Originally created 05/02/04

Biffle wins Busch race



FONTANA, Calif. -- Greg Biffle's engine had a sporadic cough, he was losing oil pressure, had hot air blowing in his face - and he still won Saturday's Busch Series race at California Speedway.

"The guys never gave up and I never gave up," said Biffle, a former Busch Series champion who won his second race of the season and the 13th of his career.

Biffle's car was far from perfect, though.

Besides the mysterious engine and oil pressure problems he overcame, his personal cooling system stopped working on the 90-degree afternoon.

"With about 50 laps to go, it was like somebody flipped a switch and I had a hair dryer in my face," Biffle said. "Must have been a hose coming off the floorbox and hot air was coming off the floorboards."

Crew chief Brad Parrott said the team had yet to determine what caused the engine problems, but noted that his crew added 3 1/2 quarts of oil to Biffle's Roush Racing Ford during the race.

Fortunately for Biffle, the 150-lap event wound up as a fuel economy run, with all the leaders forced to pit for gas in the last 10 laps.

"We weren't planning on pitting, and with about 10 to go I saw the fuel pressure jump around a little bit," Biffle explained. "The last two Busch races here, I could have won, but I ran out of gas or had to pit for gas and nobody else did. It was a flashback, but this time we came down, took a few seconds of gas and it really worked out."

Running second to fellow NASCAR Nextel Cup star Matt Kenseth on lap 140, Biffle made a very fast stop. But when he got back on track, Biffle still found himself nearly a lap behind Kenseth and in eighth place.

Then, one by one, everybody ahead of Biffle drove onto pit road, either out of gas or close to it. Several of them, including Kenseth, had trouble getting restarted after their stops, giving Biffle the time he needed to get to the front.

"That explains it," Biffle said. "I didn't know how I got so far ahead of those guys."

Kenseth gave up the lead to Martin Truex Jr. when he pitted on lap 146, and Truex made his stop two laps later. That left Biffle on top and he cruised the rest of the way, beating runner-up Tony Stewart by 5.232 seconds, the length of the front straightaway on the 2-mile oval.

"I thought for sure there were some guys who were going to make it and that we weren't going to win," "Biffle said. "That was a big surprise to me."

Stacy Compton went 60 laps on his final tank of gas and finished third, followed by Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, series points leader Michael Waltrip and rookie Kyle Busch. Truex, who had won two of the previous four races, wound up 13th.

All but Compton and Busch are regulars in the Cup series and will race Sunday in the featured Auto Club 500.

Waltrip, who went into the race leading David Green by 17 points and Truex by 27, came away from Saturday's event 52 points ahead of new runner-up Busch. Truex fell to third, 53 points behind, while Green slipped to fourth, 84 back.



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