Monday, August 20, 2012

Roush Fenway Rewind: Biffle earns Roush a win in his backyard

Race winner Greg Biffle shakes it up in victory lane.
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR
Every race is important, but winning in your own backyard - not much beats that. Greg Biffle took his Roush Fenway 3M Ford Fusion to victory lane at Michigan, just a stone's throw from Livonia and Roush's businesses. This win is the 12th for the team. They now hold the record for most wins at the track, breaking a tie with the Wood Brothers Racing team.

"It is fun to race in front of the home crowd," Roush said. "We have two suites here and our biggest hospitality of the year for the two Michigan races of any race track venue that we do hospitality on for Roush Industries. That is important. My most important race is my next one and I will go to bed tonight not thinking about what happened today, but worrying about what will happen at Bristol when we go into that crash fest we are going to have down there."

For the Roush team, this is a very important year with change on the horizon. For starters, Matt Kenseth is leaving at the end of the season, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slated to fill his seat in 2013. At this point it's unkown whether Carl Edwards will make the Chase or not, and after a late season crew chief change, who will be atop the box long term? And finally, who is going to bring home the third championship to Roush Fenway Racing - Greg Biffle or Matt Kenseth?

Greg Biffle, No. 16 3M
Started: 13th
Finished: 1st, WINNER!
Points: 1st

Greg Biffle maybe a silent threat for the 2012 Sprint Cup championship. After his win today all eyes will be on Biffle headed into the Chase. It's still early, with three races to go until the Chase begins but Biffle's win today lengthens his lead over teammate Matt Kenseth.

Although Biffle only led 26 laps in the race, come Chase time he will be a contender. The No. 16 team has wins at five of the Chase tracks: Loudon, Dover, Kansas, Texas and Homestead. In the words of John Roberts, "stick with Da Biff!"

"Drove hard today happy for my team, so proud of what they've been doing... Can't wait to see my family miss them," Biffle said via Twitter.

In post-race media conferences Biffle was asked what this win means as the Chase nears. “Well, I know that a lot of people don’t expect us to win the championship and don’t expect us to compete for the title but I don’t care what they say or who they want to talk about or what they want to talk about. We will be a factor when it comes down to Homestead. I promise you that.”

Matt Kenseth and Trevor Bayne talk during qualifying.
Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR
Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Fifth Third Bank
Started: 4th
Finished: 17th
Points: 2nd (-20)

Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Fifth Third Bank team had a strong run, although their 17th place finish did not reflect that.

After running in the top five for the first half of the race, Kenseth was forced to pit road with a flat tire. Losing a lap, he battled back to take the lucky dog position and get back into the top 20. Finishing the day in 17th, Kenseth is now 20 points behind teammate Greg Biffle as they both fight to bring home another Cup Championship for Roush Fenway.

Kenseth took to Twitter after the race: "Tough day for team 17. Congrats to #thebiff on the win!"

“We just didn’t really pit for fuel at the right time, but Greg was on the same strategy and won the race," Kenseth said. "We kept getting stuck in the wrong lane on restarts and had some subpar pit stops and had a flat tire and just couldn’t recover from that."

Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images
Carl Edwards, No. 99 Geek Squad
Started: 2nd
Finished: 6th
Points: 12th (-134)

Three races to go and three chances to win, or the Chase goes on without Carl Edwards.

Running in the top ten, Edwards took the green flag for the final restart in third and in desperate need of that win. As cars went three and four wide, he lost a bit of track position to finish the day in sixth.

“We just had a lot of fortune there to get the opportunity on the last restart to make it happen," Edwards said. "I am glad a Ford is in victory lane. It is big for Greg to win here and Jack and everyone. It is big for Ford, they deserve this. We showed everyone we could do it. We were as fast or faster than Greg was the whole second half of the race. It is just a matter of getting it done now.”

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