After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year.
Running ninth on the final standings table this year was Greg Biffle…
No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford
2013 Stats: Ninth Place, One Win, 4 Top-5s, 13 Top-10s, 124 Laps Led
Average Start: 16.1
Average Finish: 14.4
Estrada Says: Biffle’s good start to the season (four Top-10s in the first seven races) was halted by three finishes outside the Top-30 in a four-race stretch between Richmond and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. When that was over, Biffle had tumbled from fourth to 13th in the championship. But he quickly got back in the Top-10 and then bolstered his run to the Chase with a win at Michigan in June that also served as car manufacturer Ford’s 1000th win in NASCAR. Once in the post-season, Biffle kept in the fight early with Top-10s at New Hampshire and Dover but was unable to continue the pace; he logged just one more Top-10 in the last seven events.
DiZinno Says: If it’s possibly to be merely “anonymously good,” that’s how I’d describe Biffle’s 2013 in total. He and the Roush Fenway Racing team were rarely bad enough to run outside the top 15, but they were rarely good enough to be a world beater. The Fords, in general, just weren’t on the same level it seemed as the Chevrolets and Toyotas in terms of outright pace, and Biffle was a perfect example of that. After three poles in both 2011 and 2012, he didn’t qualify fastest a single time this year. Additionally, I can’t help but wonder if the loss of Matt Kenseth to RFR had an impact on him. Biffle and Kenseth had worked together in the Roush family for more than a decade, and without that available setup and teammate to bounce ideas off of, I think there was a step back in performance.
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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