Greg Biffle may have finished Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway in 19th place, two laps off the lead, but it was still enough to get Biffle into the upcoming Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Biffle joins Ryan Newman, whose spot was all but assured heading into Saturday’s race, as the final two entrants to fill out the expanded 16-driver Chase field.
Biffle will make his seventh career appearance in the Chase, ranked in the 15th position, with Newman 16th.
“It’s got to be the toughest race of my life,” Biffle told ESPN afterward. “Man, I drove so hard. We just missed the setup, our whole company did, myself, Carl (Edwards) and Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.).
“It was real frustrating. We had to finish 20th or higher. Tonight was not pretty, I drove as hard as I could and it was enough to get us in. It was all I could do.”
Added Newman, “Everybody’s stepped up. It’s time to step up even more now. We’ll go see if we can make the best of it.”
Biffle’s finish obscured what had been an outstanding last-ditch attempt by third-place finisher Clint Bowyer to make the Chase, only to fall short by seven points.
Bowyer had been in the Chase hunt until last Sunday night at Atlanta, when a broken transmission shifter relegated him to a 38th-place finish, dropping him 23 points out of the Chase.
“If you make the Chase, you get to compete for the championship, but truth be told, we’re not there right now,” Bowyer said. “We have to build on the momentum we had tonight. It’s definitely frustrating not to make it.
“The 2 and 24 (Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon) have pretty much been the class of the field this year. That was our best effort. That’s all I had. That’s all we had as our ace. We put it all out there and we were still third-best.”
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