All three Roush Fenway drivers fail to advance out of first round of qualifying Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Full starting lineup FONTANA, Calif. -- Jack Roush stood by the Auto Club Speedway pit wall late Friday afternoon as confused as anyone why none of this three Fords could advance past even the first round of Sprint Cup Series qualifying. Ricky Stenhouse Jr .'s 27th-place effort was the best of the organization here, with teammates Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne 29th and 36th fastest, respectively. "Yes, I'm disappointed," Roush said. "I thought we were hitting on something after Atlanta and Las Vegas. "But we have ample time to test and work on this tomorrow in practice and I'm confident we'll get it straightened out." Biffle , the veteran of Roush Fenway Racing 's three drivers, didn't sugarcoat his frustration. He has only one top-10 start this season, but that's highest among the team. "This is unacceptable,"' Biffle said of his No. 16 Ford's 29th place effort Friday. "We're dying a slow death. We need to start showing up for the weekend closer to where we need to be." His teammate Bayne has consistently fared worse with only one start (29th at Atlanta) better than 35th. "We've been working really hard. It's not a lack at all from my guys," Bayne said. "We just haven't qualified well at all this year as a group, have been slower on our fast runs. In the race we can run top-15 speeds, the problem with qualifying so far back is the leaders are in clean air we have to come from so far back you go a lap down early and you can never get it back. "That's been a real struggle for us, qualifying. But we'll figure it out. "It's hard not to get frustrated but at the same time, we're heads down and digging. I'm not getting down on my guys or Roush Fenway as a group. I know we've got better things to come. We've got to put better effort into qualifying. "I would be more frustrated if I was the only car struggling. We're all grouped together, we just need to be 30 spots higher." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
In between Las Vegas and Phoenix, Chuck Bush and Matthew Dillner take the Camping World RV to Glamis to join Greg Biffle and Casey Mears at the dunes for some high-flying fun. Visit CampingWorld.com to find everything you need for your RV!
Veteran looks to lead the way for revamped Roush Fenway organization MORE: Full schedule of season previews Team: Roush Fenway Racing No. 16 Ford Rank in final 2014 standings: 14th Wins: 0 Year in photos: Greg Biffle 2014 highlights Strides: In a year of struggles, The Biff showed some of his brightest glimmers in some fairly unlikely places. Most known for its performance on intermediate-sized tracks, the No. 16 team led at least a lap at all four restrictor-plate races last season and posted a sweep of top-10 finishes at both road courses, cementing Biffle's status as an underrated road racer. But the 45-year-old veteran's most clutch moment came in a must-have late-summer surge to clinch a berth in the 16-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. Biffle rose from 19th place on the outside of the provisional postseason grid after Indianapolis by patching together five straight top-10 finishes and a hard-fought 19th in the pressure-packed regular-season finale at Richmond International Raceway . "Those last three were like the last three of the championship (hunt) in '05 for me, just to get in the Chase," said Biffle , who qualified for NASCAR's playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven years. "Because I've said forever if you're not in the Chase, you're a nobody. I don't mean that in a negative way, but the media focus and attention in this sport is about the Chase, it's about the playoffs, and if you're one of the 16 that make the Chase, you're one of the top brands in this sport, in my opinion." Setbacks: Last season's results on 1.5-mile and 2-mile tracks -- venues formerly in Biffle's bailiwick -- illustrated the full breadth of the performance deficit for one of Roush Fenway's most venerable teams. Biffle's best efforts came in April with a sixth place at Texas and a fifth at Darlington, but at Michigan -- arguably his best track -- he managed just a 20th and a 10th. The winless season was only the third of Biffle's 12-year career with team owner Jack Roush, and his tally of three top-five finishes in 2014 matched a career low. But the downturn in speed, Biffle indicated, hasn't been a sudden development for the Concord, North Carolina-based organization. "We'd have to start years back and look at the way we've gotten to this position," Biffle said. "We've probably missed opportunities to change our simulation program and … it kind of turned technical faster than we did as a company. So the amount of engineers, how organized that process has to be, and how seamless you have to get that data, formulate that and get it to the race track, that's where we had some holes in our program as well. It's going to take a bit to fix that, too. You're not going to fix that overnight, so we're working hard at shoring that up." Quoteworthy: "There wasn't anywhere we were good at last year, really. All across the board, our performance was down. Pit stops were good, but you gain two or three spots on a pit stop and you lose them when they throw the green flag, it doesn't really help you. Or if you don't qualify good, and then in 20 laps you're 20th, that doesn't help you either. We've just got to find speed in our cars." What's next: The No. 16 Ford's primary colors will be in flux for 2015, with Ortho Insect Control and the Kellogg Company's Cheez-It brand helping fill the void of departing sponsor 3M. But the driver-crew chief combination will remain intact as Biffle will continue to work with Matt Puccia, who's called the shots for the team since the middle of the 2011 season. Recent changes to the Roush Fenway driver lineup may have more of an impact. Carl Edwards completed his long-running tenure at Roush last season, not far behind Matt Kenseth 's exit from two years before; both now wheel Toyotas for Joe Gibbs Racing . In their place are twenty-somethings Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., back in Roush's No. 17 for a third year, and Trevor Bayne , moving up from the XFINITY ranks for his first full season at the Sprint Cup level. The new teammate dynamic leaves Biffle firmly in a position of senior leadership as the team tries to build momentum. "When you lose Matt and then lose Carl, they were a wealth of information when it comes to setting up the cars and we could look at their data and things like that," Biffle said. "So it's going to be a little bit of a learning curve for us, but we're up for the challenge." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Tony Stewart gets loose, causing a crash that collects Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch with under 10 laps to go during the Sprint Unlimited.
Cheez-It to serve as a primary sponsor for 'The Biff' starting in 2015 RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Greg Biffle has picked up a new primary sponsor for the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season. Roush Fenway Racing announced that the Cheez-It brand will serve as a primary partner of the No. 16 Ford. The deal is a multiyear partnership with other Kellogg's brands, such as Frosted Flakes, which have appeared on the No. 99 car of Carl Edwards . With Edwards moving on to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2015, that sponsorship will now be on Biffle's No. 16. "It's going to be really great to have Cheez-It on the car next season," Biffle said in a team release. "My family and I have been enjoying Cheez-It snacks for years and I could not be more excited to represent them. The Cheez-It cars have always looked really good on the track and they are going to look even better with the No. 16 on the side." Check out the short clip below, posted on YouTube by Roush Fenway Racing to announce the news. Biffle will also carry sponsorship for Ortho Insect Control next season for approximately half of his races. Biffle's longtime primary sponsor, 3M, is moving to Hendrick Motorsports next season to sponsor the No. 24 Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon . Biffle qualified for the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup but was among the four drivers eliminated following the final race of the opening Challenger Round at Dover. He is currently 14th in the points standings. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
After rejecting 'easy' decision to leave, veteran embraces team's new outlook Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For all the change that Roush Fenway Racing has undergone entering the 2015 NASCAR season, Greg Biffle remains the organization's constant, a cornerstone driver who first started his career with team owner Jack Roush in the Camping World Truck Series in 1998. But with the team firmly in rebuilding mode after its recent slide toward substandard performance, Biffle shed light on just how close he came to following the path of two prominent former teammates out the door. Biffle plumbed the depths of the company's recent low points Wednesday during the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, saying that he had fielded offers from "great teams" to drive elsewhere. Ultimately, the 45-year-old driver made the choice to stay, in an effort to help lead the team out of its dark days. "You know, loyalty in this world only goes so far," Biffle said. "… I felt like I had to wrestle with the decision on whether I leave or not. It makes it easy to leave, it's easy to kick a guy when he's down, right? So we were having tremendous trouble last year, and I've been there through three of these cycles, and we're not going to sugar-coat it -- last year, we were at the bottom of the heap compared to the teams. We just were, and no light at the end of the tunnel, and so it would've been an easy way for me to leave at that point. "But knowing that the stock is at the lowest price that it's been at, sometimes that's the opportunity. It's going to go up. It doesn't have to, but logic says it's going to go up, and so I wrestled with it and sat long and hard about it and said, 'I want to be the guy that brings this organization back out of where we're at. We're in a bad place. I could jump ship right now.' And I decided I didn't want to do that. I was going to give it another opportunity." Biffle's tenure with Roush Fenway includes an enviable collection of career highlights -- 19 victories in the top-level Sprint Cup Series and championships in both the XFINITY Series (2002) and the truck circuit (2000). Even though he managed to qualify for last season's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, his losing streak stretched to 57 -- nearing the longest dry spell of his career. Only Carl Edwards won races at the Sprint Cup level for RFR last year, and he departed in the offseason to restart his career at Joe Gibbs Racing . That move followed a similar career shift by Matt Kenseth -- another longtime Roush Fenway competitor -- just two years earlier. Biffle could've been the third domino to fall, but even with all the frayed emotions, the connections he'd established over the years kept him from severing those ties. "I stayed for relationships and things that I had built for a long period of time that I really cared about, and that was one of my decisions that really weighed on me to stay," Biffle said. "After I elected to stay, other people didn't and so I was left holding the bag a little bit, but I can't say enough about the partnerships that we've created since then. "I can talk forever about what's gone on, and I hate to keep -- so to speak, the cliché -- beat the dead horse. We all recognized the position we were in last year. We were drowning and we were trying to get to the surface, and it was difficult on all of us. All the relationships were all taxed, between me and my crew chief, the other drivers, the team engineers, the simulation group, and then fabrication, the guys hanging the (car) bodies. We were all taxed because we were not performing." Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark admitted that the offseason mission of rebuilding the team's stature in the sport had come with some soul searching. The organization has made plenty of offseason strides to meet the goals -- primarily through digging to the root cause of what went wrong in 2014 and closing the gap on its rivals in the technology department. But it's also revamped its mindset in more subtle ways, freshening the look of the shop and bringing it up to more state-of-the-art standards. Even though the overhaul has been dramatic, Newmark said losing Biffle was a change the team couldn't afford to withstand. "It was critical," Newmark said. " Greg and I spent a lot of time talking. He was solicited by a lot of teams, which I would expect with a driver of that caliber. After a lot of the discussions, I think he felt like Roush was the right fit for him and the right place, and he and Jack had some unfinished business. But he brings an element that we wouldn't have had without him. We have a lot of other talented drivers, but none of them has had the history with both our organization and the championships, so he's been fantastic." Though Biffle cracked in his opening remarks that Jack Roush, 72, had been racing Ford products since 1901, it's clear the team has begun to skew younger as it enters its 28th year in NASCAR. Biffle will race alongside third-year driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., 27, and 23-year-old Trevor Bayne , promoted to his first full season in the Sprint Cup Series. Change isn't all bad, as Biffle was quick to mention the championship fruits of the first-year partnership between Kevin Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing last season. Taken a step further, Biffle said Roush Fenway's expectations equal those of the title-winning No. 4 team. "We're all that confident," Biffle said. "We all feel that good that that's the position we're in now. Everyone's so excited about the way our company looks, about how everybody's getting along and how excited everybody is to work together again, and on a common goal. We all feel really good." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Biffle's only win last season was at Michigan International Speedway
NASCAR executive discusses Hamlin's pit road penalty, West Coast swing Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell defended race officials' decision to finish Sunday's Sprint Cup Series event under green-flag conditions, saying Monday that safety remains priority No. 1 in racing procedures. Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway ended during the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. Greg Biffle wrecked back in the pack, just as the front-runners took the white flag, but the race was allowed to continue under green when Biffle drove away and the spotters' check for debris turned up nothing. Brad Keselowski secured the lead from Kurt Busch in the next turn and drove away to win the Auto Club 400 . The decision contrasted with race control's judgment call last month to end the season-opening Daytona 500 under caution, freezing the field on the final lap when a multi-car crash erupted on the backstretch. That call, O'Donnell said, was made based on the perceived severity of the pileup. "I think when you look at the end of the race, we will always try to finish the race under green-flag conditions, but we're always going to err on the side of safety," O'Donnell said Monday during NASCAR officials' weekly debrief with NASCAR.com. "So if you want to look back at Daytona, we made the decision based on the hit that we saw Kyle Larson take, based on our need to dispatch the safety equipment as quickly as possible. We made that decision to go ahead and display the yellow. "If you fast-forward to what happened yesterday in California, when we looked at it in terms of Greg Biffle was able to drive away, the cars were still in Turn 2, we had eyes immediately on the ground in terms of our flagstand personnel to be able to see if there was any debris on the track. There wasn't, so we were able to let the cars come back and race under green-flag conditions to the checkered flag. So if we can do that, we will, but under no circumstances would we compromise safety in terms of a driver to be able to do that." O'Donnell also addressed the most pivotal pit-road officiating call of Sunday's race, a late penalty for an uncontrolled tire on Denny Hamlin 's Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 crew that left him 28th at the finish and left crew chief Dave Rogers sternly arguing the call. When the new pit-road officiating technology was introduced to teams in the offseason, NASCAR officials told teams that they would receive the benefit of the doubt in close calls, similar to a "tie goes to the runner" theory from baseball. O'Donnell said that philosophy still stands. "Again, we'll go back to video replay. That's why the system was put in place," O'Donnell said. "I think Dave questioned whether we would err on the side of the competitors and referenced what we said at the beginning of the year. We did say that, and we still hold to that, that we will err on the side of the competitors if we can't make a distinctive call, but under the review process … it was clear to us that there was a violation and in that case, we're going to make the call. With this system, it is precise. It's black and white in terms of whether or not we can make a call, very similar to pit-road speeding penalties. "The drivers had asked for that to be more transparent, and under this new system, we're going to be more transparent as well. The good news is we can share that with the race teams, not only during the race, but after the race as well, and walk them through why the call was made and show them as well." O'Donnell also capped NASCAR's first foray into a three-race West Coast swing, remarking about the strong showing by fans in the grandstands at Auto Club Speedway . "Terrific crowd, really a great ending to our West Coast swing. Great job by the folks at Phoenix, Las Vegas and California. Great turnout by the fans out West, and I think it gave us a really great platform to look out in the future. We'll certainly talk to the industry and see what their perspective was, but we give it a big thumbs-up in terms of our first effort heading West." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kevin Harvick finishes second for eighth straight top-two finish RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings FONTANA, Calif. -- After Sunday's Auto Club 400 , there may be a warrant issued for Brad Keselowski . After all, the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford committed his own version of "Grand Theft Auto" at Auto Club Speedway -- he stole an entire race. Benefitting from a four-tire call on the last lap of regulation and two opportune cautions that extended the event nine laps beyond its scheduled distance, Keselowski passed polesitter Kurt Busch on the final lap (209) and pulled away to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season. Trying to make one last desperation run at Keselowski, Busch scraped the wall in the final corner at the two-mile track, allowing Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick to pass him for the runner-up spot. Keselowski arrived at the finish line .711 seconds ahead of Harvick, simultaneously taking the checkered flag and leading his first lap of the day. The 2012 champion, who led the series with six victories last year, recorded his first victory at Fontana -- and his first finish higher than 18th -- and the 17th of his career. "At the end, we caught some breaks, made the most of the breaks we caught," Keselowski said. "That was kind of the story of our race. It looked like we were probably going to finish sixth or seventh. That yellow came out (on Lap 185 for debris). We came in and pitted and drove up a little bit, then caught another yellow. Now what do we do? "So (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) made the call to come down pit road and put four tires on. When he said that, I said, 'This can either go really good or really bad.' Didn't know which one it was going to be. Some guys stayed out, some guys took two tires, all different types of strategies on the restart. "We were able to find our way through the lanes and get to the front there, somehow end up in Victory Lane leading the last lap. Kind of a race car driver's dream. This is one we're going to sit back and go 'Wow!' for a while." Keselowski can call it a break, but it was theft, pure and simple. Aside from a stretch before the halfway point where Denny Hamlin got out front in clean air and led 56 laps, the cars of Busch and Harvick dominated the race, leading 65 and 34 laps, respectively. But Keselowski’s Wolfe made what turned out to be the winning call on Lap 200, after NASCAR called the sixth caution of the race because of debris in Turn 4. Opting for four new tires, where the vast majority of the field took right sides only for track position, Keselowski restarted 18th on the first attempt at a green-white-checkered-flag finish on Lap 203. The No. 2 Fusion quickly moved forward. When Kyle Larson lost his bumper cover during a melee on the restart, NASCAR threw caution No. 7, and by then, Keselowski was already up to seventh place. Using the new tires to full advantage, Keselowski shot into second place like a lightning bolt after a green-white-checkered restart on Lap 208. As Greg Biffle crashed on the frontstretch on the white-flag lap, Keselowski rocketed past Busch off Turn 2 and pulled away for the win. Busch came home third, followed by Richard Childress Racing teammates Paul Menard and Ryan Newman . Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Joey Logano , Martin Truex Jr ., Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon completed the top 10. Having won at Las Vegas and Phoenix in the previous two races, Harvick fell one position shy of completing a sweep of NASCAR's three-race West Coast swing, but he could commiserate with Busch, who was trying to win for the first time this season after serving a three-race suspension. "I hate that the 41 (Busch) wasn't able to hold on for the win there," said Harvick, who posted his eighth straight top-two finish, dating to last year, and extended his series lead over Logano to 28 points. "I would have loved to see those guys get their first win. "But you never know how the strategy is going to play out here. There's so many cars on the lead lap, you didn't want to get buried in there (by taking four tires). One little bad move for Brad, he would have been stuck in the middle of that traffic. But it all worked out for him. The second restart, he was in prime position up on the outside with fresh tires." Busch was disappointed but philosophical about the result. "It was a solid day," Busch said. "I don't know what we could have done different. We just got pinned in by the yellows and the sequence at the end on which tires we needed to have to optimize how many laps were left. "We had two tires; Keselowski had four. We didn't need that extra yellow at the end. That last restart, I just didn't get the job done, and I just got out muscled by Keselowski." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today All-time consecutive top-two finishes Streak Driver Year 11 Richard Petty 1975 10 Richard Petty 1971 10 Richard Petty 1967 9 Richard Petty 1964 8 Kevin Harvick 2014-15 8 David Pearson 1968
Recap Greg Biffle's big moments of the 2013 season. He finished ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase.