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Biffle breaks Ford slump with win in Pocono

As team owner Jack Roush recovers in a hospital
Sunday, August 01, 2010

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The decision by Biffle's crew to take on only two tires on the final stop was the move of the race
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR
With his team owner at Mayo Clinic recovering from injuries sustained in a plane crash, Greg Biffle found the remedy for the ills of Roush Fenway Racing and Ford’s racing program.

Pulling away from the rest of the field after a rain delay of more than 17 minutes, Biffle beat polesitter Tony Stewart to the finish line by 3.598 seconds to win Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway.

The victory, Biffle’s 14th in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, was his first since 2008 and the first for Ford and owner Jack Roush since Jamie McMurray won at Talladega last November.

“I wish he was here, and I’m sure he’s watching, and this one’s for him,” Biffle said of Roush, who suffered injuries to his face and eye when he crash-landed his plane Tuesday night in Oshkosh, Wis.

The rain was exactly what Biffle needed to win the race.

“I felt like we didn’t have the best car today,” he said. “For some reason, when it cooled down, this car just took off—that’s all there was to it. The temperature cooled down, we really didn’t make any adjustments, and the thing just started going on the restarts and got in clean air, and the thing just took off. I don’t know what happened.”

Carl Edwards came home third, series points leader Kevin Harvick fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth. Sixth-place finisher Jeff Gordon saw his bid for his first victory since April 2009 disappear when a four-tire stop under caution on Lap 167 of 200 left him mired in traffic behind cars that took two tires or fuel only.

Gordon led 39 laps, second only to teammate Jimmie Johnson’s 96. Gordon, second in the standings, is 189 points behind Harvick with five races left before the field for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is set Sept. 11 at Richmond.

The rain delay was the second time the race was red-flagged. After a stoppage of nearly 29 minutes to clear the debris from a horrific crash involving Kurt Busch, Elliott Sadler and Clint Bowyer on Lap 165, the race took a bizarre turn. All of the lead-lap drivers—except Sam Hornish Jr.—came to pit road for four tires, two tires or fuel only.

Hornish stayed on the track, inherited the lead and ran 11 laps under yellow before NASCAR stopped the field on pit road with 23 laps remaining. But, after the rain delay, Biffle went to the front on the restart on Lap 180 and never looked back. Hornish raced hard over the last 21 laps but faded to 11th at the finish.

Gordon was fourth when the field restarted on Lap 151 after a debris caution. Juan Pablo Montoya, who had short-pitted before the leaders came to pit road under caution on Lap 146, had the lead by virtue of staying on the track. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who took two tires under caution, was second.

Though Gordon passed three cars to take the top spot on Lap 151, Montoya regained the lead on Lap 152, only to surrender it at the stripe a lap later. Gordon finally cleared Montoya through Turn 3 on Lap 154 and pulled away before two quick cautions slowed and ultimately stopped the race.

Earnhardt spun off Turn 1 to cause the fourth yellow on Lap 158, but no one near the front of the field came to pit road, being outside the pit window that would allow them to finish the race without another stop.

On Lap 165, Johnson attempted to bump-draft Kurt Busch as the cars approached Turn 2 and instead turned the No. 2 Dodge sideways. After twice turning across the nose of Clint Bowyer’s Chevrolet, Busch slammed into the inside fence.

Busch’s analysis of the incident was succinct. “I got wrecked on the straightaway,” he said. “Jimmie Johnson drove straight through us.”

Elliott Sadler got the worst of the melee, as his No. 19 Ford slowed and then spun after contact from behind. Sadler’s car plowed nose-first into the inside guardrail and berm behind it with enough force to rip the engine from the car.

When safety trucks removed the debris from the infield, Sadler’s car rode on one wrecker, the engine on another. Despite the severity of the impact, Sadler later walked out of the infield care center.

“I’m fine. I’m OK,” he said. “I’m a little sore, I think, from where the belts grabbed me. It knocked the breath out of me pretty good, but it’s definitely the hardest hit I’ve ever had in a racecar.

“I’m not sure what happened. I know some guys got spun out and moved up in front of us, and I saw some smoke. Everybody started checking up, and I checked up, but whoever was behind did not—and ran in the back of us and knocked me down through the grass.”

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 12 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 190/5 200 Running
2 1 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 175/5 200 Running
3 25 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 170/5 200 Running
4 14 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 160/0 200 Running
5 3 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 160/5 200 Running
6 4 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 155/5 200 Running
7 10 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet HendrickCars.com / GoDaddy.com 146/0 200 Running
8 8 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 142/0 200 Running
9 28 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 138/0 200 Running
10 6 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 144/10 200 Running
11 15 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge PPG 135/5 200 Running
12 5 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 127/0 200 Running
13 23 98 Paul Menard Ford CertainTeed / Menards 124/0 200 Running
14 18 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 121/0 200 Running
15 40 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet The Hartford 118/0 200 Running
16 2 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 120/5 200 Running
17 24 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 112/0 200 Running
18 26 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal 109/0 200 Running
19 16 9 Kasey Kahne Ford Budweiser 106/0 200 Running
20 11 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge Penske Racing 103/0 200 Running
21 34 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 100/0 200 Running
22 9 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Axe Twist 97/0 200 Running
23 21 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 94/0 200 Running
24 7 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Insignia HDTV / Best Buy 91/0 200 Running
25 17 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 88/0 200 Running
26 27 82 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 85/0 200 Running
27 20 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy / National Guard 82/0 200 Running
28 22 71 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 79/0 200 Running
29 32 38 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's 76/0 200 Running
30 37 37 David Gilliland Ford Gander Mountain 73/0 198 Running
31 41 34 Kevin Conway * Ford Extenze 70/0 198 Running
32 31 83 Reed Sorenson Toyota Red Bull 67/0 172 In Pit
33 13 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite / Vortex 64/0 164 Running
34 29 19 Elliott Sadler Ford U.S. Air Force 61/0 163 Running
35 42 7 P.J. Jones Toyota SpeedFactory.tv 58/0 63 In Pit
36 39 36 Casey Mears Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 55/0 62 In Pit
37 43 164 Todd Bodine Toyota Gunselman Motorsports 52/0 49 Out of Race
38 30 46 J.J. Yeley Dodge Whitney Motorsports 54/5 48 In Pit
39 19 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Clorox / Kleenex 46/0 46 Out of Race
40 33 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota FrontRowJoe.com 43/0 42 In Pit
41 35 09 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 40/0 32 In Pit
42 38 66 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 37/0 24 In Pit
43 36 55 Michael McDowell Toyota Prism Motorsports 34/0 23 In Pit

* Denotes Rookie

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