Texas could be big opportunity for Greg Biffle

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With the Chase Grid steadily filling up early on in this 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, the talk has shifted to the formidable competitors that have yet to lock themselves into the postseason with a win.

Six different drivers have won in as many races this season, and guys like Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, and Jeff Gordon will be threats to become the seventh in Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

But let’s not forget about Greg Biffle, who surely must be motivated a little bit after seeing Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards effectively make the Chase a few weeks back at soggy Bristol.

“The Biff” is the most recent RFR winner at Texas, claiming his second career win on the 1.5-mile oval back in the spring of 2012.

Furthermore, he’s been steady at this track with 10 Top-10 finishes in his last 11 Cup starts there; the one time he didn’t hit the Top 10 in that span was last fall’s race and even then, he wasn’t far off in 12th.

He may not immediately pop into your head as a contender for this weekend like Kenseth, Johnson, or Gordon, but he definitely bears watching.

“As a team we are looking to gain momentum, get back on track and get a good run at Texas,” said Biffle, who has led 733 laps at TMS in his career (a personal best for him and No. 2 overall).

“A win is important for us at this stage in the game, but so is a Top-5 finish and to run competitively. I feel really good where we are at; leading laps at Martinsville was great for us. We just need to close the deal and this is one of our best tracks.”

Biffle can say that for his entire RFR team as a whole. NBCSN analyst Jeff Burton won the first Sprint Cup race at Texas back in 1997 for the Roush camp, and since then, they’ve earned eight more Cup wins at TMS.

And when you talk about all three NASCAR national series – Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck – RFR drivers have netted 18 wins, 74 Top-5s, and a total of 3,478 laps led at TMS.

But the big key will be whether RFR can find its intermediate track groove again. In the series’ most recent race on a 1.5-mile oval at Las Vegas, Edwards earned a strategy-assisted Top 5 while Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished in mid-pack.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.