NASCAR: Live from Pocono

The agreement was announced Sunday at Indianapolis, but Biffle said the team made re-signing him a priority once it knew Carl Edwards would be leaving after this season. Now that his future is set, the priority is finding speed in the team's Fords.

Sure, Edwards has a pair of wins, but the season has largely been a struggle for the team, which includes Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Biffle was optimistic after the first practice on Friday but wound up 25th in qualifying. Stenhouse placed 23rd, and Edwards, who had hard contact with the wall, wound up 26th.

"It feels like we're getting back to where we need to be to compete and win races," Biffle said before qualifying. "That's the most important thing here is to win races. Listening to Jeff [Gordon] talk about the win at Indy, that's hopefully us talking about winning here or Michigan or one of these next couple of races because we certainly need it and we're capable of it.

"We just have to continue to close the gap. I think before we unloaded here last time we were 32nd and now we're sixth, so we're on speed, we feel. We need to work on closing the gap from eighth to first, and I think we can do that."

When Matt Kenseth left Roush Fenway after the 2012 season, Biffle was viewed as the veteran leader while Edwards was viewed as the face of the team because of his outgoing nature and on-track performance.

Biffle says his results have stacked up well against Edwards' the past few years even though Edwards nearly won the championship in 2011, losing on a tiebreaker to Tony Stewart. Regardless, with Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne as teammates next year, Biffle is now the team's clear leader.

"I'm ready to spend more time at the shop and try and help this organization get faster," Biffle said. "We've worked really hard for the last month and have gained tremendously on it, so I look forward to kind of carrying the flag and leading this organization. None of us are happy right now, but we're getting a heck of a lot better."

Gordon back to work after gratifying win

By Mark Ashenfelter

All told, winning the Brickyard 400 couldn't have come at a better time for Jeff Gordon.

A companywide luncheon at Hendrick Motorsports already had been scheduled for this week to celebrate owner Rick Hendrick's 65th birthday, not to mention the 30th anniversary of the Sprint Cup juggernaut. The luncheon also turned into a celebration of Gordon's win.

On a personal level, the Gordons were having a birthday party for son Leo before Jeff headed to Pocono Raceway.

But in the what-have-you-done-lately world of NASCAR, none of that really mattered once Gordon reached Pocono.

"And yet we get here and it's back to business. We're certainly going back to business with a different mindset of what we're capable of doing as a team and what cars we're bringing to the racetrack and things like that," Gordon said. "This is Pocono. It's similar to Indianapolis, but it's unique and different enough as well that we've had to work today pretty hard to try to get some more speed out of the car."

Although speed was the focus on Friday, Gordon enjoyed having a few days to reminisce with his co-workers and family. It helped him appreciate the magnitude of what he accomplished in winning a fifth time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Being that he hadn't won one of the sport's top races in years, the win was extra-special.

Page
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...