Making the Grade: A Preview of the Probable 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Top 12 (Part 7 of 12)
Somewhere in heaven, Benny Parsons must be smiling at 43-year-old Greg Biffle, who's truly accomplished a lot in his dream career as a competitive and winning NASCAR racer.
After all, it was BP who had discovered the Vancouver, WA native during NASCAR Winter Heat, which was a series that aired during the late 1990s on ESPN2. Impressed with his natural driving talent and his raw, competitive demeanor, wheeling his late model stock car with all his might against some of the West Coast's grittiest and aggressive talents of the time.
Taking note of Biffle's incredible skills behind the wheel, it was Parsons who had recommended the brash but confident racer to Jack Roush, who hired him to drive his No. 50 truck in 1998.
The rest, as they say, was history and some 15 years later, Biffle is now in his 12th season of Cup racing and still a Roush racer. Along the way, he's added on the 2000 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship and the 2002 Nationwide Series title as well as 18 career Sprint Cup victories.
Sure, he's had some throwaway seasons like in 2006-'07 as well as '11. For the most part, he's contended for championships and has proven his mettle as a driver who doesn't back down when adversity strikes him during the races. Like most of the greats in racing, he's gone through his fair share of crew chiefs, currently working alongside Matt Puccia. This pairing seems to have the makings to build upon their success from 2012 and truly do some damage in '13, and by that, it's wins and say, like five of them this year.
Biffle has always been an incredible intermediate racer, excelling at venues like Texas, Charlotte, and Atlanta. Expect him to dominate at the cookie cutter, 1.5-mile tracks, which is good news for any Biffle fan here - that's pretty much the majority of the schedule in Sprint Cup racing.
Just like most racers, Biffle has his weaknesses but unlike the racers we've previewed thus far, they're not plentiful. Solid on the short tracks, an ace on the intermediates, and a strong racer on the plate tracks, perhaps the road courses are his undoing.
Then again, with the way Biffle and Puccia are working right now, they'll be strong all year long. Every driver and team is on the same level playing field (well, at least that's the hopes!) with the Gen-6 racecar and certainly, the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion team will work diligently on getting the balance of that car right.
Eventually, Biffle will be hoisting the NASCAR Sprint Cup trophy and it'll most likely happen with the Roush-Fenway Racing organization. After coming so close in 2005 and nearly replicating that magic again in 2008, as the Hunger Games saying goes (to an extent), the odds will be in his favor....someday.
For now, look for a stout year by the 2003 Cup rookie runner-up, who may be ranked a bit low at sixth place. Strong and solid, there's just going to be more teams that's going to step it up.
Buckle up friends, Biffle's coming his way - but he's got five drivers who'll most likely top him for this year's standings. Just beware of "The Biff" if he gets off to a very hot streak.