2010 Ride: No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford
2010 Primary Sponsors: 3M, American Red Cross (2 races), U.S. Census (3 races)
2010 Owner: Jack Roush
2010 Crew Chief: Greg Erwin
2010 Stats: 36 starts, 2 wins, 9 top fives, 19 top 10s, 3 DNFs, 0 poles, sixth in points
High Point: Although the Kansas win certainly could be categorized as a dominating performance, it’s the August victory at Pocono that will be remembered as the sentimental highlight of the season for Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing and fans of Jack Roush.
On July 27, Roush executed an emergency crash landing for his private jet in Wisconsin. He managed to walk away from the fractured plane, but not without some serious facial injuries, including the loss of vision in his left eye. At the time of the green flag at Pocono, little was known of Jack’s condition, save that he would be undergoing surgery over the next few weeks. It seemed like just one more strike against the struggling Roush contingent, who had gone winless since the fall Talladega race in Nov. 2009.
Rallying around one of their own, many of the cars on the grid at Pocono sported a “Get Back to the Track Jack” decal in support of the four-car organization. The emotional outpouring from everyone on the NASCAR circuit was overwhelming, the four-car team pledging to race for their fallen leader.
With 30 laps to go, the No. 16 pitted under yellow and took just two tires. At the restart, Biffle pushed to the front, and with clean air, left the field behind in search of the checkered flag. Not only did the feel good win put Ford back in the win column, it returned the No. 16 to victory lane for the first time in 64 races. The positive results for the weekend, including a strong third-place finish for teammate Carl Edwards, left many with a smile of their face after a worrying week and a long year.
Low Point: Fontana. Race No. 4 of the Chase. The week after Biffle lifted the trophy at Kansas Speedway, his No. 16’s engine detonated just 40 laps into the race. He finishes 41st. From riches to rags in seven days… and it looked like he’d be bringing up the rear in the Chase at that moment.
Summary: The No. 16’s year seemed to be something of a rollercoaster. Biffle began 2010 with the strongest start of his career, enjoying six straight top 10s. However, that devolved into a season of near misses where he struggled to maintain that momentum. In fact, he did not manage to string together more than two top-10 finishes in a row until the final three races of the year. Combined with three DNFs, the 3M Ford was never a true contender for the Chase, but simply one of the usual suspects that ran in the top 20 of the Sprint Cup field.
Team Ranking: Third. Although that seems like a disappointing place to be for Biffle, one must consider that Roush Fenway Racing finished 4-5-6 in the Chase, and those three cars sat within 46 points of each other. Any questions that might have lingered over the new FR9 engine were effectively put to bed by the steady performance of the No. 16, No. 17 and No. 99 throughout the season, elevating them to a higher level of performance and horsepower down the stretch. It’s not wise to place the still-struggling No. 6 in the same wagon with the others, though.
Off-Track News: Biffle joined other Cup drivers in the joys of track ownership. In the spring he became part-owner of Sunset Speedway in Banks, Ore. He also assisted in the formation of a new late model series, the DAA Spec Motor Series presented by Sherwin Williams. The series raced on six tracks across the Northwest region for a $25,000 points fund.
Also, the 2011 NASCAR Pets Calendar has been released. The calendar features pictures of NASCAR drivers and their pets. Proceeds from the calendars go to the Greg Biffle Foundation, which was founded in 2005 by Greg and his wife Nicole to improve the well-being of animals. The calendars have been a popular addition to NASCAR memorabilia, with drivers and other racing celebrities vying for a coveted spot in the annual calendar.
2011 Outlook: While the No. 16 team will remain intact, with Biffle’s contract running through 2011 and his crew chief Greg Erwin still in place, it remains to be seen what sponsor will appear on the hood of his Ford. Will a static team result in a better overall result for the Roush Fenway machine next year? While the FR9 engine appears to be the missing muscle the Fords have been looking for over the past two years, the No. 16 team needs to find more consistency in their overall performance before they can be considered more than just Chase fillers.
2006 Frontstretch Grade: C
2007 Grade: C
2008 Grade: A-
2009 Grade: B
2010 Grade: B+
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