie of the year," said Biffle. "I just want to run every race, try to stay on the lead lap, learn as much as I can."