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California Sets Up A Decision For Biffle And Team

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, October 9 2009
Greg Biffle and his team have a choice to make this weekend in California.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Greg Biffle and his team have a choice to make this weekend in California. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Ironically, Greg Biffle’s great run at Kansas Speedway, where he led 113 laps and finished third, poses a dilemma for him and his crew heading into this weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway.

Biffle told reporters this week that his team finally has found a chassis combination that helps his car turn in the corners.

“It’s a bump stop-and-shock combination,” he said. “It’s never one thing, so you’re afraid to change a bunch of stuff at one time. It’s like a security blanket, so we’re throwing different shocks at it, different bump stops, different wedge, and when you add all of these combinations up you get into no-man’s land that I don’t have a lot of experience with, so you don’t really know what to expect.

“Obviously, the result from Kansas was very promising and we feel like we’ve kind of hit on something that’s making our cars turn a little bit better.”

So what’s the dilemma?

Well, he nearly won at California earlier this year with his old set-up. So should he change to the new or stick with the proven?

He sounded like he’s still debating.

“I came very close to winning the spring race in California, and one would have to argue that if I wouldn’t have stopped on the air hose, I would have won that race,” he said. “I was leading, came in, and went out 14th and finished fourth, so do I throw away that set-up and just throw it in the garbage can and say, ‘This isn’t good enough,’ and start like we did at Kansas?

“There’s a fair amount of switching stuff over as far as shocks and bump stops and switching A-frames around, so it’s a commitment we have to make.”

It’s been a long time since any of the Roush contingent has been close to running good enough to duplicate their success from a year ago, when Carl Edwards set the pace with a league-leading nine Cup wins while Biffle had two, in the20first two races of the 2008 Chase.

So far this year, Matt Kenseth’s wins in the first two races of the season are all that’s keeping the five-driver Roush crew from being shut out for 2009. Even with his success at Kansas, Biffle is eighth in the standings for the Chase for the Sprint Cup and 114 points behind leader Mark Martin.

But he said the newfound speed, with his car and those of his fellow Roush drivers, makes him optimistic about a lot of upcoming races.

“We were a bit behind, and this is like the first time we’ve really been able to make it work,” he said. “Here’s the thing: (Jamie) McMurray was running up front (at Kansas) until he had a pit-stop issue. Matt (Kenseth) was running up front until he had an engine failure, and Carl (Edwards) was running up front until he had a speeding penalty…

“I think all of our cars ran fairly well and that makes me optimistic for going ahead in not just the next eight races, but the next 48 races.”

– Rick Minter can be reached at rminter@racintoday.com

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, October 9 2009
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