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Biffle off to more promising start in 2012 than last year

By admin | March 6, 2012

By Richard Allen

 

Granted, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is only two races into a 36 race schedule, but so far in 2012 Greg Biffle is off to a much better start than he experienced in what proved to be a disappointing 2011 campaign. In both the season opener in Daytona and the follow-up race in Phoenix, Biffle had logged 3rd place finishes to put him 2nd in the overall series standings.

Last year, Biffle and his Roush Fenway Racing team dug themselves an early hole they were never quite able to extricate themselves from when they posted finishes of 35th and 20th in the season’s first two events. Ultimately, the driver of car #16 went on to miss the Chase for the Championship and post a 16th place result in the final series standings. Biffle had qualified for the Sprint Cup ten race playoff in each of the three seasons prior to 2011.

In the season opening SpeedWeeks at the Daytona International Speedway, Biffle showed that he and the other RFR Fords will be a force to be reckoned with on the two restrictor plate tracks in 2012. The Vancouver, Washington native finished 6th in the Bud Shootout and 5th in his Gatorade Duel qualifying race.

But it was in the Daytona 500 itself where ‘The Biff’ and his team demonstrated their real strength. Pushing Matt Kenseth over many of the late laps, Biffle and his RFR teammate held off multiple challenges on restarts and under normal green flag conditions to put themselves in position to battle for the win in the biggest race on the NASCAR schedule. Ultimately, Kenseth would take the victory with Biffle settling for 3rd after Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was able to get around coming to the checkered flag.

But the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway offered a far different challenge than that of the 2.5 mile Daytona track. In the desert, Biffle showed no signs of weakness coming away from restrictor plate racing.

After posting a solid 7th place qualifying effort, Biffle remained in contention for much of the day and eventually followed Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick to the finish of what proved to be a fuel mileage stretch run at the end.

It is impossible to make any real judgments of a driver and team’s overall strength after only 1/18th of the season has been completed. But last year at this time, Greg Biffle and his RFR crew were 28th in the standings and they never really recovered on their way to a winless season effort. So far in 2012, they are off to a more promising start.

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