Biffle leads Chase drivers in qualifying
AP Sports Writer
CONCORD, N.C. — Greg Biffle won the pole Thursday night for Saturday night’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the first NASCAR Cup race without an Earnhardt in 33 years.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will sit out the next two races after sustaining his second concussion this year during a 25-car car pileup Sunday at Talladega. Regan Smith, who’ll drive Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet, qualified 26th.
“It’s incredibly sad anytime you have to have something like this happen, especially with how hard Dale has worked to get into the Chase and become a contender,” said Mark Martin, who’ll start on the front row alongside Biffle.
“There were Earnhardts in the races before I got here and there have been ever since,” Martin said. “It’s a tough one for our sport. On the positive side, he’ll be back in two weeks. And I prefer to look at the positive side. It could be worse.”
Biffle couldn’t have been better.
He set a track record with a lap of 193.708 mph in his No. 16 Ford to earn the pole for the fifth race in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
He called the lap “nerve racking” and was cackling as he crossed the line.
“That is the fastest I’ve been around this race track, the fastest anyone has, I guess,” Biffle said. “I couldn’t believe the speeds I was seeing. I knew it was going to be tough to (break the record) and I dug deep. I knew it was going to be hard to beat. These cars won’t go much faster.”
It was Biffle’s 12th pole overall and third this year, but his first ever at Charlotte. He hopes it will give his team momentum heading down the stretch.
“We’ve been down in the dumps because we haven’t started out the Chase very well,” Biffle said.
Biffle is ninth in the Cup points race, 49 points behind leader Brad Keselowski.
“It is too late to get back in the hunt? Probably,” Biffle said. “But mathematically it’s possible. Last week we finished sixth and I look at the scoreboard and Brad is seventh. So we gained one point.
“So at that rate it will only take me 49 more weeks to catch him.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User