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Three mired in standings trying not to press issue

March 19, 2011, Mark Aumann, NASCAR.com

Biffle, Burton, Logano mired in standings, but think quick turnaround is possible

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- According to statistical analysis, three similar events may constitute a trend. But don't tell Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton and Joey Logano that. The trend they are experiencing right now isn't at all positive.

Each is facing an uphill climb after a disappointing start to the 2011 season. Even though they've run well at times during the first three races, their finishing positions don't show it. And when you're closer to being outside of the top 35 than you are to the top 10, it's time for concern.

After finishes of 35th at Daytona, 20th at Phoenix and 28th at Las Vegas, Biffle is tied with Burton for 31st in the standings. And that's certainly not where he expected to be heading into Sunday's Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"Yeah, I'm two spots away from having to qualify with the go-or-go-homers, so that would definitely be a concern of mine: having to qualify in the show, being the organization that we are and having fast cars this year," Biffle said.

The most recent race was particularly frustrating for Biffle. Bad decisions and bad luck combined to wreck what should have been a good day.

"We arguably had one of the fastest cars at Las Vegas," Biffle said. "I felt like I was as good as Carl [Edwards], maybe a little better than Tony [Stewart] in spots. ... And we finished five laps down. That's hard to do when you've got a really, really fast car."

For Biffle, it seemed like things went from bad to worse.

"We ran out of gas, pitted, got it running again -- we would have been fine, but then the caution came out," Biffle said. "Then we got going again and we got the wave-around, [but] we're five laps shorter than the field on fuel. I'm passing Matt [Kenseth] for the lucky dog -- now we're gonna be on the lead lap.

"We've got to pit because we ran out of gas once and our numbers are saying we're getting decent mileage, but we pit and Jeff Gordon wrecked on the lap we pitted. So if either one of those wouldn't have happened, then we wouldn't have been in that position. There's nothing we could have really done about it."

Like Biffle, Logano is looking for his first lead-lap finish of the year. And yet, despite being 28th in the points, Logano remains positive that things will eventually turn for the better.

"It's a terrible start to the season, for sure," Logano said. "But you've got to look at the plus side. We've qualified good, we've run good in the race. We haven't put together a solid finish because we've screwed up somewhere along the way every time. The way I look at it, we should have had three top-10 finishes."

Burton had engine issues at Daytona, was involved in a wreck at Phoenix and didn't run particularly well at Las Vegas. But the one thing Burton believes you have to do in this instance is not press and make things worse.

"You have to separate the issues," Burton said. "The way you improve is to understand where you are and where you need to be better. ... It's important for us to get ourselves back up in the points. We know that. But we have to do that by getting the most out of every weekend. Some weekends, hopefully that's a chance to win the race. And some weekends, it's not going to be."

The best way to get out of a slump, according to Biffle, is not panic.

"You just got to do the same thing every week," Biffle said. "You've got to forgot about what happened last week and try to do the best you can and see what it gives you."