Looking at the numbers from the debut season of the Gen-6 car
Driver says 'it's very hard to stay enthusiastic' with RFR's topsy-turvy year LOUDON, N.H. -- NASCAR has never seen a driver win a championship at each of its three national series levels, but there was a time when it looked as if Greg Biffle could be the first. With his XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series titles already locked up in 2002 and 2000, respectively, the Roush Fenway Racing mainstay appeared primed to complete NASCAR's version of the triple crown after 2012, when a career-best average finish of 10.2 propelled him to 21 top 10s -- another career high -- 12 top-five finishes and a pair of wins. But with just a single win (Michigan, June 2013), eight top fives and 26 top 10s in 90 races since, the triple crown seems like nothing but a pipe dream for Biffle at this point. The NASCAR veteran has been but a blip on the radar of other drivers as they pass him both on the track -- and in performance. "(The stats are) probably one of the toughest things for us to look at," Biffle said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, site of Sunday's 5-hour ENERGY 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, PRN, SiriusXM Radio). "We look at the same stats you're looking at and we look around us and the cars we're racing with and it's definitely frustrating, but, at the same time, we're working as hard as we can to try and figure out what we need for speed -- what we have to do with these cars. "To be quite honest with you, we don't know what to do to them and we don't know where the speed is at so it makes it really difficult to fix it." One of the most frustrating wrinkles of the drop in performance for Biffle and Roush as a whole has to be the success that other Ford-backed organizations have enjoyed in increasingly dramatic fashion. Roush holds Ford's most recent NASCAR championship ( Ricky Stenhouse Jr .'s 2012 XFINITY title), but rival stable Team Penske has racked up a whopping 15 Cup wins -- including a Daytona 500 -- between drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano since Penske made the switch from Dodge to Ford following Keselowski's title run in 2012. Toss in Logano's Championship 4 appearance at Homestead-Miami Speedway last fall and it's enough for Jack Roush to pull out whatever hair he has left. That trend has carried throughout this year as well, with the Penske duo sitting pretty near the top of the standings with a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berth a near certainty, as both have wins. Biffle, meanwhile is struggling to stay afloat in the Chase picture at all, currently 18th in the points standings with one less spot up for grabs if/when Kyle Busch enters the top 30. The 19-time Cup Series winner and his Roush teammates, Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne , even sit behind fellow Ford driver Aric Almirola , who races for the smaller and less-funded Richard Petty Motorsports . "It's very hard to stay enthusiastic, it is," Biffle said. "I wouldn't say it's like one arm tied behind your back, but it is difficult to get dressed, buckled in there, and get out on the race track, but every time we do we're searching for that speed, so we're back at the shop working on stuff, we're testing, and then we're bringing it to see what it does competing to that next guy." When Ford rolled out its revamped version of the Gen-6 Fusion at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year, initial reviews by Biffle and Co. were positive. A 17th-place finish doesn't seem like much, but with an average finish of 26.0 the previous three races, it was a step in the right direction. A few weeks later, Biffle notched his best finish of the past two seasons when he placed second to former teammate Carl Edwards in the Coca-Cola 600 . Things appeared to be rounding into form then, but the performance hasn't materialized since. "We were all jumping up and down and all excited about Texas, and we brought it out and we saw more consistent drive in it," Biffle said. "It wasn't like it was doing four different things trying to drive it, so it calmed that down, but it didn't have any more speed. So then we took another version of it, an updated version of it to I don't remember where and it showed a little bit of promise, and then Charlotte it showed a lot of promise. We qualified up front and ran up front a lot of the race, and ended up finishing second on fuel mileage but we were about a 10th-place car. We were like, 'OK, we've got this thing figured out now,' so now we’ve moved into the top 10 or close to it and now we can start scratching at the rest of it. "Then Pocono we were fair and then we went to Michigan and were all foaming at the mouth and we were 36th, two laps down. We had no idea what happened, so back to the drawing board for us. We're kind of pinging around it and trying to find that moving target and every time we feel like we’re getting closer, we get knocked back down to the bottom rung again and start back up." At this point in the season, it appears unlikely that Biffle and the Roush group can regain the speed that one of NASCAR's premier organizations once boasted, nor does it seem like he’ll have the opportunity to finish off his triple crown and hold that elusive Sprint Cup in Miami at season's end. Still, with the nature of the Chase format, anything can happen if the dominoes fall just right. Biffle, a former winner at the "Magic Mile," could steal a win on Sunday and gain berth to the sport's playoffs and make a run at a title. "Yeah, that sounds really good," Biffle said. "I'm gonna go with that plan right now." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Brian France talks about the amount of focus put into the Gen 6 car.
Gen-6 moments ten and nine feature Brian Vickers winning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Jimmie Johnson recording his fourth NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
The final two Gen-6 moments recap 19 qualifying track records and a title fight between some of NASCAR’s best.
Gen-6 moments four and three feature Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne battling for the win at Bristol Motor Speedway and the fantastic finish in Fontana.
Jimmie Johnson Discusses Gen-6 Car and Gambling to Win the 500
Fans share their thoughts on the first Gen-6 test at Daytona International Speedway.
Denny Hamlin talks about how the Gen-6 Car handles on the track and why we have seen so many wrecks
Brian France talks about how to measure the Gen 6 cars and what to expect this season.