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Biffle wins in Kansas, Chase tightens

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Sunday, October 03, 2010

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Greg Biffle, who was one of the race’s 12 leaders after claiming the P1 spot three times for 60 laps, performs a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson got exactly what they needed Sunday at Kansas Speedway — Biffle by leaving the field in his dust and Johnson by persevering.

Biffle ran away and hid from the rest of the field in winning the Price Chopper 400 — the third race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup—by 7.638 seconds over Johnson, who rallied from his 21st starting position to claim the runner-up spot.

Johnson, seeking his fifth straight Cup title, didn’t leave the 1.5-mile racetrack with the trophy, but he heads to next Sunday’s race at his “home” track (Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.) with the series points lead.

Biffle entered the race 140 points behind Denny Hamlin, who finished 12th Sunday and lost the points lead to Johnson. With his second win of the year, his second win at Kansas and the 16th victory of his career, Biffle heads for California eighth in the standings and 85 points down to Johnson with seven races left in the Chase.

Johnson leads Hamlin by eight points.

“It was a great day for us,” Biffle said. “The car ran flawless. (Crew chief Greg) Erwin just made great calls in the pits, and the car just kept getting better and better and better. I was too loose for about the first three-quarters of the race.

“I didn’t want to adjust on it, because I was running in the top three, but they tightened it up, and off it went, man. All it need was a little bit of wedge in it to take off.”

Kevin Harvick finished third, followed by Tony Stewart, who led a race-high 76 laps before his car faded slightly in the closing stages. Jeff Gordon won an intense battle with Carl Edwards for the fifth spot, and Matt Kenseth came home seventh, as Chase drivers claimed the top seven positions.

The victory was a tonic for Biffle after last week’s 19th-place finish at Dover.

“We were kind of down in the dumps about Dover, one of our best racetracks, and we got trapped (when forced to pit off-sequence)—we had a top-10 car there. But we can’t go back and do it over again. We’ll keep doing the best we can.

“Everybody asks if we’re out of it, and I said, ‘We’re going to do the best we can. If we win ’em all, we win ’em all.’ ”

Despite taking the points lead, Johnson said it’s far too early to start thinking about a fifth straight championship.

“That would be foolish,” Johnson said. “It’s way too early to think about those things — way, way too early. … All I can do is worry about my team, what we have to do. Again, it's early. I'm not worried about who is leading the championship right now. 

“I know we came (into Kansas) second. Of course, I wanted to be leading. I could care less where the 11 (Hamlin) was today. It's just not time to worry about that stuff. After Talladega (the seventh Chase race), teams and drivers can work on a strategy of protecting or taking chances. We have to get deeper into the Chase to be concerned about who the points leader is.”

Notes: Biffle’s win was worth a $100,000 bonus to his No. 16 Roush Fenway racing team. Ford’s director of North American Motorsports announced an incentive program for the Ford Chase teams before the race — $100,000 for each win in the final eight races, to be distributed throughout the team. ... Despite two run-ins with David Reutimann, Kyle Busch salvaged a 21st-place finish and stayed within striking distance of Johnson, seventh in the standings and 80 points back.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 5 16 Greg Biffle Ford Sherwin Williams / 3M 190/5 267 Running
2 16 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Johns Manville 170/0 267 Running
3 13 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 170/5 267 Running
4 8 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 170/10 267 Running
5 1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 160/5 267 Running
6 18 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 155/5 267 Running
7 4 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal Black 151/5 267 Running
8 7 98 Paul Menard Ford Zecol / Menards 147/5 267 Running
9 3 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 138/0 267 Running
10 27 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Insignia HDTV / Best Buy 134/0 267 Running
11 24 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 135/5 267 Running
12 15 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 127/0 267 Running
13 6 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Operation Home Front / Miller Lite 124/0 267 Running
14 23 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 121/0 267 Running
15 26 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 118/0 267 Running
16 21 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 115/0 267 Running
17 9 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 112/0 267 Running
18 10 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 114/5 267 Running
19 31 82 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 106/0 267 Running
20 20 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA / Susan G Komen for the Cure 103/0 267 Running
21 14 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 100/0 266 Running
22 25 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Amp Energy 97/0 266 Running
23 32 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge Penske Racing 94/0 266 Running
24 34 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 91/0 266 Running
25 22 21 Bill Elliott Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 88/0 266 Running
26 29 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 85/0 266 Running
27 36 26 Patrick Carpentier Ford Air National Guard 87/5 266 Running
28 19 19 Elliott Sadler Ford Stanley / Susan G Komen for the Cure 79/0 266 Running
29 12 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 76/0 266 Running
30 30 83 Reed Sorenson Toyota Red Bull 73/0 265 Running
31 41 38 Dave Blaney Ford A&W All American Food 70/0 261 Running
32 35 37 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 67/0 261 Running
33 38 34 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's 64/0 261 Running
34 28 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Little Debbie 61/0 257 Running
35 11 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 58/0 256 Running
36 17 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge AAA 55/0 245 Running
37 2 9 Kasey Kahne Ford Budweiser 57/5 218 Accident
38 42 7 Kevin Conway * Toyota Extenze 49/0 180 Engine
39 40 71 Tony Raines Chevrolet TRG Mtrsprts / TaxSlayer.com 46/0 87 Electrical
40 33 46 Michael McDowell Chevrolet Cash America 48/5 60 Transmission
41 39 09 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 40/0 58 Transmission
42 37 36 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 37/0 49 Electrical
43 43 164 Landon Cassill Toyota Gunselman Motorsports 34/0 33 Rear Gear

* Denotes Rookie

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