NASCAR » 01 March 2009
Biffle wins Vegas Nationwide race
It looked more like a demolition derby at Islip Speedway than a marquee race in NASCAR's Triple-A division.
With cars slipping, sliding, spinning and crashing, Greg Biffle won the Sam's Town 300 Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for one primary reason; his #16 Ford survived the carnage that quashed the winning hopes of most other top contenders - and survived his own misfortune.
Despite running out of fuel on lap 147 and incurring a speeding penalty on pit road early in the race, Biffle crossed the finish line 0.391 seconds ahead of Roush Fenway Racing team-mate Carl Edwards in a green-white-chequered-flag finish. Denny Hamlin cut a tyre on lap 197, smacked the outside wall and collected defenceless Mike Bliss in the process.
The two-lap dash to the finish took the race nine laps beyond its posted distance of 200. Brian Vickers ran third, followed by Jason Leffler and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Four rookies - Michael McDowell, Brendan Gaughan, Justin Allgaier and Scott Lagasse Jr. - and Jeff Burton completed the top ten in a race that saw only ten cars on the lead lap at the end.
So thorough was the destruction of the field that 18 of the 43 cars that started the race weren't running at the finish, and another five were more than 26 laps down when the race finally ended more than three hours after it started, with the help of two stoppages totalling nearly 20 minutes.
After the twelfth caution of the race, one short of the race record, Biffle's Ford sputtered on the restart on lap 208.
"I ran out of gas on that restart going into [turn] one," said Biffle, who won his first Nationwide race since February 2006. "I kept it down on the bottom and the fuel pressure came back."
Just in time, as it turned out. Edwards nosed his #60 Ford under Biffle as the cars entered turn three on lap 208, but Biffle kept his team-mate pinned to the inside through the corner, and Edwards had to back off.
"I drove it in there as deep as I thought was reasonable," said Edwards, who rallied from a pit road speeding penalty to take the series lead by 48 points over Vickers. "I wanted to keep my leg in, but I thought I'd wreck him.
"Great points day for us - that's the only consolation."
Bliss, who joined previous points leader Kyle Busch, Hamlin and polesitter Scott Speed in the garage before the end of the race, had a different perspective.
"It's unbelievable," Bliss said. "I just want to go home."
by Reid Spencer/Sporting News
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