A cloudy season for Greg Biffle has finally cleared. Biffle led a race high 170 laps at Darlington Raceway to earn his first win of the season and shoot up six positions in points from 20th to 14th. It was welcome medicine for the No. 16 Ford ...
A cloudy season for Greg Biffle has finally cleared. Biffle led a race high 170 laps at Darlington Raceway to earn his first win of the season and shoot up six positions in points from 20th to 14th.
It was welcome medicine for the No. 16 Ford team, which has struggled this season after having such a spectacular season in 2005. Seven finishes of 15th or worse mired Biffle outside the top ten in the points. Now, the bad mojo appears to have lifted with Biffle grabbing back-to-back Cup wins at Darlington.
"We never give up," said Biffle. "We won the pole last week and finished fourth. Everybody has stood behind us like the National Guard and everybody.It's just exciting to be back in Victory Lane."
Biffle seized the lead after the No. 16 team got him off pit road first during a set of late race green flag pit stops. Traffic helped Biffle maintain his advantage as Jeff Gordon tried to race for the win with three to go, but just couldn't clear the lapped cars to get close enough to be a threat.
"I was praying for help," Biffle explained of the closing laps. "I was begging. Please let him give me a lane, give me the top or give me the bottom or something. You know what, Kurt Busch could have raced me and he let me go to the top. He was the last car on the lead lap and I really appreciate it. A lot of guys showed respect out there tonight.
"A few more laps and Gordon would have got there, but I'm pretty excited."
Gordon scored his fourth top-five of the year, with second.
"Gosh it was just so close," Gordon said. "I wanted it so bad. I was pretty disappointed at the end when we came up on that lap car. I think he could have given us more room but that is just how it goes."
Matt Kenseth was third, "It was good for us, we ran really competitively and had good pit stops. We had a lot better can than I thought we have."
Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. complete the top five.
"A great performance for us," commented Johnson. "Qualifying didn't go like we wanted. We worked hard to get the racecar situated in practice. We were loose all night long, but happy with the performance."
Kasey Kahne brought the field to the green flag and led a race total of 41 laps but the No. 9 Dodge was not the class of the field. As the race enfolded, it became clear that the Roush cars of Kenseth and Biffle and the Hendrick car of Johnson were the cars to beat.
Kenseth, Biffle and Johnson swapped the lead several times but Johnson settled into the lead at lap 241 and despite giving up the lead a few times was dominating the closing laps of the event until 54 to go when Gordon and Kenseth both motored past the 48 Chevy.
Green flag pit stops commenced with 53 to go and when everything cycled out Biffle was at the helm. In the end, a late race charge by Gordon proved unfruitful as Biffle wheeled the No. 16 Ford on to the win.
The race was slowed six times for 24 laps and there were 10 lead changes among 25 drivers.
Jimmie Johnson continues to lead NASCAR Nextel Cup point standings. Tony Stewart (-93), Matt Kenseth (-94), Mark Martin (-199), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (-226), Jeff Gordon (-295), Kyle Busch (-298), Kasey Kahne (-307), Kevin Harvick (-321) and Jeff Burton (-391) complete the top ten.
Notably, pole sitter Kahne finished 21st.