BROOKLYN, Mich. – Greg Biffle is feeling the stress.
Since NASCAR introduced the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format in 2004, there has never been a playoff in NASCAR’s premier series without a Roush Fenway Racing driver in the field.
That could change this season, unless Biffle or one of his RFR teammates (Ricky Stenhouse Jr. or Trevor Bayne) manages to win one of the next four races. Currently 18th in the Sprint Cup standings, Biffle isn’t in position to earn a Chase spot on points, and Stenhouse (27th) and Bayne (28th) are even farther out of the picture.
The good news is that Biffle is the series leader among active drivers with four victories at Michigan International Speedway, site of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
The bad news, from Roush Fenway’s standpoint, is that Sprint Cup cars this weekend are running the same high-drag package first tried last month at Indianapolis, where Biffle finished 19th, Stenhouse 35th and Bayne 40th.
Accordingly, Biffle knows the organization faces a daunting challenge in trying to maintain a perfect record of qualifying for the Chase.
“We have four races and have to win one of them to get in the Chase,” Biffle said on Friday before opening Sprint Cup practice at MIS. “We have been very fortunate to make the Chase six of the last seven years (Biffle individually).
“We feel the pressure, trust me. This is a great race track for us. We just have to get it right (on Friday) and tomorrow in practice. Our car has to have the speed to be able to pull off a win. We felt like we have been close. Charlotte, last week and Pocono were all opportunities for us. This certainly could be a weekend for us.”
Biffle will start 20th Sunday.