Biffle posts fourth win of season

Monday, June 6, 2005

DOVER, Del. -- Greg Biffle says taming The Monster Mile is no easy chore -- even though it appeared that way as he cruised to his fourth victory of the season Sunday in a crash-littered MBNA 400.

"I almost wrecked a couple of times, but was able to save it," he said after his surprising run toward the top of Nextel Cup competition got a boost from the lopsided victory. "I got it where the wheel wouldn't turn and I got completely out of the gas. It was a miracle that I kept it off the wall."

Biffle did crash once, but it was after the race: As crew chief Doug Richert was explaining that Biffle "drove the wheels off the thing," the winner smacked the wall hard during his burnout celebration.

Car owners don't appreciate such damage to their expensive equipment, but Jack Roush was in a forgiving mood.

"It was excusable euphoria," he said.

When it mattered, Biffle was close to perfect, a driver taking advantage of NASCAR's new aerodynamic package that practically forces the racers to manhandle loose cars if they're to win.

"He's not happy unless he's sideways, and he was, several times," Richert said.

Biffle's series-leading fourth win of the season closed him within 46 points of pacesetter Jimmie Johnson. The victory in the $5.5 million race was Biffle's first at Dover International Speedway and the seventh of his career.

In a race slowed seven times for 33 of its 400 laps, Biffle won in part because he avoided traffic problems that resulted in hard crashes. Among those taken from the field were four-time Dover winners Jeff Gordon and Ricky Rudd, and Ken Schrader and Dave Blaney.

Until this year, Biffle was largely overlooked among drivers for Roush Racing, which also fields cars for NASCAR great and four-time Dover winner Mark Martin, series champion Kurt Busch, former champion Matt Kenseth and exciting youngster Carl Edwards.

But Biffle, 20th and 17th in the final standings in his two years on the circuit, leads them all this season.

The success of the organization comes as no surprise to Roush, mainly because he has drivers who like loose setups.

"Loose is fast," he said. "If you can hold it, there's a lot of speed in it. I've got a business partner who says it ain't bragging if you can do it."

Biffle made a decision to take four tires on his final pit stop under green while most of the others were saving time by taking two.

"I said, 'I want four tires, and I don't care what happens,'" he explained. "I was prepared to put four on and race for the win."

Biffle started second because rain prevented qualifying Friday, forcing the field to be set by car-owner points. He bided his time over the first half of the race, then passed Elliott Saddler for the lead on lap 241.

After that, the field became strung out, allowing Biffle an open track with few traffic problems. He wound up leading a race-high 150 laps on the high-banked concrete oval.

It was the fourth straight finish for Biffle in the top six, including a victory last month at Darlington.

Biffle's Ford beat the Chevrolet of Kyle Busch by 4.281 seconds. Martin was third, followed by Johnson in a Chevy and Rusty Wallace's Dodge.

Brian Vickers, Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Sadler completed the top 10.

The race marked the halfway point toward the 26-race cut, after which only the top 10 drivers or those within 400 points of the leader will contest the championship over the final 10 events.

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