Chase Not Unfolding As Planned For Ford Drivers
Greg Biffle knows there’s no use trying to spin the numbers.
Disappointing results in Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway left him 11th and Ford teammate Matt Kenseth 12th in NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup standings.
“We would have to have a lot of help at Talladega and a few other race tracks for us to leap-frog back in,” said Biffle, looking ahead to the final seven races of the season, beginning with Sunday’s Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
“The (difficult) thing is that there are so many guys ahead of us,” said Biffle, 51 points behind Chase leader Brad Keselowski after finishing 16th on Sunday. “It’s not like there are two or three we need to catch up to. That’s a pretty tall order to beat all of those guys by six or eight positions seven races in a row. That’s going to be hard.”
Kenseth, 72 points behind the Chase leader, understands that Talladega has been a difficult venue for Ford drivers in recent years, but sees it as a track where he can turn his fortunes around.
“For the first time in my career I’m probably really looking forward to going to Talladega,” says Kenseth, who led a race-high 73 laps but settled for third in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega on May 6.
“Our (restrictor) plate stuff has been extremely strong this year. We’ve led a lot of laps and were leading at all three plate races. They all ended on a green-white-checker. The 16 (Biffle) and my car have been really fast. We’ve been able to work together, stay up front the whole time in plate race. Hopefully, we can do that again.
Kenseth did win the Daytona 500, a race in which he led 50 laps. He also led a race-high 89 laps in the July race at Daytona.
Of course, there are pros and cons of Kenseth and Biffle, both Chase contenders, working together as partners in a tandem draft.
“That’s something I don’t over-analyze,” Kenseth says. “In the Chase or not, I would still try to work with a guy that’s gonna help you and get your best finish. I think that’s how you look at it. I don’t think you look at anything else except for that. In all three (plate) races this year the 16 and I have been able to work together, be up front and kind of know what each other is going to do. I think we’ll try to do that again.”
Recent history at Talladega
Since 1998, Ford drivers have won just twice in Cup races at Talladega -- Dale Jarrett in October 2005 and Jamie McMurray in November 2009.
Kenseth has raced 25 times with seven top 10s, including his third in this year’s Aaron’s 499. Biffle, with two top-fives and four top-10s to show in 19 Talladega starts, led 15 laps and finished fifth in the May race.
Ford did boast of the first 18 finishers in the Aarons 499 with David Ragan seventh for Front Row Racing and Trevor Bayne eighth for Wood Brothers. Aric Almirola was 12th, David Gilliland 13th, Marcos Ambrose 14th and Casey Mears 18th.
Keselowski, who has won two of the first three races in the Chase, captured this year's Aaron’s 499, edging Kyle Busch.
Ragan won the 2009 Nationwide Series race at Talladega.