Wins Coming Soon For Biffle

6562Jpg
It took Kevin Harvick, last year’s NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, 21 races before making it to victory lane in his inaugural season in the series.

So if you’re at all wondering why Greg Biffle, who enjoyed so much success in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, hasn’t won a race in the Busch Series yet in 2000, you might want to cut him some slack.

His first Busch Series victory could be just around the corner.

The driver of Roush Racing’s No. 60 Grainger Ford hasn’t performed too shabbily in his first seven career Busch Series events. He’s got three top-five and four top-10 finishes to go along with one pole, and sits in third place in the Busch Series standings, 126 points behind Harvick, heading into Saturday’s Pepsi 300 at the new Nashville Superspeedway.

The Grainger Ford team’s early-season results have surprised even Biffle himself.

“If you had asked me in January if I thought the Grainger team would be doing this well this early, I would have laughed,” said Biffle, last year’s Craftsman Truck Series champion. “I knew we had a good team in place and that the equipment was at the top of its class, but I didn’t think we had been together long enough to be contenders out of the gate.

“We struggled at our Daytona test prior to the season, which worried us quite a bit. Everyone knows that Daytona is just one race and to win a championship you have to be competitive at every track, but you still want to do well at the season opener. The shop guys built a new piece after that test and we went down to Daytona and showed everyone that the Grainger team was going to be a player this year. We ran up front and led a lap or two before a mishap on pit road hurt our chances to finish in the Top 10.”

Biffle finished a disappointing 22nd in the NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona. The next week, he turned around and won the pole at a track he had raced on competitively before, North Carolina Speedway. He wound up finishing third in the Alltel 200.

Biffle followed that up with a runner-up finish to Todd Bodine at Las Vegas and impressively finished second at Atlanta the next week to Joe Nemechek. He led several laps in both of those races and challenged for the victory both times.

Things haven’t gone well since Atlanta, but the results haven’t been disastrous. He finished 11th at Darlington in a back-up car, 30th at Bristol (after qualifying fifth) and seventh at Texas.

“After Atlanta, we’ve had a stint of bad racing luck,” Biffle said. “I wrecked the primary car during practice at Darlington, a car that we all thought had a shot at winning. At Bristol we were just a victim of circumstance, if you know what I mean.

“We felt great about our chances at Texas because I’ve won there before in the trucks and I like that track, but we took an unexpected ride through the grass. We persevered and gained a spot in the points, which is most important.”

Harvick won three races and finished third in the Busch Series points standings last season. Ron Hornaday also won two races and finished fifth in the points in 2000.

Since 1989, only three other rookies – Hermie Sadler, Johnny Benson and Steve Park – have won races in their first season in the Busch Series. Sadler and Benson each won one event in 1993 and 1994, respectively, and Park won three times during the 1997 season. The highest any rookie has finished in the points since 1989 was Park and Harvick (both finished third).

Biffle had expectations coming into the season, but those have since changed.

“My goal was to win a couple of races, finish in the Top 10 in the points and win Raybestos Rookie of the Year,” Biffle said. “That was my focus starting out, but the bar has been raised a little bit because of how the season has started and how we’ll I’ve adapted to these cars.

“Now I’m shooting for a Top 5 in the points. The point championship isn’t out of the question, either. I’d still like to win a couple of races and the Raybestos Rookie of the Year.”

Nashville Superspeedway, which will hold its inaugural Busch Series event this Saturday, is the fourth track this year Biffle has never raced on competitively before. There will be a few more, including Talladega Superspeedway, the week following Nashville.

Biffle has usually had notes to rely on from Roush Racing teammates Mark Martin and Jeff Burton when it comes to a new place for him. Not this time. No teams were able to test there, so on Thursday, there was an open test session.

"We’re going to be on our own figuring this track out," said Biffle, who qualified fourth on Friday. "Actually, I’m kinda excited about it. It’s our first time out on our own, so to speak, so it will be interesting to see how well we adapt to the track and how well everyone else does."

Photos

  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Menard Back in Victory Lane
  • Menard Back in Victory Lane
  • Menard Back in Victory Lane
  • Menard Back in Victory Lane
  • Menard Back in Victory Lane
  • Menard Back in Victory Lane
  • Menard Back in Victory Lane
  • Menard Back in Victory Lane
  • Buckle Up 200
  • Buckle Up 200
  • Buckle Up 200
  • Larson Captures Charlotte Win
  • Larson Captures Charlotte Win
  • Larson Captures Charlotte Win
  • Larson Captures Charlotte Win
  • Larson Captures Charlotte Win
  • © 2014 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites