Greg Biffle hopes data from tire test, Coke 600 lead to improvement at Dover
If Greg Biffle and Roush Fenway Racing’s return to a Sprint Cup victory lane is to take place anywhere, it might as well be Dover International Speedway.
The three-car team of Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne has been mired in a two-season slump, a period that even includes two wins by Carl Edwards last year before leaving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
This season’s biggest step toward relevance came last weekend when Biffle finished second in the Coca-Cola 600 for his first top five in 2015 and RFR’s best finish since Edwards won at Sonoma last June.
Now the team goes to the “the Monster Mile,” where Biffle has two career wins and is ranked fifth in driver rating in the last 20 races at the 1-mile track.
Biffle also has a little bit of an advantage over the field. The 45-year-old driver took part in a May 12 test at the track .
“The test didn’t go as good as we’d like it to,” Biffle said Sunday. “But maybe we learned a little bit (at Charlotte) that can go along with that test and see if we can challenge (and) run in the top 10 again.”
Biffle has been flirting with success the past two weeks with a 12th-place finish at Kansas Speedway and a win in the first half of the 40-lap Sprint Showdown, the warmup event to the All-Star Race. Biffle said the steady rise came from “minor” changes in the setup of his cars.
“I can’t believe that we’ve missed that for a year, that we haven’t found anything to get our cars to go faster, and then we changed some minor stuff, and all of a sudden here we are,” Biffle said. “I’ve got my fingers crossed that we at least, with all the simulation and all the things we have, hopefully we can pinpoint what we changed and what made the difference and then continue to try and work in that same direction.”
Biffle’s last win at the track came in 2008 when he led a Roush sweep of the top three followed by Matt Kenseth and Edwards. Roush Fenway Racing has nine wins at Dover, the team’s third-most at Cup tracks.
In the 12 races at Dover since his last win there, Biffle’s best finishes have been third (2009), sixth (2010) and ninth (2013), and he has a driver rating of 97.4, which ranks behind Jimmie Johnson (122.3), Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Edwards.
“Track position and pit strategy are very important at Dover and so is keeping up with the concrete surface as rubber builds throughout the race,” crew chief Matt Puccia said in a release. “We learned some things at the Dover test a few weeks ago that helped us in Charlotte and should help us this weekend.”
So why not Dover?
If it doesn’t work out there, Biffle also has been eyeing the June 14 race at Michigan International Speedway. The two-mile track has hosted Biffle’s past two Cup wins.
Said Biffle: “I’ve got it circled now kind of on my calendar, because if we’ve got speed on these kind of tracks back again, that’s a good racetrack for us, so we’ll see how we stack up.”