News & Media


Points leader Biffle a confident title contender

August 29, 2012, Holly Cain, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com

Greg Biffle read all the blaring headlines that proclaimed a restored world order when five-time Cup Series champ Jimmie Johnson reclaimed the points lead earlier this month.

It was the first time Johnson had led the championship points since September 2011.

Greg Biffle

2012 Ranks
WinsNo.Rank
Top-5s10T-2
Top-10s14T-3
Lead Lap Fin.22T-1
Laps Run6,5351
Laps Led6332
Avg. Start8.72
Avg. Finish9.51
Points8491

And it was enough to make Biffle, NASCAR's "Rodney Dangerfield," seriously wonder, "What's a guy gotta do?" But the truth is, Biffle is already doing it. And he knows it.

Johnson held the points lead for exactly one week -- until Biffle replaced him. And as the series heads to blazing-fast Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend, it is Biffle who is still atop the points, knowing full well that he's only a Sprint Cup trophy away from becoming the first NASCAR driver to win championships in all three series.

He has been on top of the points after 13 of this season's 24 races, nearly double that of any other serious contender. He has been ranked among the top three all but one week of the season -- the best showing of any driver this year.

"To lead the points for the second time this season, it feels really good,'' said Biffle, 42, who also topped the standings for 11 consecutive weeks from March through June.

"Obviously when Jimmie Johnson got the lead after Pocono, he took great pride in that and so did the media in pointing out the fact that the 48 team was back and all the things that come with it.

"I think that I feel good for myself and my team, more importantly, and my crew chief, Matt Puccia. I think we have a strong chance at the title this year. We have seen things from one extreme to the other, but we are certainly proud of where we are right now.''

Biffle knows that unless he picks up a third win this year either at Atlanta or Richmond, he will be seeded below three-time winners Johnson, Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin and reigning champion Tony Stewart when the points re-set for the 10-week Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff.

But he couldn't be more confident with the thought of adding a Cup title to his Truck and Nationwide series championships.

To put it bluntly, he's feeling it.

"Plain and simple, it is our performance and how we compare to the 48, 11 [Hamlin] and 18 [Kyle Busch],'' Biffle said. "How we compare to those guys right now gives us a lot of confidence that we can run door-to-door with them for the final 10 [races].''

Statistics back Biffle's optimism.

His 10 wins at Chase tracks is more than any other driver currently locked into the Chase except Johnson and Stewart. Three tracks in particular -- Dover, Kansas and Homestead -- have been very, very good to Biffle.

He has a pair of wins and a pole at Dover and reeled off six top-five finishes between 2007 and '09. He has a similar record at Homestead, where he won three consecutive season finales from 2004 to '06.

And he boasts a personal best eighth-place average finish at Kansas, where the circuit stops on Oct. 21. A two-time winner there, Biffle has nine top-10 finishes in 12 starts and only finished worse than 12th one time -- his first race at the track in 2002.

"We are jacked up about these race tracks and how good our cars and team is right now,'' Biffle said. "We potentially could win two or three of those races fairly easily and have strong finishes in the other ones, and quite frankly, that could be enough.''

Biffle said that his team will be just as aggressive on setups and strategy in the Chase as it has been getting into the Chase. And as one of three drivers (Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) locked into the Chase, he's in position to really go for a win in these last two races setting up NASCAR's postseason.

"We are jacked up about these [Chase] race tracks and how good our cars and team is right now."

--GREG BIFFLE

Winning the regular-season title -- as opposed to easing into a Chase qualifying position -- is at the very least a strong statement from Biffle's Roush Fenway Racing team. And if it were up to him, there would be a bonus for the regular-season points champ to take into the Chase.

"Obviously I am leading the points so I am going to have a biased opinion,'' Biffle joked, adding, "but a truly unbiased opinion on this is that if you ask any driver, it is very difficult to lead these points.

"To be where you are in points and say, 'We don't care what you have done in the first 26 races, we don't care how solid of a team you are and you get no reward other than going into the Chase' -- that is a little undeserving of our sport.

"Our sport has been founded on -- for years -- the points system that rewards being consistent and turning out good finishes and being able to ride the highs and the lows. ... I think it should be done both ways: reward for the wins but with a minor reward for being where you are in the points.''

A runner-up to Stewart in 2005, Biffle has already envisioned his trophy case rearranged with space to complete what would be an unprecedented NASCAR championship trifecta.

"I don't think about it week to week because it consumes me when I do think about it or talk about it, or daydream about it for five or 10 minutes,'' Biffle said. "It is always right there when somebody mentions it but I am just thinking about how can I win this year? How can I do it?

TrackStartsWinsTop-5sTop-10sLead-Lap Fin.DNFsLaps LedAvg. StartAvg. Finish
New Hampshire201581528615.616.2
Dover20 2 6 10 12146312.012.2
Talladega190241054416.919.7
Charlotte1904711236619.317.1
Kansas1227911134615.68.0
Martinsville19002702119.721.9
Texas17271010473211.716.2
Phoenix1705612134913.914.1
Homestead103347217516.415.3

"I don't want to jinx myself, but I have a spot picked out and have always said that I am going to build a trophy case with the center [trophy] missing. ... I am going to make it a special place when I do have the third one. I will proudly display my trophies.''