Biffle: Whether a race is exciting depends on where you’re sitting
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Greg Biffle realizes that fans sometimes get bored during races when there are long stretches of green-flag racing, with very few cautions to bunch up the field.
Last week's Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway was a perfect example, with only two cautions (both for debris) in the 501-mile event and none over the final 234 laps.
Biffle, who beat Jimmie Johnson by 3.235 seconds to get his first win of the season, just wishes that fans could see things from his vantage point behind the wheel.
"It was an exciting race for us,'' Biffle said. "I know it might have been a little bit caution-free, but we had a good car, good pit stops.
"As a race car driver, when you're driving around under caution it's no fun. Pit stops and pit cycles and where you're running on the track, trying to make your car better, every single lap something happens or you're grading yourself.''
So while Biffle, to a point, understands fan's frustrations with a lack of action, he had absolutely no problem with how Texas played out.
"For us and the race teams there's constantly stuff going on,'' Biffle said. "It may not look at it from the outside, just standing up there watching.
"But if you're watching the lap times on FanView, or you're listening on the radio to the teams, you're understanding all the strategy and competitiveness that's going on during that green run.''
This weekend, Biffle, who leads Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth by 19 points in the standings, returns to a Kansas Speedway track where he has posted two wins, hoping to continue what has been an outstanding start to the year.
"We've run competitively at every venue -- superspeedway, intermediate tracks, which have always been our strong suit, and the short tracks we've been pretty respectable on,'' Biffle said.
"So, at this point, I feel good about just improving on all those fronts, just getting a little bit better than we are now.''
EARNHARDT JR.: "I'M THE BEST''
When asked Friday about pecking orders within race teams, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said there probably is such a thing, including at the Hendrick Motorsports organization.
"I think you have a feel for, (that) there is a bit of a pecking order and it really comes down to what you've done lately,'' said Earnhardt, currently tied for second in Sprint Cup points.
"I think that Jimmie (Johnson) and Jeff (Gordon) will always carry a certain role in that company that I will probably never achieve just due to them being there that long and having that trust built up with Rick (Hendrick) and all the employees there and their accomplishments, obviously.''
But Junior said he has no problem with that.
"I've never felt that was a disadvantage to me,'' he said. "I felt like I have everything they have and I have the same resources and the same ability to make everything I can out of the team that they have.''
Asked if he thought Johnson, the five-time champion, was better than him, Earnhardt flashed his competitive side.
"No, he's a hell of a race car driver, but I feel like I'm the best,'' he said. "I think that's the way you have to feel.
"I feel that I'm smarter than everybody and I can drive better than everybody. And I know a lot of people ain't going to agree with that, but I feel pretty strong about it.''
BUSCH, JOHNSON FAST IN CUP PRACTICE
Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson set the pace in Friday's Sprint Cup practice sessions.
Busch was No. 1 on the chart in the first practice, clocking a time of 31.083 seconds at 173.728 miles per hour.
Carl Edwards was No. 2 in the first practice while Kasey Kahne, Landon Cassill and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top five.
Johnson was on top in the second practice, clocking a lap of 30.865 seconds at 174.955 m.p.h.
Mark Martin was second-fastest in the final practice, followed by Martin Truex Jr., Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin.
Sprint Cup qualifying is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. Saturday.
BUESCHER, COULTER SET TRUCK PACE
James Buescher, driver of the No. 31 Progenex Chevrolet, had the fastest lap of the day in the two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice sessions.
Buescher had a lap of 31.632 seconds at 170.713 miles per hour in the second practice session.
Joey Coulter led the first practice with a lap of 31.694 seconds at 170.379 m.p.h.
Truck qualifying is scheduled for 9:35 a.m. Saturday, with the SFP 250 set for 1 p.m.
SPEEDWAY REPAVING STARTS SUNDAY
Shortly after the conclusion of Sunday's STP 400, Kansas Speedway will begin its repaving project that will be completed in time for the October Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races.
The project will include repaving the track, which opened in 2001, while also increasing banking and adding a road course.
As part of Sunday's groundbreaking event the Kansas National Guard will bring an M1A1 Abrams Tank and an Armored Combat Earthmover to get things started.
BOWYER SPONSOR ADDS RACES
A press conference was held Friday to announce that 5-hour ENERGY, sponsor of Clint Bowyer's No. 15 Toyota, has increased its sponsorship commitment.
Michael Waltrip Racing owner Michael Waltrip said that 5-hour ENERGY, which had previously committed to sponsor 25 Sprint Cup races in 2012, has now agreed to sponsor all but one of the remainder of Bowyer's races on the 37-race (including the all-star race) schedule.
The lone exception will be the May 6 race at Talladega Superspeedway where Aaron's will be the primary sponsor for the No. 15. The car will honor the University of Alabama’s BCS National Championship football team.