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« Johnson, Knaus hit with penalties resulting from Daytona infractions | Main | Penalties against Knaus and 48 team were too severe »

Junior Nation has a new villain in Greg Biffle

By admin | February 29, 2012


By Richard Allen

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has throngs of fans, and throughout his career other drivers have found themselves on the receiving end of the ire of those fans when deemed necessary by the followers of the third generation competitor. Kyle Busch, in particular, has often served as the target of the so called ‘Junior Nation’ when he has run afoul of the sport’s most popular driver.

Now, however, there could be a new villain in the eyes of Junior’s faithful. As the laps wound down during Monday night’s running of the Daytona 500, the driver of the number 88 Chevrolet found himself in 3rd place locked onto the rear bumper of Greg Biffle’s Ford. The trouble for Junior was that just ahead of those two drivers was Biffle’s Roush Fenway Racing teammate and fellow Ford driver Matt Kenseth.

Earnhardt has not won a points paying Sprint Cup race since 2008 so the multitudes were no doubt anxious to see their man back in victory lane. However, the opportunity to make a race winning move never really materialized as Biffle remained tucked in line behind his teammate as the cars approached the checkered flag.

Ultimately, Junior was able to get around Biffle for 2nd but Kenseth held on for the most prized victory in stock car racing.

Almost immediately after the race’s conclusion, the social networking sites lit up with criticism of Biffle for not attempting to make a move around Kenseth, and much of that criticism was coming from fans of Earnhardt. It was believed by some that Biffle’s seeming lack of effort cost their favorite a chance to win the race as the top-3 had developed a bit of a cushion over the rest of the field which provided the 88 car with no other drafting options.

For his part, Junior understood Biffle’s predicament. “I’m pretty sure that if I know Greg, if he had an opportunity to get around Matt and had a chance to win the Daytona 500, he would have took it immediately,” the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. “He’s trying to do what he could do.  If I were him, I can’t imagine what his game plan was in his head, but if I were him, I would have tried to let me push him by and then pull down in front of Matt, and force Matt to be my pusher and then leave the 88 for the dogs.”

However, there remain a number of folks who are convinced that Biffle did not really give his best effort on the last lap of the sport’s biggest race. “I think Greg Biffle is a coward for not pulling out and trying to pass his teammate,” declared one reader who commented on another post from this website. “You do not get many good shots at a win like he did and to just follow him like that was inexcusable for a driver to do!”

I have a feeling this person comments on behalf of many others.

Not surprisingly, Biffle saw things differently. “Not really sure why people think I wouldn’t pass Matt Kenseth for the win but I never lifted or touched the brakes for the last 2 laps!!” he posted on Twitter the day after the race.

Of course, there is at least some reason to believe team orders might have been in place among the RFR drivers late in the event. That team was the subject of much speculation and criticism after the October race in Talladega last year when Jack Roush had supposedly delivered the edict that those drivers who were using Roush Yates Engines were to assist each other in the tandem drafts first and foremost.

The bottom line would seem to be in this case that the most popular driver in the sport of NASCAR racing was in a position to win the most important race on the schedule but he, like any other driver, could not win it without help. And it was never likely that the two teammates in front of him were going to jeopardize their organization’s shot at victory.

For that reason, it could well be that Greg Biffle will not receive the warmest of receptions in many upcoming Sprint Cup driver introductions.

Topics: Articles |

13 Responses to “Junior Nation has a new villain in Greg Biffle”

  1. Charles Says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Richard

    Every team does team orders..not just Jack Roush…Hendrick is probably the one who does it the most! I remember Jeff Gordons first win at Daytona and all the Hendrick cars lined up and past Bill Elliot for the win!!!!!!!

    Greg Biffles car would not run with Matt Kennesth plain and simple..infact Jr was just lucky that Greg brought him along for the ride…….

    Turning Biffle into a villian is not what Jr wanted too..as he stated he did want to mess up Gregs chance to win the Daytona 500 and that was his quote.

    Kennesth led the last 37 laps they had many restarts with both cars side by side..Kennesth engine was stronger not Greg will to win…

  2. Russ Says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 8:36 am

    There are other ways to slow down on a superspeedway without hitting the brakes or lifting.

    Roush has not been noted for his tolerance of employees who go against the companies best interest.

    The 17 needs sponsors, the 16 doesn’t so who would they prefer to win?

  3. Overra88ted Says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Just another excuse for Dale Jr., who has become nothing more than a highly paid journeyman driver.

  4. Charles Says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Richard

    Not trying to sound negatative..but would be great to hear a shoutout and salute of Matt Kenneseth win in the Daytona 500!

    Some how the press never credit him like some of the others..his drive to win this race against odds was great, he won one of the 125 milers as well, pass Biffle on the last lap to win!

    Plus he won the last real point title under the old system..if that had been some of the other drivers that won the Daytona 500 all you could hear is ‘what a determined effort”, “man did he drive the wheels off that car”, he sure knew how to ’sidedraft’… instead of dismissing it or playing team orders!

  5. Jesse Says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Did you notice in the delay of the 500 fans trying to get the drivers to come over to the fence and Carl Edwards was the only one that went over, the drivers don’t care about you, and there was just a few not thousands at the fence. Jr just waived and walked on as most of the drivers did. Sad

  6. Jim Baker Says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Junior should have linked up with Hamlin, Biffle couldn’t shed Junior and he couldn’t catch Kenseth. Junior thought Biffle would dive in front of Kenseth as soon as they drafted past Kenseth, so Junior was waiting a long time to go in hopes that he could three wide it around Biffle as soon as Biffle got to Kenseth’s bumper. Kenseth decided to try to go on his own and he had the car to do it. Biffle and Junior couldn’t even get close enough to Matt to pull out on him. Great race and great win for Kenseth! Junior got second out of a fourth place car(Hamlin was faster than Junior), so he had a great race too. Biffle was the sitting duck and he knew it as soon as he lost touch with Kenseth and ended up with a car that couldn’t push him past Matt. Anyone think he didn’t want to stay on Kenseth’s bumper? He would have been in the catbird’s seat and Junior would have had to hope Hamlin could push him past the two fastest cars on the track. The number 17 just had them all covered this time. That was my take on the finish.

  7. jay Says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    over88ated, how is a driver who’s driven for just two teams in thirteen years a journeyman driver?

  8. Offkilter Says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Charles, jr was lucky biffle brought him along for the ride? The 88 pushed the 16 for about a full lap and then pulls out and passes at will in the last corner. If the 88 is just along for the ride, that one car pass would not have happened. Who really knows if the biff was sandbagging or hammer down… either way he came out looking bad.

  9. Charles Says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Offkilter

    Why didnt he pass Biffle earlier??? and have a chance at Kennseth!! Why didnt they catch Matt then?

    Thought two cars were faster than one…Matt just had them covered…

  10. Overra88ted Says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Jay… Are you a newbie? The only win Jr. has had since 2006, was when Na$crap let him embarrassingly and illegally pass the the pace car three (3) times under caution so he could win at Michigan. It is six, that’s 6 years since Jr. actually won a real race. The only reason he got to resign with HMS was because of his last name. He had no place else to go after 2013.

  11. cliff Says:
    March 2nd, 2012 at 12:13 am

    where was the HMS car’s in the garage.. JR placed second highest chevy..35 more races too complain about JR..doesnt make sense i was at the race..was kick ass till that firery crash..the crowd was worried at JR they was worried about the jet dryer driver..

  12. Offkilter Says:
    March 2nd, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Charles, he was pushing the 16 to get to the lead… Pass too early and it becomes a race for 2nd through 10th.

  13. earl lewis Says:
    March 2nd, 2012 at 7:59 am

    If jr had got beside kenseth , after he got around biffle, the 88 car was lacking horsepower all race. It seemed like Matt had 20 more horsepower than jr did. I do not know why ever time we race at daytona, or talladega, jr’s named is EVEN MENTIONED??? Jr does not have the most wins of ACTIVE drivers on superspeedways!!! Jr does run DECENT at these tracks.. I cannot believe rick hendrick RESIGNED him for another 5 yrs!! Hendrick Motorsports does not need him!! They should have already THROWN him out the door !!!

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