Biffle overcomes odds to make the Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Greg Biffle hasn’t raced at Daytona International Speedway since 2016. Six years later, he comes out of NASCAR Cup Series retirement and raced his way into the Daytona 500 with an upstart team without a charter.

The No. 44 NY Racing Chevrolet had a car prepared by Richard Childress Racing with a motor from Hendrick Motorsports. But, that’s about all they had until the past few weeks. Then, Grambling University came on board as the primary partner and that speeded the process up.

Biffle and team owner John Cohen had been talking for years about racing together. But, the reality of it came together in just the last month and the pressure was on for the team to get the car, and equipment needed, ready for The Great American Race.

With 19 Cup Series wins to his credit, the 52-year old driver was smiling on pit road with his 13-place finish. He will start 38th on Sunday.

“This is a huge deal,” Biffle said. “We were behind the eight ball as a last-minute deal and putting it all together. We were able to work through our problems and get it on the track.

“We have a great driving car; I really like it.”

For the early part of the 150-mile race, Biffle steadily worked his way forward into the top-15 and was running ninth when pitting for fuel only on Lap 33.

However, a problem getting fuel into the car caused a lengthy stop dropping him down to 15th place. It also resulted in Biffle going down a lap. The good part was, eight other cars were also a lap down to the leaders allowing him to make up some positions.

With three laps to go, Biffle radioed to his crew he was running out of gas and trying to save fuel. On the white flag, he said he was out. A caution came out when the leader Joey Logano spun freezing the field securing his spot in the Daytona 500.

“I’ve been trying to keep a cool composure with everything it takes to make this race and with the way things can go,” Biffle said. “I’m excited for Grambling University. Let’s face it, when you start a program, there’s a lot of things you need.

“The analogy I like to give is when you go camping for the weekend, you need everything. You don’t know what you need until you get there.

“We had a lot of equipment, but did we have the right equipment for this new car. That was a big problem for us and why we only had 10 minutes of practice the first day. Because of the new car issues, we weren’t prepared for it like we should have been.”

Now, with the team in the race, they feel like their feet are underneath them a little better providing a more solid ground to operate.

“Again, it makes me feel good to have a competitive car like we had tonight,” Biffle said. “It was amazing. I didn’t experience feeling too free or too loose.

“It makes me fool good about the 500 on Sunday having a competitive car. Not that we can just get in the Daytona 500, but I can challenge for the win.”

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