Phoenix a welcome stop for West Coast native Biffle

Greg Biffle just loves Phoenix. The area, the fans … and the racetrack. With two Busch wins and seven top-10s at PIR, he's a favorite every time out, writes Rupen Fofaria.

Updated: April 18, 2007, 2:56 PM ET
By Rupen Fofaria | Special to ESPN.com

Roush Racing has always boasted a stellar track record at Phoenix International Raceway, but Greg Biffle's Busch Series mastery of the tri-oval is nothing short of dominant.

Greg Biffle
Michael Norris/Icon SMIGreg Biffle on racing at Phoenix: "We're definitely going for another win here."

With two wins, five top-5 finishes and seven top-10s, Biffle is a favorite every time he steps onto the West Coast 1-miler. This year, he's looking for a turnaround at Phoenix. Following a week off, Biffle headed to Texas -- a venue where he's won in a Truck and Cup ride -- and finished 36th after his engine failed. That dropped him from eighth to 19th in the standings.

But for the full-time Cup driver, points aren't as important as winning in the Busch Series. And Phoenix is one place where Biffle always expects to win.

"I just love Phoenix," Biffle said. "I love this area and I love the fans out here. I like racing on the West Coast, especially at Phoenix where I've had some success. ... We're definitely going for another win here."

Biffle said the track layout and design just seem to suit him. It helps, though, that he so looks forward to coming to Phoenix. In addition to the frequent high finishes, Phoenix is where Biffle clinched his 2002 Busch Series championship.

"Phoenix is one of the most unique racetracks we visit all season," he said. "A lot of people compare it to an oval road course, because of the two very different turns and the dogleg on the backstretch. It has always been a very technical track that requires a lot of give and take.

"You are never going to be perfect on both ends, so the key is to find a balance. You have to have a good-handling race car, but you also need big horsepower to get off of the corner."

Hornish stock down

Sam Hornish Jr., who ranks fifth in IndyCar racing just 19 points out of the lead, is struggling in his stock-car endeavors. Hornish has averaged a finish of 21.5 in two Busch races this season.

Crew chiefs fined

NASCAR announced that Greg Conner, the crew chief of the No. 59 Ford driven by Marcos Ambrose, and Scott Zipadelli, the crew chief of the No. 47 Ford driven by Jon Wood, have been penalized for rule violations at Texas Motor Speedway.

Both were fined $2,000 for violating sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20A-12A (unapproved rear axle housing) of the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book.

The infractions were discovered during opening day inspection Thursday.

Ginn team in mourning

Scott "Budman" Kircher, a team member for Ginn Racing, died Saturday at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte after a motorcycle accident Friday in Mooresville, N.C. Prior to joining Ginn Racing for the 2007 season, Kircher worked at PPC Racing for six years.

Kircher, 45, was one of the transport drivers for the No. 14 team. He is survived by his wife, Lani, and daughters Katie, 21, and Lacey, 14.

Rupen Fofaria has covered NASCAR for ESPN.com since 2002. He can be reached at rupenisracin@yahoo.com.