Roush Fenway Racing’s @gbiffle finished fourth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a bright spot in an otherwise dismal season.
Biffle and the No. 16 Kleen Performace Parts team used pit strategy to make the most out of the Sylvania 300 after starting the day 25th. With less than 100 laps to go, crew chief Matt Puccia made the decision to stay out during one of the race’s nine cautions. It put Biffle into the top-10 where the Ford driver went to work saving fuel.
Scored as the leader on a Lap 242 restart, second-place driver Brad @keselowski would be black flagged for restarting the race before Biffle. Eventually losing the lead, Biffle again went into fuel conservation mode. Fortunately, The fuel tank wouldn’t run dry until coming to the checkered flag, resulting in a fourth-place finish.
“I feel really good about this run, especially when we got out in clean air [and realized] how fast the car was,” Biffle said. “Our Ford Fusion ran really good, and we’re happy to have Kleen Performance on it this week, but we still have a little bit of work to do.”
“They were on a little bit better tires than we were, so they showed a little bit more speed than we did right there—the No. 4, the No. 11 and the No. 20—but I was trying to save a little bit of gas, too,” Biffle said. “I knew I had a long ways to go if we were going to make it that far, so it was a great run for us.”
One of the bigger storylines on Sunday was the restart between Biffle and Keselowski, which Biffle admitted afterward he wasn’t sure where the problem was.
“To be perfectly honest with you I didn’t notice. I saw [Keselowski] kind of going a little bit and I waited until about the middle of the zone maybe, I don’t know,” he explained. “I didn’t go right at the two marker, but I maintained my speed and I didn’t speed up or slow down. I took off when I felt like it was time for me to go.”
Biffle added, “He had a little bit of momentum on me kind of coming up, but he kind of sustained that and then when we both kind of went at the same time, I guess, but I honestly don’t know. I’ve got to take a look back at it. I feel bad for Brad. I wasn’t playing any games. I wasn’t doing anything. I just went in between those two marks like we’re supposed to.”
The solid finish is Biffle’s third top-five of 2015, a stat the Roush Fenway veteran wants to improve on. However, the impact of Sunday’s impressive run wasn’t lost on him.
“The team needed this,” he said. “We need to continue to work and try to make our cars a little bit better.”
Kristen Schneider is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
EMAIL KRISTEN AT firstname.lastname@example.org