By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
At the start of the weekend, the New Hampshire 301 did not look as if it would be a good race for Greg Biffle and his No. 16 NESN Fuel Ford Fusion team. Biffle was 34th in the opening practice, and qualified his Roush Fenway Racing Ford in the 28th position.
In the following practices on Saturday, Biffle’s team improved his car, as he was 15th fastest in the second practice. Biffle was 19th fastest in the final practice.
After the race went green on Sunday, Biffle quietly began to work his way up through the field. Over the final 50 laps, Biffle was able to keep his nose clean as several incidents wiped out contenders ahead of him.
One of these incidents occurred directly in front of Biffle as Ryan Newman got into the back of Carl Edwards on the backstretch. The contact turned Edwards into Kasey Kahne, whose car was then turned back up the track into that of Kyle Larson’s. Larson spun across the track as Biffle slowed to avoid the melee.
With just eight laps to go, Biffle worked his way to the outside of fifth place Kyle Busch. Busch fought hard, nearly slid up and into Biffle in turns one and two. Biffle held his line and drove by, and would remain in the fifth position for the final eight laps. This was Biffle’s first top five finish since the New Hampshire Chase race last year, 26 races ago.
Biffle was pleased with his results and after the race that he said that he thought he could have run with Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick at the end.
“I certainly am [happy] with the fifth [place] top five but we have a little more work to do to get our car faster. We will keep digging; we have some work to do on it. We have a lot of momentum right now. Everybody did a great job on the NESN Ford Fusion. We just worked hard at it. We got a lap down on that long run in the middle of the race but we were able to come back. Brian made the right calls and we got it up there. Once I got it up in a little cleaner air in the top-10 it started coming to life. I changed my line a little bit and adjusted on the brakes and were able to run down the 4 and 22 at the end there. A few more laps there and we could have maybe been racing with those guys.”