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NASCAR Season Preview: Greg Biffle

Photo credit: Ned Leone

#16 3M Ford, Roush Fenway Racing

Born: December 23, 1969

Home: Vancouver, Washington

2011 HIGHLIGHTS: With three poles on the season (at the second Michigan, Kansas, and Texas races), Biffle set a new personal best in 2011. He also led more than 10 laps in seven different races, including a total of 154 laps over both Michigan races, on the way to a 16th place finish in points.

2011 LOWLIGHTS: Biffle had his worst season in four years, breaking a three-year streak of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He had only three top five finishes, his worst mark since his rookie season in 2003, and went winless for only the second time in his career.

SEASON OUTLOOK: After Carl Edwards put together the most consistent Chase in the format’s history and Matt Kenseth rode early season victories to a solid points finish, Biffle became the apparent third rung on the Roush Fenway Racing ladder by the end of 2011. Though he and Matt Puccia (who replaced Greg Erwin in July) began to put together some solid end of season runs, they didn’t have enough momentum or chemistry to find a back way into the Chase, and so ended Biffle’s streak of championship-eligible seasons at three.

As for Biffle’s 2012 prognosis, do recall the famously unpredictable career trajectories of modern Roush drivers. Edwards has only won a total of three races since scoring nine victories in 2008; he didn’t win at all in 2009, finishing 11th in points. Kenseth has also suffered two winless seasons in the past four years, in 2008 and 2010, but has finished fifth and fourth in the past two Chases. The only thing that seems consistent is that no Roush driver (save for clear-cut number four David Ragan, who hasn’t been competitive since nearly making the 2008 Chase and was dumped due to lack of sponsorship this offseason) has two bad years in a row, so look for Biffle to rebound in 2012.

– Chris Leone

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