Greg Biffle says he will be a contender for the 2012 Sprint Cup and marked his first step toward the NASCAR championship with a win at the Michigan International Speedway on Sunday.
Biffle celebrated in Victory Lane after a wild Pure Michigan 400, his second win of the season and one that put him in the lead of the Sprint Cup standings. In the closing laps, Biffle held off a hard-charging Brad Keselowski and Kasey Kahne to cross the finish line less than a half second ahead of his challengers. Keselowski and Kahne ended the race in a virtual photo finish.
“It was a wild race,” Biffle said. “My car was super good at the beginning of the race when the track was kind of green. Once I got on restarts and in traffic, it wasn’t that good.”
The race was headed for a sprint finish during the final 10 laps, when Sprint Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson grabbed the lead from Keselowski on lap 191. One lap of the tri-oval track later, Biffle too passed Keselowski and set his sights on the race leader. Misfortune struck Johnson on lap 194. He blew an engine and would eventually finish 27th. Oil on the track brought out a caution flag, which pushed the race one lap beyond the scheduled 200, under NASCAR’s green-white-checkered finish rule. Biffle said the win addresses his chances of being a factor in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which wraps up with the final race of the NASCAR season at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida on Nov. 18.
“I know a lot of people don’t expect us to win the championship. Don’t expect us to compete for the title,” Biffle said. “I don’t care what they say or who they want to talk about or who they talk about. We will be a factor when it comes down to Homestead, I promise you that.”
There are three races remaining before the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which are the final 10 races of the NASCAR season. Next on the schedule is the Irwin Tools Night Race, in Bristol, Tennessee, on Saturday, Aug. 25.
Biffle currently leads the Sprint Cup standings by 20 points over Matt Kenseth, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. just two points behind in third place. The top 10 drivers in the standings and the two best drivers in positions 11 to 20 take a run at the championship in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.