Biffle’s mission tonight at Richmond: Survive and make the Chase


Officially, two Chase spots will be up for grabs tonight in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway.

But it would take something big to keep Ryan Newman (+42 points over 16th) from entering the post-season; he needs a finish of 18th or better tonight, and that’s definitely doable for him and his No. 31 Richard Childress Racing bunch.

Which leaves Greg Biffle, the 16th-place driver on the Chase Grid, fighting for his post-season life.

To repeat his scenario in case you may have forgot: Biffle – who starts 17th this evening – can make the Chase by finishing 22nd or better if a repeat 2014 winner, winless Chaser Matt Kenseth, or Newman wins tonight’s race.

But if there is a new winner that isn’t Kenseth or Newman, Biffle must then outpoint Newman by 19 points and beat both Clint Bowyer (17th; -23 points behind Biffle) and Kyle Larson (18th; -24 points behind Biffle).

With 15 other drivers that can only go into the Chase with a win, the Federated Auto Parts 400 is sure to feature aggressive racing through the field. Biffle expects things to be hectic as he works to maintain his position on the Chase Grid for one more race.

“All those guys – the 1 [Jamie McMurray], the 42 [Larson], the 15 [Bowyer] and 27 [Paul Menard] – will all be trying and that is their last lunge for life to get in,” Biffle said yesterday. “Whether it is staying out and taking two tires or whatever, getting up there and blocking or running a guy out of the groove, they will do whatever they can to win to get into the Chase.

“We hope it is uneventful and one of the guys that have won already wins [the race], but I know that it is going to be dicey up front with those [winless] guys trying to get their win.

“The thing about it…It is a tough scenario for us to play. In one aspect, we don’t need to win to get in, but in the other aspect we do need to win to get in if one of those guys wins.”

Richmond has become one of Biffle’s tougher tracks. His ninth place finish in the September 2012 race there is his only Top-10 at RIR since 2006.

At the same time, Biffle has been humming along with five consecutive Top-10 finishes – a streak that has effectively forced Bowyer and Larson, the two guys behind him in the Chase standings, to consider Richmond as a must-win.

The turnaround has come at the right time for Biffle, and that has him believing he will be one of the final two drivers in the Chase after tonight.

“We’ve got a good car, probably the best car I have had in the last two or three years here which is a great confidence builder for us,” Biffle said. “We need to have a good solid night. I think we are capable of that…

“…We know what we have to do and we have a good car so far and we will keep our head up, pay attention and have a good night.”

IndyCar results, points after Detroit Grand Prix


DETROIT — Alex Palou topped the results of an NTT IndyCar Series race for the second time this season, extending his championship points lead with his victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who also won the GMR Grand Prix (and the Indy 500 pole position) last month, holds a 51-point lead over teammate Marcus Ericsson (ninth at Detroit) through seven of 17 races this season.

Ganassi, which placed all four of its drivers in the top 10 at Detroit, has three of the top four in the championship standings with Scott Dixon ranked fourth after a fourth at Detroit.

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Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden is third in the standings after taking a 10th at Detroit. Pato O’Ward slipped to fifth in the points after crashing and finishing 26th

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:


Click here for the official box score from the 100-lap race on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile street course in downtown Detroit.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 100, Running
2. (7) Will Power, Chevrolet, 100, Running
3. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 100, Running
4. (4) Scott Dixon, Honda, 100, Running
5. (13) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 100, Running
6. (12) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 100, Running
7. (2) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 100, Running
8. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 100, Running
9. (6) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 100, Running
10. (5) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 100, Running
11. (24) Colton Herta, Honda, 100, Running
12. (17) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 100, Running
13. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 100, Running
14. (20) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 100, Running
15. (15) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 100, Running
16. (18) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 100, Running
17. (25) Jack Harvey, Honda, 100, Running
18. (14) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 100, Running
19. (23) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 100, Running
20. (19) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 97, Running
21. (22) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 97, Running
22. (26) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 97, Running
23. (21) David Malukas, Honda, 85, Contact
24. (3) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 80, Contact
25. (27) Graham Rahal, Honda, 50, Contact
26. (10) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 41, Contact
27. (16) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 1, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 80.922 mph; Time of Race: 02:01:58.1171; Margin of victory: 1.1843 seconds; Cautions: 7 for 32 laps; Lead changes: 10 among seven drivers. Lap Leaders: Palou 1-28; Power 29-33; O’Ward 34; Palou 35-55; Power 56-64; Palou 65; Rossi 66; Newgarden 67-68; Kirkwood 69; Ericsson 70-76; Palou 77-100.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 273, Ericsson 222, Newgarden 203, Dixon 194, O’Ward 191, Rossi 176, McLaughlin 175, Power 172, Herta 149, Rosenqvist 148.

Rest of the standings: Grosjean 145, Kirkwood 142, Lundgaard 136, Ilott 116, VeeKay 108, Ferrucci 105, Armstrong 101, Rahal 99, Malukas 91, Daly 88, DeFrancesco 81, Castroneves 80, Harvey 78, Canapino 77, Pagenaud 72, Pedersen 61, Robb 55, Takuma Sato 37, Ed Carpenter 27, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Tony Kanaan 18, Marco Andretti 13, RC Enerson 5, Katherine Legge 5.

Next race: IndyCar will head to Road America for the Sonsio Grand Prix, which will take place June 18 with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.