Twenty races into a 36-race season, no Ford driver has won. Biffle’s third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Brickyard 400 left him and others with a bit of optimism for the future. It was his best finish of the season, surpassing a fourth at Bristol in the season’s fifth race.
Ford’s new engine, the FR9, is now fully implemented, and that, in Biffle’s eyes, is another encouraging sign.
"I’m really proud of the guys and this engine program," he said. "This engine ran really good today, but I want to win one of these things. We had the fastest car, but the fastest car doesn’t always win. We’ve just got to take some chances to win some of these races, I guess."
Noting that stock-car racing has rewarded aggressiveness more than in past years, Biffle cited the impact of the current chassis design.
"These cars inherently take a little more abuse than the old car did," he said. "This thing is built, I don’t want to say like a battleship, but it’s built a little tougher than the old car. The old car, if you got in the fence a little bit and scraped it up, you had problems. ... This car can take a little bit more and keep going."
Biffle, 40, is a native of Vancouver, Wash. He debuted at NASCAR’s highest level in 2002 with a 13th-place finish at what is now Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The first of 14 victories occurred on July 5, 2003, at Daytona.
Only Biffle and Johnny Benson have won championships in what are now known as the Camping World Truck and Nationwide series. Biffle was the Truck titlist in 2000 and the Nationwide champ in 2002.
Biffle also is a former Raybestos Rookie of the Year in both support series. In 2003, he finished second in the (now) Sprint Cup rookie standings to the driver who won the Brickyard 400, Jamie McMurray.
In 2005, Biffle finished second to Tony Stewart in the Cup standings, and in 2008, he finished third.
At present, Biffle stands 11th in the Cup point standings. Entering the final six regular-season races, he is 78 points ahead of 13th place. Only the top 12 make the series’ championship-determining Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Monte Dutton has covered motorsports for The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette since 1993. He was named writer of the year by the National Motorsports Press Association in 2008. His blog NASCAR This Week (http://nascar.rbma.com) features all of his reporting on racing, roots music and life on the road. E-mail Monte at email@example.com.