Biffle finds Victory Lane in the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
by Matt Taliaferro
The NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings have always been more consistency-based than win-centric. This season alone, two-time race winner Tony Stewart found himself third in the standings behind winless drivers Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Biffle and Earnhardt â both saddled with winless skids of 49 or more races â had employed the tried and true âtop-10 âem to deathâ method in 2012, each with four in six races.
However, Biffle separated himself at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday evening, scoring his first Cup Series victory since October 2010 in the Samsung Mobile 500.
âIt certainly doesnât hurt,â Biffle said of whether a win validated his position atop the point standings. âTo win like this and put a bunch of ground on the guys â all the cars behind us â that certainly makes a statement, I think, for all the people that were wondering if this was kind of a fluke that we were still leading the points this far in.â
Biffle assumed the points lead following the third race of the season, which marked his third consecutive third-place finish.
On Saturday, Biffle had to hold off a determined Jimmie Johnson, who now has only two wins in the last 50 races â a relative stat, yet one that opens eyes when itâs the five-time champion. Johnson led a race-high 156 laps, but was beat by Biffleâs slide job exiting Turn 4 with 31 laps to go. Johnson eventually skated up and into the wall while trying to catch Biffleâs No. 16 Ford, and limped to a second-place finish, 3.25-seconds behind the race winner.
âThe last two or three runs the 16 and I were pretty equal, run(ning) pretty similar lap times,â Johnson said. âI just got tangled up in some lapped traffic and (Biffle) made a great move and got by me. And then I was pacing him from there and didnât have anything left to go get him. I tried and ran out of grip going into Turn 3 and drilled the fence.â
Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 5.
The strong early-season performance of Michael Waltrip Racingâs three cars continued. Martin, who is splitting driving duties in the No. 55 Toyota with Brian Vickers, notched the teamâs second top 5 and fourth top 10 this year. Martin Truex Jr. turned heads once again with a sixth-place showing, his fifth top 10 in the No. 56 NAPA machine. Truex sits fourth in the point standings.
âThe teamwork Iâm feeling right now at MWR is second to none Iâve ever been at,â Martin said. âMartin Truex Jr., is really, really engaged, and heâs working hard to help the whole program.
âWeâre racing three cars to put two in the Chase for sure and win races and try to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Hendrick and Roush and those guys. Thatâs a tall order for right now. Iâm very proud of the results weâre getting. Itâs coming from a lot of good attitudes and hard-working people.â
The other storylines of the evening were a lack of cautions throughout the 500-mile race. Only two yellow flags â both for debris on the track â marred an otherwise spotless event that lasted just over three hours. The strength of the Texas wind also grabbed driversâ attentions.
âThe wind was a huge factor,â Biffle said. âThe wind was blowing you all over the place. I was swatting flies all night long. The wind was blowing the car back and forth and over ... that could be a factor in why there was no accidents. You would think that would cause one. Well, it made it so you couldnât really race side by side with a guy.
âI wouldnât run up on a guy coming off the corner like I normally would. Iâd leave more room because I wasnât sure when the wind was going to blow my car one way or another. I was cautious when I was around (other) cars, and I think probably everybody else was tonight.â
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