Biffle out for one spot better this time at Pocono

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Back in early June at Pocono Raceway, Greg Biffle collected a solid second-place result but admitted that his and the rest of Roush Fenway Racing’s race cars still needed some tweaking to become consistent front-runners.

WIth the Sprint Cup Series returning to the “Tricky Triangle” this weekend for the GoBowling.com 400, Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Ford Fusion, believes that this time around, he’ll be in better shape car-wise with a brand new chassis.

“We are working hard on our race cars – we’ve got more down-force than we did last time we were there,” said Biffle. “We know Turn 3 [at Pocono] is where they are beating us, so we are going to concentrate on that and get us another Top-5 finish.”

Biffle comes to Pocono looking to stop a recent slide that has seen him finish outside the Top-10 in the last four races: 34th at Kentucky, 17th at Daytona, 15th at New Hampshire, and 24th last weekend at the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.

Furthermore, while Biffle sits eighth in the championship and has one win to his credit this year, he’s barely leading a logjam of drivers trying to race their way into the Top 10 or a Chase wild card spot. Only 12 points separate him from defending Cup champion Brad Keselowski (no wins) in 13th place. Going deeper into the standings, Biffle is just one point up on ninth-place Kasey Kahne (one win), and six points up on 10th-place Jeff Gordon (no wins).

The battle to make the Chase has gotten tighter and tighter. We’ll see if Pocono helps Biffle stay ahead of a very hungry pack.

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

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Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.