Confident Biffle Wins California
February 27, 2005 | 6:33 P.M. EST
He was wrong.
His Roush Racing Ford was in front on lap four.
But more importantly, Biffle was on the point on the money lap, the 250th circuit to take the checkered flag.
"I lost all the rear grip there with three (laps) to go," Biffle said. "I just barely touched, skinned it, two or three times there at the end and I was just able to keep it under me."
The win was his second in the last three series events, dating back to him victory in last season's season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
After dropping nearly a lap down early, Biffle worked his way back to the front and a late race call to stay on track under caution rather than pitting proved to be the move to ensure victory. Biffle raced by his teammate Kurt Busch on the 228th lap and held on the rest of the way to win.
"It wasn't a really hard decision," Biffle said of the move to stay out. "We had seven laps on the tires. These Goodyear tires that they brought here are a really good compound and it takes five laps for them to come in, so we only had a two-lap advantage by pitting. We knew a lot of guys were gonna two-tire, so why put ourselves in that position? We just went for it."
Jimmie Johnson made a late charge to finish second followed by Busch, Jamie McMurray and Carl Edwards. The finish gave car owner Jack Roush three cars in the Top 5.
"We should have been able to win that race," Johnson said. "I got tangled up with some slower cars and it knocked me up in the marbles and I lost too much ground."
McMurray gave Dodge its highest finishing spot and credited his team for the run.
"We just really messed with air pressure all day," he said. "All of the adjustments we made we kind of had to go back on. We just kept working on air pressure, and when you get out in clean air it’s just amazing how much faster you can go. I really didn’t think the guys without tires were going to be any good. I felt like we’d catch them and then the guys with four tires at the end would come on. It worked out for us. Clean air was more important today than ever."
Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin, Elliott Sadler, Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace rounded out the first ten. For Wallace, who is in his last NEXTEL Cup Series season, it was his second straight Top 10 run, although the veteran wasn't totally pleased with the day.
"I’m still wanting more," Wallace said. "That wasn’t a good run at the end. We didn’t take tires. We should have taken tires. We did everything wrong when it came to making tire calls today. We did two and we should have done four. We did none and we should have done four. We got our butt beat because of that. We’ve got a big problem with the nose right now. It’s packing rubber in it. Our motors are overheating like crazy. I feel like we’re going to have to ask NASCAR to get the top of the grille cut back a couple of inches and put some angle to it."
The NEXTEL Cup Series now takes a week off before heading to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 13th.