Greg Biffle secured a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the fifth time in his career last night in Bristol. Despite battling an ill-handling 3M Bondo Ford Fusion for the majority of the night, crew chief Matt Puccia and the team were determined to use adjustments and pit strategy to turn things around. Biffle led a total of 42 laps throughout the race but had to settle for a 19th-place finish at the checkered flag. He was able to maintain the points lead by 11 points over Jimmie Johnson.
Rain caused the cancellation of qualifying on Friday evening which put Biffle third on the starting grid because he was third-fastest in practice. Shortly after the start of the race, Biffle reported that the Bondo Ford was tight entering and through the center of the corners but loose on exit. The 3M pit crew made several adjustments during two pit stops over the course of the first 150 laps.
Biffle took the lead on lap 227 by staying out during a caution but maintained the lead for 28 laps. On lap 270 Biffle reported that the Bondo Ford needed to be a little looser and took the opportunity to pit under caution for a wedge adjustment and four tires. He restarted 15th as several drivers were on different pit cycles and had stayed out.
On lap 352 Biffle was back in the lead because of the various pit cycles but again maintained the lead for several laps. A caution on lap 413 allowed Biffle to make what he hoped would be his final pit stop of the night for two tires and fuel. Unfortunately, shortly after the restart it was clear that the Bondo Ford was tight on two new tires and Biffle was unable to make up any ground from his 13th-place restart position.
When a caution came out on lap 435, Biffle and Puccia decided to pit for four tires and a wedge adjustment to try make the car faster in the closing laps. Biffle restarted 21st but was only able to pick up two positions before the checkered flag for a 19th-place finish.
“It feels really good to be locked in (to the Chase) with two races to go,” said Biffle. “It was a tough night here, but we did lock ourselves in and still have the point lead. This wasn’t the run we were looking for. We pitted at the end to try and make the car better and learn something, but it was probably the wrong thing to do because we lost about eight spots. We weren’t gonna win, so we thought we might as well try what we can.”