Chase Capsules: Greg Biffle

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16 – Greg Biffle
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Crew Chief: Matt Puccia
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Best Finish: 2nd (2005)
Chase History: 7th Chase Appearance, Best finish of 2nd in 2005

Regular Season Recap: Three top-five finishes and 10 top-10s through the first 26 races are not stellar numbers, but prior to Greg Biffle’s 19th at Richmond Saturday night he had banked five top-10s in a r0w, so there was some upward momentum the last month or so. Biffle could afford to qualify better – he only has six top-10 starts this year – and that would help the No. 16 team on race days as well. He hasn’t won this year but was still one of three drivers to make it on points.

Chris’ Take: His strong run of Top-10 finishes ended last night at Richmond, but despite a sub-par race, Biffle managed to hold on to the final Chase spot by seven points. The good news for him is that he’s shown he can be consistent enough to at least escape the Challenger Round. The bad news is that his Roush Fenway Racing team is still a step or two behind the Hendrick, Penske, and Gibbs camps. Getting bounced in the Contender Round appears likely.

Jerry’s Take: Biffle has a history of rising to the occasion in the Chase. Remember the year he won the first two races in the playoffs (2008)? But The Biff will not have an easy time of it in this year’s Chase. Sure, he had five top-10 finishes prior to Richmond, but 2014 has been a year of constant struggles — not only for him but also for Roush Fenway Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Biffle has the talent to pull off a surprise or two in the Chase, but with the way Team Penske has been far outperforming RFR, don’t be surprised to see Biffle and Edwards have quick exits from the Chase.

Tony’s Take: It’s hard for me to see Biffle doing too much beyond advancing through the Challenger round, if that. As mentioned above, he’s been decent, but it will take a hot streak to make noise in this Chase. He was the 16th man in… he drives No. 16… it’s hard to see the finish much better than that. He is a three-time winner at Homestead, so if he does advance beyond projections, he could play spoiler.

Greg Biffle’s Career Statistics at Chase Tracks
Chicagoland (1.5 mile) – No wins, 1 Top-5, 1 Top-10 in 11 starts
New Hampshire (1 mile) – One win, 6 Top-5s, 9 Top-10s in 24 starts
Dover (1 mile) – Two wins, 6 Top-5s, 11 Top-10s in 24 starts
Kansas (1.5 mile) – Two wins, 7 Top-5s, 9 Top-10s in 16 starts
Charlotte (1.5 mile) – No wins, 5 Top-5s, 8 Top-10s in 23 starts
Talladega (2.66 mile) – No wins, 3 Top-5s, 6 Top-10s in 23 starts
Martinsville (half-mile) – No wins, no Top-5s, 5 Top-10s in 23 starts
Texas (1.5-mile) – Two wins, 8 Top-5s, 13 Top-10s in 21 starts
Phoenix (1 mile) – No wins, 5 Top-5s, 7 Top-10s in 21 starts
Homestead-Miami (1.5 mile) – 3 wins, 4 Top-5s, 5 Top-10s in 12 starts

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.