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Biffle holds on for Phoenix Nationwide win


A spate of late caution periods played into Greg Biffle's hands Friday night, as the driver of the #16 Ford held off Jason Leffler to win the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, giving team owner Jack Roush a 100th victory in the series.

Biffle beat Leffler to the stripe by 0.338secs in a green-white-chequered finish to win his second Nationwide race of the season and the 20th of his career. Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick completed the top five.

Biffle and Leffler finished 1-2 on old rubber after 14 of 17 lead lap cars came to the pits for at least two tyres under caution on lap 181. The late-race strategic calls made the difference for both Leffler and Biffle.

"The pit and [crew chief] Eddie [Pardue] really won this race," Biffle admitted, "That call at the end, I was with Eddie on staying out. I thought everybody came in, and I thought I'd have new tyres right on my bumper. All I needed was a couple of cars [behind me on old tyres], because these tyres - once they cool down - I think I'd have been okay if we went green the whole way. Once I was out front, my cars was really good."

Leffler said he couldn't catch Biffle once he pulled away on the late-race restarts, and was more worried about Keselowski, who took on right-side tyres on his final stop, restarted fourth on lap 185 and passed Burney Lamar for the third position.

"We were running eighth there, and they all pitted," Leffler said, "We didn't even think about pitting - track position was so important. There was going to be about 20 laps left and, in these Nationwide races, it seems like, when you have 20 laps left, you're only going to run about five under green."

In a dramatic reversal, Kyle Busch, who finished tenth, wrested the series points lead from Carl Edwards, who came home 33rd. Busch leads Edwards by 47 points as the series heads for Talladega on 25 April.

The fortunes of Busch and Edwards turned radically near the midpoint of the race. Busch had lost two laps during a green flag pit-stop on lap 50 because of a slow leak in the right front tyre of the #18 Toyota, but regained one under green, passing Edwards on lap 95. At that juncture, Edwards reported a skip in his engine, which his team was unable to repair under caution. Busch regained his lost lap with a free pass as the first car one lap down under the fourth caution of the race on lap 109 and, moments after the restart on lap 114, Edwards brought his car to the garage, where the crew diagnosed a problem with a valve spring on the #60 Ford. Edwards lost 25 laps while the team, led by Roush, rigged a makeshift repair for the broken part.

While Edwards languished in the garage, Busch took advantage of his free pass, working his way back to eighth before NASCAR called the fifth caution of the race for debris on lap 149. He restarted eighth on lap 154 after a pit-stop and gained two more spots on that circuit, before John Wes Townley's crash caused the sixth caution. It was only in the closing laps of the race that Busch faded to his eventual tenth-place finish.

by Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service


Related Pictures

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr will makes his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in Jack Roush`s #16 Ford, usually piloted by Greg Biffle   [pic credit: NASCAR/Getty]
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, races Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 31, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Ford EcoBoost Ford, and Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, is cheered by his crew while celebrating with a burnout after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished in third place, Sunday, May 24, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, leads Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, during the NASCAR XFinity Series 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway on May 17, 2015 in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning during the NASCAR XFinity Series 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway on May 17, 2015 in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford Mustang Ford, takes the chequered flag in the NASCAR XFinity Series 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway on May 17, 2015 in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR XFinity Series 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway on May 16, 2015 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Photo by Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR XFinity Series 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway on May 17, 2015 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, stands on the grid prior to during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, and Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet, lead the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(L-R) Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Mobil 1/Aspen Dental Chevrolet, Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 Cherry 5-Hour Energy/Special Operations Warrior Foundation Toyota, and Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, talk on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

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