LONG POND, Pa.
No, Greg Biffle will not drive for Richard Childress Racing next season. Biffle, 43, began his NASCAR career in the Truck Series with Jack Roush in 1998 and remains under contract through 2014.
When the driver of the No. 16 3M Ford read the rumors on Twitter, he was equally surprised.
“I’m hit or miss with Twitter, right,” Biffle said. “I follow it quite a bit and then I don’t. So yesterday over the rain delay, I’m just bored out of my mind — everyone was. I’m flipping through, reading some of the Twitter stuff and it’s kind of funny, that’s the first I heard of it last night when I read it on my Twitter account.
“You know how fans are, they’re like, ‘Hey, he should go over there. He’d be a great fit.’ But anyway, no, that’s news to me. We haven’t even started contract talks. We’ve had preliminary kind of talks around (sponsor) 3M extending but then again, we have over a year — a year and a half — left.”
Despite performance issues with the Generation 6 car for the Roush Fenway Racing Fords, Biffle, who is currently 13th in the point standings, acknowledges that he’s “really happy” with his current team.
“It’s not from a lack of effort,” Biffle said. “And that’s all I care about. We’ve got all the resources and tools and everybody is trying hard. Yeah, we’re scratching and clawing to get our head above water, but that’s all we can do.
“I’ve been here before. We’ll be back on top and winning races at some point. We just have to keep working hard at it.”
In 20 starts on the 2.5-mile ‘Tricky Triangle’ Biffle has one win, two top-five and four top-10 finishes.
When asked if Ford compromised current results for being the first manufacturer to debut the Gen 6 car in January 2012 before Toyota’s launch in May and Chevrolet in December, Biffle disagreed.
“Maybe it gave the other guys a look at your mousetrap before they built theirs, right,” Biffle said. “If you do your landscaping in your front yard and you say ‘Here’s mine,’ then your neighbor comes back and says, ‘I got to do better than that,’ to win the contest and then he does his better.
“At the same time, (the other manufacturers) couldn’t get ahold of our car. All they had were photos, but they couldn’t get wind tunnel data or anything else.”
Biffle has qualified for five Chases since the program debuted in 2004. Since he’s currently outside of the top 10 in the point standings, he would have to win a race or two to qualify for one of the two wildcard berths. But his last victory came in August at Michigan International Speedway with the old car. Although Roush’s Carl Edwards won at Phoenix in March and has maintained second in the point standings for the last five weeks, the driver of the No. 99 Ford concedes that if the Chase started next week, the organization would “be in a little bit of trouble.”
Still, both RFR drivers echo similar sentiments — a lack of horsepower isn’t the problem.
“It’s the old analogy of oval track racing,” Biffle said. “When I don’t have the gas down, I have zero horsepower, right? When the guy besides me has the gas down, he’s got 900. So how can you blame the engine if you don’t have the throttle down?
“The car has got to turn with the tires or not be sliding in the back before I can give it gas. If the guy beside you is driving like a slot car track — he’s stuck down there and has his foot screwed to the floor — there isn’t any amount of power that’s going to overcome that. We could have 100 more horsepower. We could do better, but we’re still not going to win or keep up until we get our cars handling. We’re getting close. We’re not that far off here. After the next practice, we might even be closer to it.”
Biffle and the No. 16 team made great improvements during both practices at Pocono Raceway on Saturday.
In first session, Biffle was 21st on the speed chart with a top lap of 172.582 mph. At the end of Happy Hour, the No. 16 Ford jumped to 11th (174.473 mph) —
CRY ME A RIVER
Pocono Raceway put NASCAR’s new Air Titan drying system to use Saturday but nothing was going to stop the weepers that kept popping up in Turn three during Sprint Cup practice.epers occur through the seams of the track when moisture comes up from the ground.
“You hit them and it’s worse than I remember them being as far as how it makes the car jump around,” said Tony Stewart, last week’s Dover winner. “I about lost it twice running through the water today.
“It’s like ice. It jumps the car around. You don’t see it. The hard part is you hit it and it makes the car jump out from underneath you. So, it’s a pretty hairy moment.”
Busch has an impressive record at Pocono with two wins, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 23 starts. Will Sunday be the race that Busch finally gets his breakthrough win for Furniture Row Racing?
“They keep bringing fast cars to the track,” Busch said. “It’s nice to be consistent week in and week out. Just a little warm on the brakes right now and a couple of other little maintenance items we’ll have to throw at the car because it will be warmer tomorrow with the sunshine out.
“Here at Pocono, it all feels foreign to me with only running once here last year with the new pavement. Now we have the fast car and have to piece it together for 400 miles. The key tomorrow is to maintain our pace late in the run.” #NFB