Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASCAR; Biffle Makes His Move Victory at New Hampshire Is His First of the Year; Johnson, Edwards Tied at Top

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASCAR; Biffle Makes His Move Victory at New Hampshire Is His First of the Year; Johnson, Edwards Tied at Top

Article excerpt

Byline: DON COBLE

LOUDON, N.H. -- Greg Biffle saved his best stuff for when it counted most Sunday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

He not only waited until the final 11 laps to pass Jimmie Johnson for the lead in the Sylvania 300, he waited until the Chase for the Championship to win his first race of the year.

Biffle seemed content with running second to Johnson for nearly 50 laps before he took off in his No. 16 Ford. A series of late-race cautions -- there were five yellow flags in the final 78 laps -- worked perfectly for Biffle, whose car was set up for short runs.

"I was holding back," Biffle said. "This Ford really wanted to go. We got that caution and that allowed us to close up on Jimmie Johnson. That's what I needed. I was better on the short run.

"I knew with 15 to go that I would have to press him, but I felt pretty confident a caution would come out. They seem to happen in the final 50 laps. Things worked out exactly like we planned."

Once Biffle got out front, he drove away to a 30-yard victory.

"The only weakness I had all day long was the restarts," Johnson said. "After two or three of them, I thought my tires would have been good enough. I still felt a little vulnerable.

"I was inching back up to him, but I ran out of time. Victory lane would have been great, but second's not a bad thing either."

Coupled with Carl Edwards' third-place finish, Edwards and Johnson now are tied for the lead in the Chase for the Championship. Biffle, who started the playoffs tied for eighth, improved to third place.

The starting lineup was based on the point standings, to the 12 drivers in the Chase for the Championship were up front for the green flag.

Points leader Kyle Busch led the first three laps, but something broke in his suspension and sent him deep into the running order. He was two laps down on Lap 83 when his car spun in the second turn. Jamie McMurray and David Ragan crashed trying to avoid him. Busch finished 34th, 12 laps down, to drop to eighth in the Chase standings.

During that caution, Tony Stewart sustained damage on his front-right fender when he struck Johnny Sauter's car on pit road. …

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