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Biffle seals the deal at last.

Greg Biffle finally opened his 2006 Nextel Cup victory account on Saturday night at the Darlington Raceway as he held off a closing Jeff Gordon to win the Dodge Charger 500 by a handful of car lengths.

Successfully defending his 2005 victory at NASCAR's oldest and toughest venue, Biffle finally made amends for the countless opportunities that have gone begging so far this season by keeping the nose of his #16 Roush Racing National Guard Ford ahead of Gordon's #24 Hendrick Motorsports DuPont Chevrolet in a tense battle under the floodlights at the unique egg-shaped 1.366-mile oval.

From ninth place on the grid, Biffle worked his way to the front within 40 laps, passing polesitter Kasey Kahne for the lead on lap 35 and remaining a constant threat for the rest of the evening. However it took a well timed green flag pit stop some 50 laps from home to put Biffle in front for good as the notoriously abrasive Darlington track surface played havoc with everyone's set-up at some point in the race.

Such is the difference in performance between new and old tyres, the fact that Biffle made his final pitstop a mere one lap before leaders Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth allowed him to gain more than three seconds on his rivals and vault from fourth to first in the process.

Unusually for a race at Darlington, the final 115 laps of the 367-lap race ran without caution, forcing drivers to conserve their tyres as much as possible through two complete fuel and tyre runs. This made for some interesting rather than spectacular racing in the closing stages as Gordon first dispatched Kenseth for second and then set about inching towards Biffle for the lead.

With ten laps remaining Biffle's cushion was a full second but as he began to encounter lapped traffic in the final five laps Gordon soon began to close. With three to go Gordon looked primed for a move only to have his momentum dashed by Ken Schrader at a critical moment, giving Biffle the edge he needed.

Gordon crossed the line about three car lengths behind the rear bumper of the #16 Ford and was quick to show his displeasure to Schrader despite taking another big step towards this years chase for the championship while Kenseth chipped another couple of points away from points leader Jimmie Johnson with a typically stout run to third from 31st on the grid.

Johnson led several times after starting 25th but didn't have enough to challenge the top three in the final stages and took fourth place, several seconds ahead of fifth place finisher Dale Earnhardt Jr and the sixth place battle finally won by Ryan Newman over Kyle Busch and Mark Martin.

Jeff Burton and rookie Denny Hamlin completed the top ten while defending series champ Tony Stewart recovered from a mid race spin to take 12th position.



Related Pictures

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02/11/06 Daytona. Greg Biffle is one of the favorites to compete for the 2006 Nextel Cup. Photo Credit: autostock
Jeff Gordon - DuPont/Hendrick Motorsport Chevrolet   [pic credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images]
07/15/05 New Hampshire. Matt Kenseth posted the 22nd quickest time in the opening practice session for the New England 300. Photo Credit: Autostock
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)
First Round winner Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Sprint Fan Vote winner Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Mobil 1/Aspen Dental Chevrolet, and Second Round winner Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 Cherry 5-Hour Energy/Special Operations Warrior Foundation Toyota, pose in Victory lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Photo by Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, and his crew chief, Greg Ives, celebrate in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, climbs out of his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 1, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, poses in victory lane with his crew chief Greg Erwin after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive To Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 18, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Back Row L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Back Row L - R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, climbs into his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Stewart-Haas vice-president Greg Ziparelli addresses the media at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, talks to his crew chief, Greg Ives, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series History 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 22, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finished 7th Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Earnhardt Jr. is 4th, Gordon is 1st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammate Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS won. (Photo Credit: HHP/Alan Marler for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS finished 1st, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS finished 37th Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick  is 22nd, Kahne is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd.(Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)

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