NASCAR Rewind: Biffle bolsters bid for Chase

dscott@charlotteosbserver.comJune 10, 2013 

  • Next race

    Quicken Loans 400

    Where: Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.

    When: 1 p.m. Sunday

    TV: TNT

    Radio: Motor Racing Network

    Last year’s winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

— Greg Biffle finished second Sunday in the Party in the Poconos 400 in his No. 16 Ford, but wasn’t sure how.

“We were struggling for track position all day,” said Biffle, who had just his second top-five finish of the season. “I felt like I was as good as (winner Jimmie Johnson) in (Turns) 1 and 2, but 3 and 4, he was really just driving away from everybody.”

Biffle picked up three spots in the points standings and now is inside the Chase cut at 10th.

“It was a good day for us,” he said.

Newman’s strategy

Ryan Newman led three times for 19 laps and was hoping that by using an out-of-sequence pit strategy that he might be able to beat Johnson.

Although it ultimately didn’t work, Newman stayed near the front and finished fifth, his best performance since a fifth in the season-opening Daytona 500.

“The strategy worked out to our benefit with the yellows there at the end,” said Newman.

It was a good day for Newman and Tony Stewart, his teammate and boss at Stewart-Haas Racing. After winning last week at Dover (Del.), Stewart was fourth at Pocono. Newman finished 36th at Dover after wrecking.

“It’s definitely progress,” said Stewart of his organization’s performance. “It’s one thing if one car runs good, but to have two or all three of us running good shows that we are gaining momentum.”

Danica Patrick, the third driver at SHR, finished 29th in her first race at Pocono.

Kahne problem early

Kasey Kahne’s Chevy developed a vibration on the first lap.

“We have no idea yet” what happened, said Kahne, who eventually would finish 36th, 19 laps down. “I know when I took off, in second gear, I had no power and it was just vibrating like crazy. The faster I went, the worse the vibration was.”

Kahne said his car ran fine the rest of the day after his crew made adjustments.

“But you can’t make up (19) laps at Pocono,” he said.

Youth is served

Potential stars of the future – Chase Elliott, 17, and Jeb Burton, 20 – had good weekends. Elliott – son of Cup legend Bill Elliott – won Saturday’s Automobile Racing Club of America event at Pocono, the youngest winner in that series’ history. Burton – son of former Cup driver Ward Burton and nephew of Jeff Burton – was the winner of Friday’s Truck race at Texas. Ward Burton served as the spotter in his son’s first NASCAR victory.

5 Key Moments

• Starting on the front row with Johnson, Carl Edwards quickly takes the lead for nine laps.

• Johnson takes first lead on Lap 10, an early hint of his dominance.

Newman, using an off-sequence pit strategy, goes to the lead on Lap 101 and stays in front for 13 laps after Johnson pits.

• After another pit stop, Johnson again overtakes Newman on Lap 130 and doesn’t trail again.

• Dave Blaney crashes on Lap 155, forcing one final restart that Johnson easily handles.

Sunday’s Results

1J. JohnsonChevy160$244,436
2Greg BiffleFord160$173,985
3D. Ernhardt Jr.Chevy160$143,060
4Tony StewartChevy160$165,810
5Ryan NewmanChevy160$144,343
6Kyle BuschToyota160$141,318
7Kurt BuschChevy160$119,430
8Denny HamlinToyota160$105,085
9Kevin HarvickChevy160$130,571
10Joey LoganoFord160$120,293
11Jeff BurtonChevy160$94,610
12Jeff GordonChevy160$127,096
13J. McMurrayChevy160$109,380
14Juan MontoyaChevy160$108,924
15Clint BowyerToyota160$120,343
16Bra. KeslowskiFord160$129,876
17M. AmbroseFord160$107,199
18Carl EdwardsFord160$114,260
19Mark MartinToyota160$87,235
20Travis KvapilToyota160$106,268
21Aric AlmirolaFord160$115,496
22Casey MearsFord160$102,368
23M. Truex Jr.Toyota160$114,935
24David GillilandFord160$91,793
25Matt KensethToyota160$112,851
26R. Stenhse Jr.Ford160$123,796
27B. LabonteToyota160$96,543
28D. StremmeToyota160$86,182
29Danica PatrickChevy160$76,485
30Paul MenardChevy160$105,826
31Dave BlaneyChevy160$74,685
32D. ReutimannToyota159$73,010
33A. AllmndingrChevy158$80,810
34Josh WiseFord157$72,610
35Timmy HillFord156$72,460
36Kasey KahneChevy141$90,210
37David RaganFord121$80,028
38Landon CassillChevy70$67,050
39J.J. YeleyChevy39$63,050
40M. McDowellFord33$59,050
41Scott RiggsFord28$55,050
42Joe NemechekToyota11$51,050
43Jason LefflerToyota8$47,550

Average Speed: 144.202 mph. Time of Race: 2 hours, 46 minutes, 26 seconds. Margin of Victory: 1.208 seconds. Caution Flags: Six for 19 laps. Lead Changes: 12 among four drivers. Lap Leaders: Edwards 1-9; Johnson 10-27; Keselowski 28-29; Johnson 30-57; Keselowski 58-59; Johnson 60-67; Newman 68-70; Johnson 71-100; Newman 101-113; Johnson 114-126; Newman 127-129; Johnson 130-160.

Points Standings

1 Jimmie Johnson521
2 Carl Edwards470-51
3 Clint Bowyer452-69
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr.439-82
5 Kevin Harvick434-87
6 Matt Kenseth418-103
7 Kyle Busch412-109
8 Kasey Kahne400-121
9 Brad Keselowski398-123
10 Greg Biffle395-126
11 Jeff Gordon*393-128
12 Paul Menard385-136
13 Tony Stewart*378-143
14 Aric Almirola377-144
15 Kurt Busch374-147
16 Joey Logano369-152
17 Martin Truex Jr.364-157
18 Ryan Newman363-158
19 Jamie McMurray363-158
20 R. Stenhouse Jr. 361-160
21 Jeff Burton356-165
22 Juan Montoya337-184
23 Marcos Ambrose321-200
24 Mark Martin296-225
25 Denny Hamlin285-236
26 Casey Mears281-240
27 Bobby Labonte255-266
28 Danica Patrick246-275
29 David Ragan245-276
30 David Gilliland239-282
31 Dave Blaney232-289
32 David Reutimann202-319
33 David Stremme194-327
34 JJ Yeley192-329
35 Travis Kvapil160-361
36 M. McDowell80-441
37 Timmy Hill80-441
38 Scott Speed75-446
39 Michael Waltrip63-458
40 Terry Labonte52-469
41 Ken Schrader29-492
42 A. Allmendinger11-510
43 Scott Riggs10-511
44 Bri. Keselowski4-517

NOTES: Line at Chase for the Sprint Cup cutoff; : * Drivers who would qualify for Chase wild-card spots.

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