Biffle takes truck championship in surprise twist By Dave Rodman FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 13, 2000) Greg Biffle claimed the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship for himself and amazingly -- team owner Jack Roush's first NASCAR ...
Biffle takes truck championship in surprise twist
By Dave Rodman
FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 13, 2000) Greg Biffle claimed the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship for himself and amazingly -- team owner Jack Roush's first NASCAR championship in any division Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway. And in a very un-Roush-like manner, Biffle turned the trick with a 25th place finish in the O'Reilly 400 presented by Valvoline DuraBlend and with his No. 50 Grainger Ford a steaming hulk in the TMS garage area.
On a night in which Wisconsin native and NCTS veteran Bryan Reffner won his career first truck race in his 111th start, from the Bud Pole position, that took nothing away from Biffle's accomplishment.
The 30-year-old Vancouver, Wash., native certainly had nothing taken away from his season. Biffle grabbed the NCTS point lead from Jack Sprague at this fast, 1.5-mile facility with a victory in the Pronto Auto Parts 400 in June, and he hardly slowed from then until he over-cooked it and crashed while trying to run to the front on Friday night.
"It's too bad we didn't have a better run at Texas," Biffle said of his short evening, which ended with him holding an unofficial 250-point lead over teammate Kurt Busch with one race remaining, the Motorola 200 at California Speedway on Oct. 28. "But we're real happy for the first championship."
On the 80th lap, while running sixth, Biffle's Grainger Ford erupted in a sea of sparks from under the front end in Turn 2 and slammed head-on into the outside wall. Biffle refused to let a mechanical cloud hover the miscue.
"The truck just suddenly got loose and got out from under me," Biffle said in a straightforward manner. "It may have been a tire going down, we're going to check on that. It went pretty abruptly -- I wasn't prepared for it."
It was not the way Biffle wanted to earn the championship, but he elected to let his season's accomplishments -- which included five wins -- speak for him, not one frustrating night.
"When you hit the wall here like I did this isn't how I wanted to win the championship," Biffle said. "I thought I had it saved, and it went back up the track."
He had managed to lead a lap early, pacing the field from lap 11-16 and certainly seemed to be keeping the leaders well in check. Whether or not he could have won his sixth race of the season will never be known.
It really didn't matter after his chief competitor for the title, Mike Wallace, had a clutch failure when the field rolled off pit road for the initial green flag.
"We knew we had it won once Wallace had to put a clutch in his truck," Biffle said. We've had a great season and hopefully we'll have one next year."
Biffle will drive a Grainger Ford for Roush next season in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division. Roush also owns five NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams, one of which Busch will move to in a full-time role next season.
It was a storybook ending for the former NASCAR Weekly Racing Series competitor who was "discovered" by ESPN commentator Benny Parsons at the NASCAR Winter Heat series of Late Model races formerly held at Tucson Raceway Park in Arizona during December and January.
In a tale that has become one with NASCAR legend and lore, Parsons recommended to Roush that he hire Biffle, who formerly constructed his own race cars. Roush hired Biffle to drive his Grainger Fords beginning with the 1998 season and the rest, as they say, is history.
"I have just got to thank Benny Parsons," Biffle said of his relief at claiming this crown. "And of course, Jack Roush and everybody on this team, who has stood behind me through all this."
The championship, even with the ragged circumstances that occurred Friday night at TMS, was vindication for Biffle and Roush, who claimed a series record nine victories last season but used an unapproved part in a victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway cost them a 120-point penalty. -nascar.com-