Sunday, April 15, 2012

Roush Fenway Rewind- Biffle "Cowboys Up" and wins at Texas

Greg Biffle celebrates in Victory Lane
(Photo Courtesy of John Harrelson/Getty
Images for NASCAR)
Being in the points lead is a great feeling and all to him, but Greg Biffle said this week he was ready for a win.  The Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas proved to be the setting for that wish to come true. Biffle would take the checkered flag at the end of 500 mile race that had only two cautions and ran for 234 straight green flag laps.

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion, started the race on the outside of the front row. Biffle, driving the No. 16 3M Filtrete Ford Fusion, started one place behind him in 3rd position. Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion, began the race a few rows back from him teammates, in 20th position.

On Lap 31, Biffle would take the lead from pole-sitter, Michael Waltrip Racing driver Martin Truex Jr, with Kenseth taking the 2nd place spot by Lap 38. On Lap 40, Edwards would race his way to the 8th position.  From all indication this early in the race, it definitely looked like it was shaping up to be a "Roush Fenway Runaway," as Fox announcer Mike Joy worded it at the beginning of the race.

The two cautions of the race would prove to be both lucky and unlucky for the Roush Fenway drivers. The first caution (for debris) came right at the time Kenseth claimed he would need to pit, outside of the green flag window, due to a loose wheel.  Fortunately, the caution allowed him to pit with the other drivers on the lead lap and he would restart in 3rd.

The second caution came on Lap 95 when Trevor Bayne went into the wall. All three Roush Fenway drivers had a good pit stop on this caution, but Edwards had to make the choice to come back in to pit when he knew there was a possibility of loose lug nuts. While deciding whether to pit under caution and start back in 30th place or chance it and pit under green, Edwards told his crew, “Guys, we have to think Championship!” They made the decision to pit under the caution.

Other than minor track bar and wedge adjustments, the remainder of the race’s green flag pit stops would go relatively smooth for the Roush Fenway drivers. Biffle and Kenseth would never restart lower than 5th place and Edwards was able to gain positions with ease. By lap 304, he would be all the way into 11th position.

Despite all three drivers complaining at one time or another of being too loose, they would all fight the gusting wind around Texas Motor Speedway and handle their cars with ease.  With 30 laps to go, Biffle would retain the lead from Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson, who had led the pack for 156 laps. Thirty laps later, Biffle would obtain his 5th top-five of the season, this time taking the checkered flag. Kenseth would finish with a respectable 5th place finish and Edwards would race his way to a top-ten, finishing in 8th position.

It was evident to all watching that Biffle felt a weight being lift off himself when he performed a spectacular burnout, post-race, that left all the announcers (and fans on Twitter) impressed.  In Victory Lane, Biffle’s most poignant statement, beyond being glad he had  proved those who had stopped believing in him wrong, was to say, “I am so excited for my first win as a Dad!” Biffle was also overjoyed to be able to give crew chief, Matt Puccia, his first chance to celebrate in Victory Lane.

Greg Biffle smiles after Saturday night's win at Texas
(Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs)
With the 7th race of the season now in the books, Biffle is still atop the Sprint Cup standings, now with a win under his belt. Kenseth, who has also had a win this season, has moved up to 2nd, only 17 points behind his teammate. Edwards remains in 11th place, 58 points behind Biffle.

**Roush Fenway Rewind must also take a moment to celebrate the fact that it was, indeed, a “Roush Fenway Runaway” at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the full-time Nationwide Series driver for Roush Fenway Racing, took the checkered flag at TMS on Saturday, after an amazing performance during the race.

Top Tweets of the Week

Greg Biffle (@gbiffle)

“What a great job by my team to build me cars, make great pit stops and good calls by first time winning crew chief @mpuccia16 !!!!!”

Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth)

(Regarding the birthday of his spotter, Mike Calinoff) “Happy birthday to @MikeCalinoff I hope someone bought him a pair of glasses and a miracle ear. “

Carl Edwards

Despite my ploys to get him on Twitter, Edwards remains #TwitterlessCarl.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (@stenhousejr)

“Awesome job @gbiffle on the win!! @FordRacing@roushfenway Great weekend @TXMotorSpeedway#NoLimits #sweep #RFR25”


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