RELATED: Full practice results Piloting his No. 2 Team Penske Ford at 175.880 mph, Brad Keselowski slid into the top position on the leaderboard with less than 10 minutes remaining Friday's final practice session at Darlington Raceway . Opening practice leader Greg Biffle found speed in the final minutes of Friday's final practice, propelling his No. 16 Ford around the South Carolina speedway at 175.729 mph for the second position. Like many of the other drivers in the field, third-fastest Kurt Busch -- who was second on the leaderboard in the opening session -- used the final minutes of the 115-minute practice to make a mock qualifying run in his No. 41 Chevrolet (175.723 mph). A late run also benefited Paul Menard , who inherited the fourth position on the leaderboard with the help of a fast lap of 175.484 mph from his No. 27 Richard Childress Racing car. His teammate Austin Dillon rounded out the top five, getting a top speed of 175.453 mph out of his No. 3 ride. Denny Hamlin remained atop the leaderboard for the majority of the final session. However, when drivers switched to qualifying trim in the final laps, he ended up 14th by the time the red flag waved to the signal the end of practice. "The Track Too Tough to Tame" lived up to its name in the final minutes for reigning race winner Kevin Harvick , who smacked the wall off Turn 2 late in the session in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Harvick ranked 21st on the leaderboard. After making contact with the wall midway through the second practice session, Kyle Busch and the No. 18 team deferred to a back-up car. The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota came up 35th on the leaderboard after the 115-minute session. Coors Light Pole Qualifying is set for Saturday at 1:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN. RELATED: Full practice results Greg Biffle topped the opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Darlington Raceway for Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Biffle paced the 115-minute practice with a fast lap of 176.201 mph at the 1.366-mile track in South Carolina. The Roush Fenway Racing driver has two wins in 14 starts at the "Lady in Black" and is currently on the outside of the Chase Grid with two races left in the regular season. Stewart-Haas Racing dominated the leaderboard behind Biffle with Kurt Busch (175.842 mph), Tony Stewart (175.710 mph) and Kevin Harvick (175.654 mph) coming in second through fourth in the session. Harvick is the defending race winner at Darlington. Joe Gibbs Racing 's Carl Edwards (175.647 mph) rounded out the top five. Friday's practice sessions provided the drivers with significant time with the low downforce package. This is the second race of the season to use that particular rules package as it was also used at Kentucky in July. Austin Dillon "earned" a Darlington stripe early in opening practice when he hit the wall off of Turn 2 and had significant damage to the right side of his No. 3 Chevrolet. The team worked to fix the damage on his car instead of bringing out the backup and got him back out on track toward the end of the session. Brett Moffitt also got a Darlington stripe early in the practice session. Chase Elliott , who will be attempting to make his fifth Sprint Cup start of the season, brushed the wall about a half hour into practice. Trevor Bayne also got into the wall during the practice session. RELATED: See Darlington's greatest hits
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle are both battling for a Chase berth this weekend in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway, but they're on opposite sides of the Chase bubble. Entering the Pure Michigan 400 (Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) Biffle is 80 points behind the 16th and final Chase driver, Clint Bowyer . Gordon is in 12th place with a 59-point cushion between himself and Kasey Kahne , the first driver outside of the top 16. Given the different situations, does that mean Gordon and Biffle will take different approaches to Sunday's race? Gordon said he didn't feel like he had much cushion to play with given how frequently things change in this sport. "I just want to finish a race where I'm capable of running," Gordon said. "What we can't do is have problems that we've had; you can't get caught up in a wreck like we did in Indy. You can't have a brake issue like we had last week. We can't be finishing 30th and 40th. It's not like we have to win. We want to win and we're working hard to do that, but we know that top 10s are plenty good enough." While Gordon has the luxury of aiming for top-10 finishes, Biffle is facing perhaps his best chance for a victory before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. The Roush Fenway Racing driver leads active drivers with four Sprint Cup wins at Michigan and has finished in the top 10 in 15 of 25 races on the 2-mile track, but he has just two top-five finishes this season. Yes, Michigan has been good to Biffle , but does that success actually put extra pressure on him to get in the win column this weekend? And will he drive more aggressively to get that victory? "Yeah, I think a little of both," Biffle said. "We have four races and have to win one of them to get in the Chase. We have been very fortunate to make the Chase six of the last seven years. We feel the pressure, trust me. ... We felt like we have been close. Charlotte, last week and Pocono were all opportunities for us. This certainly could be a weekend for us." Or, it could be the weekend for Gordon to notch his first win of the season and assure himself a chance to make one final run at a fifth Sprint Cup championship. Gordon has won three times at Michigan, including last year's August trip to the Irish Hills. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has 27 top-10 finishes in 45 races at Michigan, where he has won six poles. "I have always enjoyed this track," Gordon said. "It felt very natural here. We have had great success here. The three wins probably don't speak to the true stats. It's been a track that not only have we been fast at and won a few times at, but we have put some pretty nice, consistent finishes together, too." Consistency is something the No. 24 team hasn't enjoyed much of lately. In the past four races, Gordon has alternated between good and bad results, finishing ninth in New Hampshire, 42nd in Indianapolis, third at Pocono and 41st at Watkins Glen. "We had some good fortune at Pocono, and kind of recovered ourselves from the Indy incident," Gordon said. "And then we followed that up with the Watkins Glen debacle. So, I'm hoping that this weekend we can have another recovery like we had at Pocono." In order to do so, Gordon, along with Biffle and the other drivers, will need to make the right adjustments to the high-drag package being used at Michigan. It's the second time the series has used this setup, following its debut last month at Indianapolis. NASCAR announced Friday that the high-drag package wouldn't be used for the Chase, but who adjusts best to it this Sunday could go a long way toward determining who actually participates in the postseason. "In the race you can't be wide open," Gordon said. "I wish. I really wish we were because I think in order for this package to get the most out of it you need to easily be wide open, so you can really utilize the draft. ... We are going to be fanned out and finding clean air and then trying to get that tow down the straightaway. It's going to be a totally different Michigan I feel like than what we have ever had before."
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Roush Fenway Racing 's Greg Biffle likely needs a win in the next four races to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , but he'll have to do so while working with a new spotter. According to RFR, Jason Reiner will replace Joel Edmonds as Biffle's spotter this weekend at Michigan International Speedway for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). Reiner has spotted for Chase Elliott . "It is not one of the changes I was looking for, but it was time to head down a different path for the company," Biffle said. "Like I said, it was not preferable to start with a new spotter, especially with Bristol next weekend and four races before the Chase, but it is a business and we will work for it the best we can to get up to speed with listening to a new guy up top." Biffle leads active drivers with four Cup victories at Michigan, with his most recent win coming in 2013. He has 15 top-10 finishes in 25 Cup races at the track. Biffle is 80 points behind Clint Bowyer for the 16th and final Chase slot. He finished in the top five two races ago at Pocono Raceway, one of two top-five finishes this season (the other coming at Charlotte). " Greg has won two of the most significant races we've won here -- the 100th anniversary for Ford Motor Company and the 1,000th win for Ford," team owner Jack Roush said about Biffle's success at Michigan. "We are looking forward to the new setup here with the aero and we look forward to seeing what we can do."
Greg Biffle talks about the change on the spotter stand heading into Michigan, and how it wasn't the change he was hoping for this late in the season.
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
Stay updated with everything happening at the track 'Too Tough to Tame' RELATED: Check out NASCAR.com's new Social Drive Hey fans, there's plenty going on at Darlington Raceway this weekend and while many of you likely have Monday off for Labor Day observance -- there's a good chance you're stuck behind a desk this Friday morning and afternoon. Don't worry, NASCAR.com has you covered with our running blog of everything happening at the "Lady in Black", so keep this tab open on your browser and keep that refresh button handy. Just remember to minimize your browser when your boss walks by -- unless, of course, he or she is a NASCAR fan, too. 5:53 p.m. ET: Thanks for following along today. Here's Zack Albert with tonight's tune-in alert via his trusty typewriter. Tune-in alert @TooToughToTame . #NASCAR #NASCARthrowback #TraditionReturns pic.twitter.com/QDxhy3xuPn — Zack Albert (@zack_albert) September 4, 2015 5:35 p.m. ET: Tough break for 'Rowdy'. Backup car coming out of the hauler for @KyleBusch after tagging the wall w primary car in final practice #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/pLt1O5ydMx — Kyle Rickey (@KyleRRickey) September 4, 2015 5:03 p.m ET: Not getting enough attention for how good his paint scheme looks? 'Smoke'. . @TonyStewart brings his car in for adjustments during final practice @TooToughToTame . #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/TAcvf5o0gW — Motor Racing Network (@MRNRadio) September 4, 2015 4:54 p.m. ET: Swag? Check. Throwback scheme ✔️ Throwback firesuit ✔️ Throwback shoes ✔️ @DaleJr does Cale Yarborough right. #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/PbL1NVxsEZ — Motor Racing Network (@MRNRadio) September 4, 2015 4:45 p.m. ET: There's always time for the fans. . @KyleBusch of @JoeGibbsRacing signs for fans before @TooToughToTame final practice. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/KvGT5GAVyF — Zack Albert (@zack_albert) September 4, 2015 4:44 p.m. ET: Problems for the 88 and 55. Driveshaft change for @dalejr , who complained earlier of a bad vibration. @DavidRagan had a wall-banger. @TooToughToTame — tom jensen (@tomjensen100) September 4, 2015 4:35 p.m: ET: We're rolling for final practice. Get over to NBCSN. L8tr, dudes. #BojanglesSo500 pic.twitter.com/3oyv4ZP68Q — NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 4, 2015 4:16 p.m. ET: Swoon, indeed. One word: Swoon. #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/xdaM7sTpov — NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 4, 2015 4:12 p.m. ET: Every aspect of #NASCARthrowback has been strong so far. Seriously. The #NASCARthrowback hat game is strong so far. #TraditionReturns pic.twitter.com/TiPePcH6pH — Darlington Raceway (@TooToughToTame) September 4, 2015 4:07 p.m. ET: There were tons of awesome throwback images from Darlington on Friday. Here are some of the greatest. 3:58 p.m. ET: Sam Bass is one of the best. #NASCARthrowback @TooToughToTame http://t.co/TueDdY0Nj9 pic.twitter.com/wxaiSFYF22 — Sam Bass (@sambassartist) September 4, 2015 3:43 p.m. ET: What he said. We miss you, Buddy Baker. Nice tribute by @MWRteam and @ClintBowyer @TooToughToTame pic.twitter.com/7zcgnI7dVN — tom jensen (@tomjensen100) September 4, 2015 3:23 p.m. ET: Got questions about the new digital dashboard? Of course you do. Here are some answers. 3:17 p.m. ET: Yes, yes they are. Are you following @NASCAR on @instagram ??? Because they're crushing it with #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/yoL1fc6rsM — Jason Christley (@jay_christley) September 4, 2015 2:55 p.m. ET: And you thought Zack Albert was kidding. Now this is old school. @zack_albert #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/PgQCaZWkGr — Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) September 4, 2015 2:38 p.m. ET: Congrats, Bill Elliott . Awesome. Million Dollar. Tonight @BillElliott9 gets another name: NMPA Hall of Famer. #TraditionReturns pic.twitter.com/uikM8ndx2H — Darlington Raceway (@TooToughToTame) September 4, 2015 2:34 p.m. ET: Raise your hand if you think it'd be hilarious if Owen had a mustache, too. Had a visitor come by in his @Target hat pic.twitter.com/oCTQXQOf0v — Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) September 4, 2015 2:27 p.m. ET: Speaking of which -- Bill Elliott is about to address the media at 2:30 p.m. ET. Head on over to Press Pass to watch. But then come right back here. 2:26 p.m ET: Awesome. One Hall of Famer and one future one... @JeffGordonWeb and @billelliott9 catch up @TooToughToTame #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/P5yBtlehlo — Motor Racing Network (@MRNRadio) September 4, 2015 2:21 p.m. ET: Brad isn't typically known for siding with the popular opinion, but he isn't alone here. Just look at it. I like @KyleLarsonRacin scheme the best. Gave me chills seeing it today as it was my favorite car growing up. https://t.co/6QV8czboOO — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) September 4, 2015 2:19 p.m. ET: Color me jealous. Before @joeylogano took off for @TooToughToTame he passed out some throwback gear to #RaceHub crew. #Hublove pic.twitter.com/OpQzgGEXRT — Danielle Trotta (@DanielleTrotta) September 4, 2015 2:12 p.m. ET: Kyle Busch 's double-duty gets off to a good start. His No. 54 Toyota topped XFINITY Series practice. Read more and get full practice results here. 2:10 p.m. ET: Keselowski has a habit of putting top-five cars in Victory Lane. Keep an eye on him this weekend. Showing decent speed so far @TooToughToTame Anxious to see how it all plays out with one more practice session to find more. top-5 car — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) September 4, 2015 2:04 p.m. ET: Sunday will mark Jeff Gordon 's last dance with the "Lady in Black". Darlington gives Jeff Gordon a painting of all his record 7 wins here. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/F27Jqjseeh — Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) September 4, 2015 2:02 p.m. ET: Well put, Kyle. Well put. It's hot as today!! Cup car is a handful. Not sure what's going on in that. Xfinity car is extremely loose. Been workin hard today. — Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) September 4, 2015 1:50 p.m. ET: Greg Biffle ruled opening Cup practice. Get full practice speeds and more in this recap. 1:33 p.m. ET: Ray Evernham knows a little something about Darlington, so he gave Dale Earnhardt Jr . some tips. Read more here. 12:41 p.m. ET: Okay, I take it back. Sorry, Aric Almirola . Zack Albert wins #NASCARThrowback. Taking the media center old-school @TooToughToTame . #NASCAR #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/xHUtyMzm3V — Zack Albert (@zack_albert) September 4, 2015 12:28 p.m. ET: Keelan Harvick: Beer Pong aficianado. Read more in this week's Eight Tweets You Might Have Missed . 11:53 p.m. ET: Here's a look at that Austin Dillon wreck . Dillon tags the wall early at Darlington 11:48 p.m. ET: Something to keep in mind for any of you crew chiefs reading this blog. There's 3 kinds of grip, mechanical, aero, and tires, if you change the tires to compliment the aero package, they off set each other! — Darrell Waltrip (@AllWaltrip) September 4, 2015 11:41 a.m. ET: This is about as #NASCARThrowback as it gets. Oh my pic.twitter.com/pESuLoMDx4 — Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) September 4, 2015 11:40 a.m. ET: Oh yes. Oh my pic.twitter.com/pESuLoMDx4 — Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) September 4, 2015 11:27 p.m. ET: Wait a second, Kurt Busch ... is that a bell-bottomed firesuit? . @KurtBusch takes a break during first practice. #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/DQ3voQXrdh — Motor Racing Network (@MRNRadio) September 4, 2015 Darlington Stripe ✔️ pic.twitter.com/5u8RRu3avM — RCR (@RCRracing) September 4, 2015 And the first Darlington Stripe goes to... @austindillon3 . #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/WOQy0dxLNX — NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 4, 2015 11:05 a.m. ET: Aric Almirola wins throwback weekend. . @aric_almirola sporting a fu manchu mustache at @TooToughToTame ala "The King" Richard Petty. @RPMotorsports #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/oXQK5DVgdx — Jay W. Pennell (@jaywpennell) September 4, 2015 10:40 a.m. ET: A little bit of the past, a little bit of the future on display at Darlington. Darlington is honoring the past, but technology is #NASCAR 's future. Welcome the digital dash: http://t.co/SuP7Vrtavu pic.twitter.com/gPgKAV07nK — NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 4, 2015 10:35 a.m. ET: Some news for you this morning. Leavine Family Racing announced they have parted ways with crew chief Wally Rogers. Read more here . 10:27 a.m. ET: Drivers are really getting into this whole throwback thing. Cool hat, Kes. . @keselowski has one of those old-school hats to go with his paint scheme. #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/51Xe6NhGf6 — Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) September 4, 2015 10:15 a.m. ET: Yup. This is awesome. Welcome to the '70s, sports fans. #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/TVvZb5Q9tS — NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 4, 2015 10:11 a.m. ET: Darlington is certainly known for its close finishes, but we might need more than a Polaroid. Photo finish technology to be implemented this weekend. https://t.co/V5RR1RwyDw — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 4, 2015 10:07 a.m. ET: Throwback schemes might look cool, but don't be fooled -- they certainly aren't on the inside. 4 hours of practice today. Mid 90 degree temps. Cockpit temps nearing 130 degrees. We gonna earn it today boys and girls. @TooToughToTame — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 4, 2015
Roush Fenway Racing driver describes group's genesis, approach RELATED: O'Donnell addresses Dover meeting with drivers Roush Fenway Racing 's Greg Biffle did not attend Saturday's driver meeting with NASCAR at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, but he was aware of it. He also said Monday that he was among the first drivers to start talking about a council last September. "It actually started with Denny (Hamlin), myself and Brad (Keselowski) … in Chicago, after the Chase was set," Biffle said on "NASCAR Race Hub" on FOX Sports 1. "We started these discussions, and it's kind of continued from there and built and it's a good thing." The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver with titles in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck divisions described the make-up of the group and some of the subjects discussed. "It's a great discussion to continue to help improve racing and safety within the sport," Biffle said. "We drive the cars and so we know what taking power out does, adding or subtracting downforce a lot of times. You get the driver input, NASCAR's input and the team owners' input. They've got to pay the bills to continue to change the cars around. "It was a past champion, top Ford, top Chevy, top Toyota drivers. That's kind of how the council's made up. Then we discuss the issues, and they go on and meet with NASCAR so we can all stay on the same page and not be surprised by anything. "And we all have the same agenda. We want great racing, close side-by-side racing, competitive and safe for the drivers." In the past, a pair of future NASCAR Hall of Famers would talk with the sanctioning body about issues affecting the garage. Now, his fellow drivers felt the need to work together. "…before, let's face it, it was Rusty Wallace would walk in there or Dale Earnhardt would walk in there and (say), 'This is what we need.' And those guys really knew. "We as a collective group kind of know I think what direction we need to go and what we want to see. It's easier for us to go in there with a little bit more focused group on what we need and what we think and try and work with NASCAR on the outcome." MORE: Stewart says NASCAR meeting is 'very, very positive' Horsepower and aero adjustments were two of the topics on Saturday's agenda, according to Biffle . "We're race car drivers, right, so we want to go as fast as we can," Biffle said. "We want the most power, and I think that one of the topics is the power that has been taken away. It's made it a little bit more difficult to pass and so power is one thing, that we would like to be able to have that horsepower when we step on the gas pedal. I don't think you could argue with any race car driver as far as that. "And then the downforce issue and trying to make the cars a little bit less aero-sensitive from the cars behind and be able to pass. That's the key, right?" Biffle said the council sets the time to talk with NASCAR, and he found out on Saturday that the group was meeting so he didn't think it was unusual that six-time champion Jimmie Johnson wasn't aware that the meeting had taken place until after he earned his record 10th victory at Dover. "Jimmie went out for a bicycle ride," Biffle said. "Doesn't surprise me he didn't hear about the meeting or catch wind that they were actually meeting on that Saturday." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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
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
Runner-up showing at Charlotte is first top five of season for the No. 16 Ford RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings CONCORD, N.C. -- It's been a while since Greg Biffle has felt like this -- according to him, about a year. But the driver of the Roush Fenway Racing No. 16 Ford was pleased, albeit in a bittersweet way, with his second-place finish in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Biffle netted his first top five of the season in what he said has been a well-documented slow start for him and his RFR teammates. So forgive Biffle if he felt like the monkey was finally off his back -- even if it meant losing to former teammate Carl Edwards in the process. "It's kind of funny because I decided if I finished in the top 10 tonight I was gonna stand on the door top and be all excited and cheer," Biffle said, "and I finished second and I'm not happy. The thing is we ran in the top 10 all night. The car was good and had a lot of speed. That was a huge improvement." Improvement was good for a driver with an average finish of 20.5 in 2015, his worst mark since becoming a full-time driver in the Sprint Cup Series in 2003. To get Biffle's last top-five finish, you'd have to go back to the 2014 GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway . And in the 26 races between Pocono and Charlotte, Biffle managed only six top-10 finishes. Sunday was a bit of the old Biffle , the driver who has won 19 times on the premier level. He even showed some spunk while engaging in a fuel-mileage battle with Edwards in the final laps. "You know, I was putting a lot of pressure on Carl there," Biffle said. "I started going with about 10 laps to go. The crew chief (Matt Puccia) told me 'save all you can, just stay in front of the 88,' and I made a decision that I was going to try to beat Carl." With two laps to go, the fuel light came on indicating the fuel pressure was low, so Biffle said he had to preserve the rest of way. Luckily for Biffle , his desire to beat Carl didn't come back to haunt him. "Yeah, well, we knew that Carl was going to try and make it, and certainly nobody knows whether you've got enough gas," Biffle said. "I was sure hoping and praying that he would be about a lap short because, you know, we've lost a few -- everybody has lost a few -- like that." As far as whether Sunday's showing proved that the slow start was behind him, Biffle refused to go that far. But he was feeling optimistic about the road ahead. "I've got a couple of trophies from (Dover)," Biffle said. "We run good there. ... You know Michigan is kind of -- I've got it circled now on my calendar -- because if we've got speed on these kind of tracks back again, that's a good race track for us. So we'll see how we stack up." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule