Biffle, Edwards Hoping for Michigan Magic

Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards

Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards have combined for six NASCAR Sprint Cup wins and 27 top-10s in 39 starts at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)

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BROOKLYN, Mich. - This 2-mile oval, nestled among dozens of lakes and numerous parks in the Irish Hills, provides a special elixir.

Not far from stagecoach path that whisked people from Detroit to Chicago in five days, sits Michigan International Speedway and all its wondrous powers - at least for Roush Fenway Racing.

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Michigan for the final time this season, Roush’s drivers - particularly Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle - are hoping this track can reinvigorate their seasons and lead them toward the Chase and a championship.

Twelve previous times Roush cars have won at Michigan. No other Cup team has been as successful.

Biffle, who has won the past two Michigan races, could use such good fortune again. His Chase hopes are teetering. Four races before the Chase field is set at Richmond, Biffle is ninth in the standings but only four points ahead of 11th. He has one victory and that could help him earn a Wild Card spot should be fall out of the top 10.

He’s slumped lately, finishing 15th or worse in five of the last six races.

“One thing we have learned over the last little bit about the car is that it is much more finicky than the old car was,’’ said Biffle, who will start Sunday’s race 16th. “If we are off a tiny, tiny bit with this car, it goes from running the top five or top eight to running 25th.’’

Sunday’s visit to Michigan comes at the right time for a driver looking for good results. He’s finished in the top five in four of his last six starts, including the two wins. He’s led laps in each of those six races.

“We need to finish where we are running, and (we) are struggling with that some,’’ Biffle said. “The next four weeks are going to be about who is on the plus side of that. We are in the middle of the bees nest, and we understand that. All we can do is get the best finishes we can for the next four weeks.’’

Michigan holds additional memories for Edwards. It was here in Aug. 2004 when Edwards made his first Cup start, finishing 10th. It was here that Edwards won in 2007, snapping a 52-race winless streak. He’s placed in the top 10 in four of the last six Michigan races.

He’s won a race this season and is third in the points but said as recently as Pocono that his team still had more room to grow to be a championship contender. Another key for the team is the development with crew chief Jimmy Fennig in their first year together.

“I was actually talking to some folks ... that listen to the races on the radios and (they say) I am starting to understand Jimmy,’’ said Edwards, who qualified 19th. “It is true. We are starting to communicate better. I think for a little while he didn’t really understand what I was saying. He understood but not to the degree of me being loose or tight. I think we both have more faith in each other than we ever have. It is coming together really well in my eyes.’’ 

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