Dearborn, MI (July 25, 2000)- Things may have been a bit quiet in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series earlier this year, but now there is a "buzz" around the garage that just keeps getting louder and louder. Greg Biffle, the elder of the duo...
Dearborn, MI (July 25, 2000)- Things may have been a bit quiet in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series earlier this year, but now there is a "buzz" around the garage that just keeps getting louder and louder.
Greg Biffle, the elder of the duo that has become known as Roush Racing's "Killer B's", got the noise started in late April with back-to-back poles at Portland International Raceway and Gateway International Raceway. He nearly won the May 13 event at Memphis Motorsports Park, then scored his much anticipated first win at Pikes Peak International Raceway just a week later.
After a disappointing fourth place finish at Evergreen Speedway near Seattle, WA, he bounced back for a three-in-a-row win streak at the Texas Motor Speedway, the inaugural race at Kentucky Speedway, and Watkins Glen. Biffle's streak was finally broken at Milwaukee only to be taken over by the rookie "Killer B" Kurt Busch who went on to score a second consecutive win at Louden, thus extending the Killer B's winning streak to five-in-a-row and six of the last seven. Dodge driver Dennis Setzer halted the five-in-a-row streak at Nazareth, but Biffle still managed a third place finish. Not to let things get out of hand, the "B's" dominated at Michigan, with Biffle winning and Busch finishing second.
After the race at Michigan, Biffle now leads the points race for the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Championship by 193 points over second place Mike Wallace. The lead for Biffle is the largest ever in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history and the first time that a driver could actually miss a race and remain in the lead. . Kurt Busch sits in fifth, only two points behind fourth place Jack Sprague. Kurt is also dominating the rookie-of-the-year race, leading by an astonishing 125 points. Killers indeed.
Like every good driver, Biffle is quick to point out that it's not driving skill alone that paves the road to the winner's circle. He is quick to credit crew chief Randy Goss with the pit strategy that has put him in the position to win. Greg also gives praise to the guys in the pits and in the shop that build his trucks every week. "The pit guys get me in and out of the pits ready quick every time. The guys in the shop continue to build me awesome trucks every week that are fast right out of the box. Now it's just up to me."
When asked if he can repeat or exceed his own record of nine wins in a season, he responded "Nine is a lot of races to win in one season. We may end up winning a few more before the end of the year, but I don't think that nine is really going to happen given the increased level of competition this season. The tracks changed a little bit, the trucks changed a little bit, and in the beginning of the season we weren't quite as crisp as we were last year. Now I feel like we are where we should have been at the beginning of the season, and I think that we can carry this momentum right on through California and the championship."
Matt Chambers, the 29-year-old crewchief of the #99 Exide Batteries Ford F-150, has had to face the building process, too. Chambers has had three different drivers over the past three years. Three drivers with vastly different styles and personalities.
"I learned a lot from Joe Ruttman since he had been racing so long," said Chambers. "I was really young and the knowledge that I gained through Joe really helped me the next season with Mike Bliss. We were able to get one win with Mike and really have some strong runs. This year with Kurt has been a combination of what I learned in my first two years. It's paid off so far as we have been able to get Kurt into the winner's circle a couple of times already."
"Going into the season, I think that we expected Kurt to have a rookie season similar to Biffle's since their driving styles are very similar," Chambers recalls. "We've done way better than I expected and we are really having a good time this year. Kurt is really easy to work with and he learns the track very quickly. It usually only takes him about 10 laps or so before he is ready to start making changes to the truck set-up. It makes me feel a lot better and more confident."
Could the Killer B's be separated for 2001? This is the primary question in the NCTS garage and the premise that has the rumor mill stirring. Both drivers are being considered for moves into other NASCAR series with Roush. Biffle has confirmed that he will be driving in the Busch Grand National Series with his current sponsor Grainger in a Roush-built car. Rumors abound regarding next season for Kurt Busch. However, in Kurt's eyes, the talk isn't detrimental.
"I'll tell you what all of this has done for me. Just to be considered is really giving me a huge confidence boost. That's probably what has contributed to a lot of our success. If they chose me it would be a tough road, but it's a road that I think I'm ready for."