Notebook: Biffle unforgiving after being nudged
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Greg Biffle's racing day came to an early and frustrating end Sunday when he was nudged from behind by Kurt Busch and spun out control.
Biffle, who won the Nextel Cup race at Texas last April, was running well again. He had already led 49 laps, and was working back toward the front of the field when he was knocked out of the race on the 83rd lap.
"When you're the guy that all you have to do is lift on the gas pedal a little bit and elect not to run into the car in front of you on the straightaway, that's pretty unforgivable," Biffle said.
Busch said he was only trying to get out of the way.
"He checked up on the straightaway," said Busch, who was a lap down at the time. "I had no place else to go."
Busch managed to finish the Samsung/RadioShack 500, but had to make several stops because of damage to his front end. He was 34th, 48 laps behind winner Kasey Kahne. Biffle was 42nd.
Biffle had an early 7½-second lead over Kahne before he pitted during the race's first caution and dropped to ninth. Biffle was headed back to the front when his car slammed into the wall so hard that the race had to be stopped for 10 minutes to repair the safer barrier.
Other than a scrape on his forearm, Biffle wasn't hurt.
Biffle also had a promising start at last fall's Cup race in Texas before running into disappointment. He went seventh to first in only 37 laps, but then had to go into the pit under green because of problems with the car. He ended up finishing 20th.
Gordon's Texas Troubles
Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon is 0-for-11 at Texas, one of only four Nextel Cup tracks where he hasn't won. He finished 22nd.
Gordon's problems Sunday included having to make a green-flag pit stop on lap 225 after a flat right rear tire.
Gordon finished no better than 25th in his first four Texas races. He was involved in crashes each time, including while leading the inaugural race in 1997. He had four straight top-five finishes before being 15th and 14th last year.
ESPN plans to pull out all the bells and whistles when NASCAR returns to the cable sports network in 2007.
"ESPN has really morphed or grown since we were last in the sport," said ESPN president George Bodenheimer, who was at Texas on Sunday. "We're really considered a multimedia network now. We're looking to take this property and blow it out, if you will."
The network will offer plenty of coverage in studio shows, analysis and a heavy online presence. Much of it has yet to be formalized, said Bodenheimer, also president of ABC Sports.
ESPN and ABC will broadcast 17 Cup races beginning in 2007, the first year of an eight-year contract the networks signed with NASCAR.
ABC was one of the first networks to televise stock car racing in the 1960s, and ESPN introduced flag-to-flag race telecasts in the 1980s. The network was NASCAR's leading carrier through the 1990s, but has not aired a race since 2000, when it lost the rights to NBC and Fox.
Bodenheimer said the return of NASCAR to ESPN marks an emotional reunion after both grew to national prominence.
The drivers ran under green for the first 64 laps of the race, a Cup record for 1½-mile Texas Motor Speedway. The previous record came in April 2002, when 37 laps were completed before the first caution ... Carl Edwards, who left Saturday's Busch race early due to engine failure, ran a sprint race Saturday night at a dirt track south of Fort Worth, finishing 10th. On Sunday, he wrecked in lap 257, spinning into the inside wall. ... Brian Vickers' Chevrolet was the first car to leave the race in lap 24, due to engine failure ... Cup rookie J.J. Yeley, who qualified at a career-best second, lost control of his Chevrolet and wrecked on lap 189. He finished 35th .... Even though there were some empty seats on the backstretch, an estimated 189,000 fans attended the race. The speedway has 159,585 permanent seats, and can fit several thousand more in luxury suites and in the infield. A second Cup race was added last year, and the series returns in November. ... A second display was added to the track's infield scoring tower to count down laps. NASCAR wants laps elapsed displayed, but TMS officials compromised and showed both numbers. ... By videotape, President Bush gave drivers the familiar command, "Gentlemen, start your engines." ... University of Texas football coach Mack Brown, whose team won the national championship, dropped the green flag. He received a mixture of cheers and boos during introductions.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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