2008-09-24 / Sports

Biffle And Roush Teams 1-2-3 At Dover

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

DOVER, Del. - For the second week in a row, Greg Biffle was in victory lane after winning Sunday's Sprint Cup Camping World 400 at Dover Downs. He was followed across the finish line by teammates Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards.

"I knew I had to race Matt clean, because he's a great teammate and competitor," said Biffle. "I got a run on the outside and got up beside him and he tried to pinch me off going down the backstretch, like he should have because he was leading, but I had my nose out there and I couldn't give up."

Biffle is now tied with Jimmie Johnson for second in points.

Biffle had taken the lead for the first time during lap 300 of the 400- lap race, but lost it to teammate Edwards. The last caution came out on lap 352. All the leaders pitted. Edwards took only two tires while Kenseth and Biffle each got four.

Edwards was the leader when green-flag racing resumed with 42 laps left. Kenseth and Biffle passed Edwards for the lead on lap 378. All three of the Roush Fenway drivers raced each other hard, until Biffle pulled away with nine laps remaining.

Kenseth's runner-up finish was his best of the season.

Kenseth's second-place finish moved him up from 12th to 10th in points.

"I don't know if four tires would have gotten us to victory lane," said Edwards. "I think if we had taken four it would be different, but my hat's off to Greg and all those guys. Third is no good, but racing like that was a blast. That's the most fun you can have."

Jack Roush was clearly happy with his teams' performances.

Mark Martin finished fourth. Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Michael Waltrip rounded out the top-10 finishers.

Kyle Busch's championship hopes vanished on lap 177 after an engine expired in his No. 18 Gibbs Toyota. The winningest driver has seen his title hopes almost disappear after just two races. He is now last among all Chase drivers, 210 points out of first.

Chase leaders after 28 of 36: 1. Edwards-5390, 2. Johnson-5380, 3. Biffle-5380, 4. Burton-5308, 5. Harvick 5289, 6. Bowyer-5284, 7. Stewart 5277, 8. J. Gordon-5272, 9. Earnhardt 5261, 10. Kenseth-5223, 11. Hamlin-5197, 12. Kyle Busch-5180

Top-10 Nationwide Series leaders after 29 of 35: 1. Bowyer-4222, 2. Edwards 4036, 3. Keselowski-3974, 4. Bliss-3779, 5. Ragan-3721, 6. Reutimann 3676, 7. Kyle Busch-3673, 8. M. Wallace-3381, 9. Leffler-3348, 10. Ambrose-3321

Top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders after 19 of 25: 1. Benson-2858, 2. Hornaday-2857, 3. Crafton-2694, 4. Darnell-2634, 5. Skinner-2631, 6. Crawford-2612, 7. Bodine-2601, 8. Sprague-2456, 9. Setzer-2395, 10. Cook-2366

Dale Earnhardt and his crew chief Tony Eury have gotten into some heated radio conversations. The latest came at New Hampshire and got so raunchy that car owner Rick Hendricks had to intervene.

Earnhardt says he doesn't mind fans and media listening in on their scanners, but he wasn't going to try and clean up his act.

"I don't mind if y'all listen, but keep your opinions to yourselves, all right? Because I am doing business out there, and I am doing my job and that is how I do it. Y'all can listen all you want, but if you hear something that upsets you, don't come crying to me or whoever said it on my radio," he told media at Dover.

"I don't want to restrict the fans' access. I like the access. If I was a fan, that's what I would want. ... It keeps me motivated and enthused during the race. It keeps me from getting relaxed and monotone during the race. I don't want that to happen."

Chip Ganassi is a guy that's always looking for another deal. While he has been successful in other racing series, he has failed to make himself felt as an owner in NASCAR.

Unless he comes up with something substantial, and soon, his Cup teams will be history.

Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative racing owners anywhere in the world. His racing empire includes 11 drivers that represent six different countries and seven series championships, three Indianapolis 500 championships, five Rolex 24 At Daytona overall championships and over 130 wins.

Today his teams include two cars in the Indy Racing League, three in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, one Daytona Prototype in the world of Grand American Sports Car racing, two entries in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and regular entries in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA). Overall, that is at least 10 cars covering no less than five different touring divisions.

He first branched out into the world of stock car racing in 2000, when he partnered with Felix Sabates and Team SABCO. Ganassi renamed the organization Chip Ganassi Racing. Veteran driver Sterling Marlin gave Ganassi's team its first victory in the first race of the 2001 season, the Gatorade 125 qualifier at Daytona.

Since then his NASCAR teams have gone downhill.

The one bright spot was Juan Montoya's 2007 road course win at Infineon Raceway.

While Montoya has shown consistency this season with seven consecutive top-20s and a points ranking of 21st, Reed Sorenson and Dario Franchitti haven't been as fortunate.

Franchitti lost his sponsor and has gone back to Indy-racing, while Sorenson is leaving at the end of the season for Gillett Evernham.

To make matters worse, Texaco has announced it will pull out of NASCAR at the end of the season, leaving Montoya's No. 42 without a full-time sponsor. Montoya will likely still carry a backing from Wrigley again in 2009 after racing multiple times in 2008 with Big Red or Juicy Fruit on the hood of his Dodge.

Regardless, the elements seem to be lining up for Ganassi to do one of two things - merge with another team or leave NASCAR racing completely. The second option might be a little more realistic than you'd think because Ganassi didn't hesitate to shut down Dario Franchitti's team earlier this year.

One of the rumors is that Ganassi will merge whatever is left of his organization with Michael Waltrip Racing. Such a move might work, because both are facing significant sponsorship dilemmas in 2009.

Weekend racing: The Cup and Nationwide teams are at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway, while the Craftsman Trucks have the weekend off.

Sat., September 27, Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300; starting time: 3 p.m. (EST); TV: ESPN2.

Sunday, September 28, Sprint Cup Camping World RV 400; starting time: 1 p.m. (EST); TV: ABC.

Racing trivia question: Who are the three Richard Childress Cup drivers?

Last week's question: Who is the oldest driver in Cup racing? Answer. The three oldest drivers are: Ken Schrader (May 29, 1955), Bill Elliott (Oct. 5, 1955), and Mark Martin (Jan. 6, 1959). Terry Labonte (Nov. 16, 1956) has only driven a handful of races in 2008.

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