Biffle Feeling The Pressure

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Greg Biffle is starting to feel the pressure that comes with higher expectations.

Go back to last season’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and you will see a very different situation than the current one for the driver of the No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion. Last year, he was 87 points adrift from championship points’ leader Jimmie Johnson as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup traveled to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was a position that afforded him some relief going into the championship stretch, and led to the label of "championship contender."

Fast forward to this season and you will see a very different scenario.

Rather than fighting it out with Johnson at the top of the standings, Biffle is 44 points behind Tony Stewart for the final spot in the “Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.” It’s a position that doesn’t include the contender label, but comes with much higher tension.

"I feel the stress – this stretch. I just try to keep it out of my mind, basically, as much as I can," said Biffle. "I looked on the Internet the other day, just to look at the schedule, I kind of forget, later on, which races come where, and I see a thing about a poll: Who will make the chase and who won’t? I start reading some of the quotes and comments and I had butterflies in my stomach, because you’re wondering if you’re going to make it."

Not helping his “Chase” cause is the fact that unlike last year, when his Roush Racing team was the dominant force in NASCAR, other teams have caught up and possibly passed his five-car organization.

"I feel like we’re a little bit behind right now, as a company. A little bit, not much. We’re running decent, but we don’t have our share of wins, we don’t have our share, really, of top-fives, as a company. It’s obvious that the other teams have figured out – you know, getting the nose down on the race track better, this whole coil-bind issue, and all these other things – they’ve figured that out a little bit better than us and quicker than us. So, they’re a little better than we are right now."

Despite being behind, the former NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Busch Series Champion feels he has a good chance to make it inside the 10-driver threshold.

Aside from this weekend’s race at Indianapolis, where he feels that his cars aren’t on par aero-wise with those from Joe Gibbs Racing, Biffle is confident that he can be in position for victory for the remaining races leading to the “Chase” (Watkins Glen, Michigan International Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, California Speedway and Richmond International Raceway).

It’s that type of confidence that the 36-year-old is hoping to use to meet the high expectations and regain his championship contender label from last season.

"There’s no margin for error. For every top-six or -eight every race, if one guy close to us slips a little bit, that’s what we’re gonna need to capitalize. There are still five races (after Indy), so there’s not a lot of time, but I feel like we still have an opportunity to get our way in there."

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