DROPPED CYLINDER RESULTS IN 24TH-PLACE FINISH FOR BIFFLE AT POCONO
June 13, 2012
LONG POND, Penn. (June 10, 2012) – The NASCAR circuit made an extended appearance in Pocono, adding a few test days before the actual race weekend due to the new track surface. Pocono is called “the tricky triangle” and even with plenty of extra track time it lived up to the nickname. Biffle started 13th, but things did not go as planned during the race. Biffle led for a total of 19 laps, but on lap 106 the No. 13 3M / Rite-Aid Ford dropped a cylinder. Biffle was able to stay on the lead lap and cross the finish line 24th.
The teams spent Wednesday and Thursday testing at the newly repaved Pocono Raceway. On Friday the race weekend kicked off with two more practice sessions. The 3M / Rite-Aid Ford was good, but not as good as it needed to be. When it came time to qualify on Saturday Biffle made his way around the 2.5-mile track fast enough to start 13th.
On lap one Biffle jumped from 13th to sixth and then the caution came out for a multiple-car accident. The second caution came out a few short laps later on lap 14 and NASCAR deemed it the scheduled “competition caution.” Biffle came down pit road for fuel only and restarted eighth on lap 21. On lap 21 Biffle got his left front down into the dirt on the inside of the track and immediately started dropping back in the field since the off-road trip had slightly damaged the left-front splitter.
As the field cycled through green-flag stops Biffle found himself leading a lap for the bonus point, before coming down pit road for four tires, fuel, a shim out of the left front and to have debris cleared from his grille. Biffle made a comeback and even found himself out front of the field on lap 83.
Trouble struck on lap 106 when Biffle radioed in that he was blowing up on the track. The 3M team was concerned, but based on the gauges in the car Biffle guessed they had a valve spring issue. Being down a cylinder put him at a horsepower disadvantage to the field and he quickly lost track position. Biffle was able to keep the engine from giving out altogether, while remaining on the lead lap, to cross the finish line 24th.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Biffle after the race. “We’ve been on the edge with these engines all year and it’s just such a fine line with oil temperature, and you come here shifting and it just didn’t make it. It’s unfortunate. It’s a good thing we just lost a cylinder and could make it to the finish. It’s unfortunate we fell back that far, but the points are so tight we knew that if we had an issue we were going to drop a lot – if we got in a wreck, or had an engine problem, or a mechanical issue or flat tire. You’re vulnerable when you’re only one point or 10 points ahead, but that’s racing. As long as it doesn’t happen in the Chase I’m happy.”
Quicken Loans 400
2.0-mile Michigan International Speedway
Sunday, June 17, 2012