Biffle did try to win Daytona 500
Feb 28, 2012 at 12:00a ET
What a crazy Daytona 500 we experienced, huh?
There was rain, there was fire — heck, had the race gone on any longer, we would have even had some fog, too.
Oh, and don’t forget the drivers hanging out on the backstretch during our red flag period!
But you know what, after all the crazy things that happened over the past few days, a question I’m hearing often is whether or not Greg Biffle did everything he could to try to win the 2012 Daytona 500.
How can you say he didn’t? Naturally Roush Fenway Racing would have loved a 1-2 finish, but also don’t forget that Biffle could have made the wrong move on his teammate. If that had happened, we might very well be talking about Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the Daytona 500 champion today and not Matt Kenseth.
If you know Biffle, then you know how badly that man wants to win. He hasn’t won since Kansas in the fall of 2010. While he has won the July race at Daytona International Speedway, he hasn’t won the Great American Race yet, so you just know what winning that would mean.
If you follow Biffle on Twitter, you saw him on Tuesday post how almost all true racers feel — second place is the first loser. He put all the talk to rest when he posted he never lifted nor touched the brakes those entire last two laps.
There is one word that comes to mind about what we went through for the Daytona 500, and it is perseverance. The teams, the sanctioning body, the Daytona International Speedway staff, the NASCAR on FOX on-air staff, the NASCAR on FOX production staff, the track workers — I mean nobody ever gave up.
The biggest tip of the hat for perseverance easily goes to the fans. I was totally blown away by the crowd we had Monday night in the grandstands. Think about the fact that most of them missed work on Monday, but also with the fire, the red flag condition and the early morning finish, Tuesday became a wash.
Across the board, though, nobody ever gave up. That’s what makes our sport of NASCAR so awesome. Stop and think of what everyone faced. You had Sunday as a complete washout. Monday’s noon start got postponed again, to 7 p.m. ET, due to the rain. Then you had a wreck on Lap 2 that took out some of our biggest stars.
You had a freak accident where something on Juan Pablo Montoya’s car broke and he slammed into the jet dryer that was on the track at the time. That impact ignited the jet fuel causing a huge fireball and red flagged the race for about two hours. I don’t know that any of us have ever seen something like that happen. It was just really bizarre.
From the racing side of things, we had been saying through pretty much all of Speedweeks that if you were going to win the Daytona 500, the road was probably going to go through one of those three Roush Fenway Racing cars.
Those cars had been very strong the entire time down here. Like we pointed out though, while it was Matt Kenseth’s race to lose, you really didn’t know who the winner was going to be until they all came off Turn 4 on that last lap toward the checkered flag.
That’s why I love NASCAR racing so much. The unpredictability is what makes it tense and exciting. If you knew with 20 laps to go what the outcome was going to be, then why stay to the very end? We have shown time and time again in all three of our national touring series, you have to wait for the checkered flag to see who wins. If you don’t believe me, go ask James Buescher from the Saturday race. He was running 11th coming off Turn 4 coming to the checkered flag and won the race.
The other thing I really liked Monday night when it was all said and done, there were plenty of drivers up front that needed a fast start to this year. Biffle, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton all had pretty dismal seasons in 2011. Monday night, and well, OK, early Tuesday morning, they were up front when the smoke, literally, cleared.
That was exactly the shot in the arm those guys needed. That set a tone for their 2012. The drivers are pumped up. Their sponsors, owners and their fans are pumped up. Sure, they might not have celebrated in Victory Lane, but trust me, after what those three went through in 2011, this was a great start for 2012.