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Biffle Is ‘Two’ Fast For The Field; Wins At Pocono

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 1 2010

Crew chief Greg Erwin, left, and his driver, Greg Biffle, used a two-tire pit stop to win at Pocono on Sunday. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Greg Biffle used a two-tire pit stop during the final pit stop of the day to get the lead and then the win in the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway Sunday afternoon.

Tony Stewart finished second and Carl Edwards – Biffle’s Roush Fenway Racing teammate – was third.”This one’s for Jack,” Biffle said, referring hospitalized team-owner Jack Roush, over his radio as he crossed the finish line.

Biffle, whose last previous victory had come at Dover in 2008, entered the pits after a lap-35 crash in fourth place, but the three ahead of him – Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya and Stewart took four tires.

Sam Hornish Jr. did not pit and had the lead for the final restart, which came on lap 21. Biffle soon dispatched of Hornish, quickly stretched his lead to several seconds and cruised to an easy victory.

The victory was the first for Ford in 2010.

“It was mostly engine. I abused the crap out of it all day,” Biffle said in Victory Lane. “Ford’s running really good.”

Biffle said he could victory coming in recent weeks.

“It’s been really tough,” he said. “We’ve worked so hard. RPM and all the guys over there have helped us and it’s been a team effort. The guys at the shop, everybody has been working really hard on these cars. We had a great run at Chicago, a great run at Indy and we came here and won. It’s a lot of everybody’s hard work paying off right now.”

Edwards, too, felt good about his day.

“It’s a long day, but that’s a Ford in Victory Lane,” he said. “Ford makes the best cars on the road and here at Roush Fenway Racing we’ve been working really hard on these Fords and it’s cool to see Greg get that victory. That’s a good run for us, that’s a great points run. I’ve got to thank Aflac and Scotts and all these fans for sticking around, but Aflac always has me under their wing. It’s cool they’ve been sticking behind us and, hopefully, we can make a run for this Chase and maybe we can get the next win. But that’s good for all of us. Get well, Jack.”

The race was marred by a scary late-race crash which resulted in a red flag period of about a half hour.

The crash started when Jimmie Johnson got into the rear of Kurt Busch. Busch veered up into the outside wall, was slightly clipped by Clint Bowyer, headed down into the infield grass and slammed into an unpadded metal barrier. A debris field of parts from Busch’s car – including an entire wheel assembly – was strewn across the track.

The scene behind Busch was even worse as the car of Elliott Sadler also came through the grass at close to 200 mph and slammed head-on into a metal barrier which was backed up by an earthen berm. Sadler’s car was demolished, its engine ripped from its mounts.

Sadler crawled out of his car and collapsed onto the track with the air knocked out of his lungs. His life was likely sparred by recent safety developments in the Car of Tomorrow and head and neck restraint systems.

“I’m OK. I’m a little sore, I think, from where the belts grabbed me,” Salder said after emerging from the infield care center. “It knocked the breath out of me pretty good, but it’s definitely the hardest hit I’ve ever had in a race car. These new cars are built to be safer and if I can get out of that and walk through that, I think it did its job.”

Asked what happened, Sadler said, “I saw smoke and some cars sideways up in front of me. I didn’t know what happened until I just saw a replay in the infield care center, but they started stacking up in front of us and everybody started slowing down and I started slowing down too, and somebody ran in the back of me. I have no idea. I haven’t seen the replay, but somebody just ran into the back of us and turned us inside through the wet grass into the guardrail, so I was along for the ride. It was a very hard hit. I’m a little sore through my chest and my stomach, but that’s from where the seatbelts did their job and grabbed me and kept me in the car, so I’m thankful for that.”

Busch, asked what happened, said, “Jimmie Johnson drove right through us.”

Over his radio, a shaken-sounding Johnson said the mistake was his and apologized.

Johnson also had to be disappointed with the day went priort to that. He led 96 laps and often had giant, several-second leads. But he fell backward and ended up 10th.

(This story will be updated shortly)

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 1 2010
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