Biffle Gambles On Fuel To Win GNC 250 by Thomas Chemris Milwaukee Wisconsin Busch Grand National rookie Gregg Biffle and his Roush racing team won a fuel mileage gamble to take his third win of the season. "They did not tell me until...
Biffle Gambles On Fuel To Win GNC 250
by Thomas Chemris
Busch Grand National rookie Gregg Biffle and his Roush racing team won a fuel mileage gamble to take his third win of the season.
"They did not tell me until eleven to go that we were going for it", noted the race winner.
"I knew they were making hard calculations, so I told them, tell me how to drive this thing, I knew Skinner was coming, finally, I just backed off the throttle and maintained a pace that I knew would have allowed Skinner to catch me about ten to twenty car lengths to the checkered flag."
Referring to Winston Cup regular Mike Skinner who filled in the RCR 21 Rockwell car.
Skinner never had the opportunity to catch Biffle, as he ran short on fuel laps before the end of the race, finishing eleventh
The event, the seventeenth of the season for the series was dominated by points leader and pole sitter Kevin Harvick, who led 165 of the 250 laps, but a late stop for a gas and go, gave the lead and the win to his series rival.
Biffle takes the win on fuel mileage in stride, "I led most of the race in California, and fuel mileage cost me the race, so I have been on both sides of the fence, I like this better".
The Milwaukee Mile is one of the oldest racing facilities in The United States, hosting its first race in 1903, and first hosting the Busch Grand National Series in 1984-1985, and then returning to the track in 1993 where the series has run ever since.
Finishing second to Biffle was Winston Cup Regular Matt Kenseth, who was a crowd favorite as the Wisconsin native made a respectable run in front of the home state crowd.
Kenseth moved up several positions on fuel strategy.
"We were tight all day, but things worked out really well in the pits for us", noted Kenseth.
Behind Kenseth was sophomore driver Kevin Grubb, who had his best showing of the year. "We were real fortunate to finish the race, with about twenty to go the motor started acting up, we lost a valve spring or something, so I wasn't even real worried about fuel, I was just hoping the motor held."
Rounding out the top five were Kevin Harvick and Jason Keller.
The 250-lap event was marred by four cautions for a total of 19 laps.
Bringing out the caution early on lap 29 was veteran Joe Ruttman as he got loose entering turn one and took a hard hit on the turn two wall.
Joe Bush hit the wall on lap 41, collecting Tim Fedewa who was driving the 00 Buckshot Jones Car. Fedewa and the team had put together a two-race deal with New Jersey's Jesel Valve Train as an associate sponsor.
"This is just a shame, I really want to thank Dan and George Jesel for putting this thing together", noted the disappointed driver.
Seventeen Year old Brian Vickers brought out the yellow once again on lap 56 as his first race in the series ended early, Vickers, a North Carolina native had better luck the night before the race as he finished third in the Hooters Pro Cup event in Holland New York.
The last caution came out on lap 96 as Jay Sauter lost his motor that led to a violent collision with Bobby Hamilton Jr.
"I seen him, and I saw smoke come out from the left front, I thought he was locking his tires up, and I went to go under him, and I hit the oil ", stated Hamilton who was un hurt in the dramatic crash.
Also Involved in the incident was Mike McLaughlin who recovered to finish eighteenth.
The race had a total on nine leaders. Others who held the point were Ron Hornaday, Jeff Green, Rich Bickle, Jeff Purvis, Kevin Grubb, Elton Sawyer, and David Green.
Last years Champion Jeff Green, had a strong showing, but also lost in the fuel mileage battle, as he fell behind early as the number ten Nesquick Ford, ran out of gas, leaving him stalled in the pits.
Unable to push start the car, the team got little help from Kevin Harvick's crew, as his they borrowed some ether and got the car restarted.
Green rebounded to finish ninth, scoring his ninth top ten of the season.
Biffles win moved him up one position in the series points battle, as he moves into second place, 97 points behind Kevin Harvick, and five points in front of Jeff Green.
The event at Milwaukee also marked the final Fox Broadcast of the 2001 season.
Former Crew Chief and freshman broadcaster Larry McReynolds was pleased with the Job that he and Fox have done. "I hate to see it end just when I feel that we have really gotten it together. McReynolds and the rest of the Fox team with return in 2002.
McReynolds will spend his off-season working as a consultant for Petty Enterprises.
As the Busch series heads next week to Watkins Glen NY, the television coverage will be picked up by NBC/TNT.