Biffle Ends Season on Winning Note By Scott L. Harra TWIN FALLS, Idaho -- Greg Biffle bid farewell to the NASCAR REB-CO Northwest Tour with a win in the NAPA 150 at Magic Valley Speedway, September 20. Biffle, driving the Kalico...
Biffle Ends Season on Winning Note
By Scott L. Harra
TWIN FALLS, Idaho -- Greg Biffle bid farewell to the NASCAR REB-CO Northwest Tour with a win in the NAPA 150 at Magic Valley Speedway, September 20. Biffle, driving the Kalico Kitchens Chevrolet this season, will climb into a Jack Roush NASCAR Craftsman Truck next season. The win in the NAPA 150 is his first in 22 starts on the NASCAR REB-CO Northwest Tour.
Biffle grabbed the lead from Gary Lewis and his Winner's Choice Chevrolet on lap 42. Race runner-up and 1997 series champion Kelly Tanner applied pressure on Biffle for the remainder of the race as they weaved through lapped traffic on the fast 1/3-mile track.
"This was a really good race," said Biffle in victory circle. "This is one of the best short tracks in the whole Northwest. It's a great surface. The guys were real good to race with tonight. I really want to give Ron Hall thanks for giving me an opportunity to drive their car this year. Kelly (Tanner) ran me really clean and I have to congratulate him on his championship."
"You know the driver gets a lot of credit," said Tanner of his second consecutive championship. "But look at these guys who work on the car and volunteer their help. My parents have been backing me for 31 years in racing. I dedicate this season to everyone involved, the sponsors and all my friends."
The NAPA 150 marked the first appearance for the series at Magic Valley Speedway and a capacity crowd witnessed some of the best racing of the year. A full field of 28 cars took to the grid and 24 cars made it to the end of the race. Side-by-side racing was the norm during the race, keeping fans glued to their seats.
Rounding out the top-five in the NAPA 150 were Rick Schultz, rookie-of-the-race Jeff Jefferson , and three-time series champion Garrett Evans, who worked his way up through the field from his 16th starting position.
The final championship points standings show Tanner and his Yoshida Sauces Chevrolet taking the crown with 1,840 points. He is followed by Lewis (1,572), Pete Harding (1,542), Bill Lawrence (1,536) and Rick Schultz (1,441). Despite missing the first race of the season, Biffle finished sixth in the points standing with 1,378 points.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
Kelly Tanner's two consecutive championships is a first on the series. Only Garrett Evans and Ron Eaton have won more championships. Tanner's 268 point margin of victory is only one point shy of Dirk Stephens record set in 1992 and ties John Dillon's mark set in 1990.
Only 36 points separated second place finisher Gary Lewis and fourth place finisher Bill Lawrence in the final points standings. Pete Harding was the meat in the sandwich, coming in third in the standings.
Tanner finished in the top-five in an incredible 10 of 11 races in 1997.
As hard as it may seem to believe, Evans' top-five finish moved him into the top-ten in points for only the first time this season. Evans unofficially finished the season eighth in points.
With his $3,300 in winnings in the NAPA 150, Tanner surpassed Stephens for fourth on the all-time winnings list.
The 13 cars running on the lead lap at the finish of the NAPA 150 is one shy of the series record of 14.
Mark's Unofficial NASCAR Northwest Tour Page http://www.aa.net/~cawsey/