<
>

Biffle led 219 laps after starting in back

4/18/2005

FORT WORTH, Texas -- It took Greg Biffle a little while to overcome the mental and physical discomfort from a crash in
practice at Texas Motor Speedway.

It took hardly any time at all for him to make the rest of the
field feel bad in Sunday's Samsung/Radio Shack 500.

"I was sore when I went to bed, sore when I woke up and I'm
still sore,'' said Biffle, who ran over debris on the track during
a Nextel Cup practice on Saturday, cutting down the right front
tire and slamming into the wall on the fast 1½-mile oval.

"It's been in the back of my head thinking about it ever since,
but it hasn't slowed me down.''

After charging from the rear of the 43-car field in a backup
car, the Roush Racing driver was overpowering Sunday, leading 219
of 334 laps to grab his second victory of the season and the fifth
of his career.

"As soon as I caught my breath after the crash, I told the guys
I was OK and to get the backup out,'' Biffle said. "They did an
incredible job of getting that car ready. I want to thank all the
guys from the other (Roush) teams. There were probably five or six
different color uniforms over there working on getting that car
ready.

"It was a good thing we still had some practice time left
because I was a little nervous when I went back out there, a little
intimidated thinking about that tire going down and hitting the
fence. But I was confident we'd have a good car in the race.''

Fortunately for Biffle, his backup No. 16 Ford was the same car
in which he won earlier this season in California, so he wasn't too
concerned about being competitive.

He picked off cars two and three at a time early in the race,
moving all the way to 15th by lap 26, slipping into the top a few
laps later. He took the lead for the first time on lap 87.

Biffle kept pulling away from the rest of the pack, but the race
was slowed by 11 caution flags, keeping him from turning it into a
rout.

The leaders made their final pit stops on lap 298 after Tony
Stewart's engine blew, setting his Chevrolet on fire and bringing
out the yellow flag. Stewart sustained minor burns to his right leg
and right arm and was treated and released at the infield medical
center.

Casey Mears, who had been running a distant second to Biffle,
took only two tires during his stop and beat Biffle out of the pits
to grab the lead.

There was an aborted restart on lap 304 when Dave Blaney spun
between the first and second turns, but the green flag was
displayed for the final time on lap 309. It took Biffle just three
laps to work to the inside of Mears' Dodge and regain the lead.

"We might have had something for him with four tires there at
the end, but we were making the call to try to win the race, not
finish second,'' said Mears, who was also in a backup after
crashing on Friday in the opening practice. "I tried to run the
bottom and we just couldn't run fast enough.''

After Biffle regained the lead, it was no contest. He pulled
away to win by 3.244-seconds -- about 20 car lengths ahead of
runner-up Jamie McMurray, Mear's teammate. Biffle is the ninth
winner in as many Cup races at Texas. He had not finished better
than 28th in two previous Cup races here.

Series points leader Jimmie Johnson was third, with Mears fading
to fourth -- matching his career best. Johnson has finished in the
top 10 in each of his seven starts this season. He came into Sunday
leading runner-up Biffle by 160 points and will go into next
Saturday's race at Phoenix 135 ahead of the race winner.

Johnson was followed by Sterling Marlin, another Ganassi entry,
and Michael Waltrip.

Kurt Busch, the defending series champion, ended a string of
crashes in three straight Cup races by finishing seventh, while
former Texas winner and fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. was ninth.

Jeff Gordon, who was coming off a victory the previous week at
Martinsville and was trying to win for the first time at Texas, was
never a factor, finishing 15th.