Biffle, Roush Fenway closing in on contract

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) Greg Biffle and Roush Fenway Racing are getting closer to a contract extension and could have an announcement soon.

Biffle’s contract is up after this season, but he expects to continue driving the No. 16 Ford as he has done full time since 2003. He said Friday there are many ”moving parts” in finishing a deal and that the parties will meet with primary sponsor 3M in Minnesota next week for additional discussions.

”I have a feeling it’s getting closer,” he said. ”I know there’s been a lot of activity.”

Biffle’s been a Roush Fenway mainstay for the past 12 years, winning 19 races and notching 85 top-five finishes since first climbing into the cockpit for owner Jack Roush in 2002. He started full time a season later and has ended the season among the top 10 in points six times since, including a ninth-place finish last year.

”It’s a good program for 3M. I think they’re happy,” Biffle said. ”Hopefully, here soon, we’ll have something.”

Biffle hasn’t had the start he hoped for this season with zero victories and only two top-10 showings. One of those, however, was a sixth at Texas Motor Speedway on Monday, a showing Biffle believes gave the team a lift heading into the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night.

Biffle said his team and the Roush Fenway program had struggled some this season with finding enough speed to compete at adjusting to Sprint Cup’s new aerodynamic package. He said his team has had difficulty at intermediate length tracks like Las Vegas and California.

But Biffle said his Ford was fast off the truck at Texas and stayed that way throughout the weekend.

Biffle knows with NASCAR’s new playoff format, a victory at Darlington – he has won here twice, most recently in 2005 – would most likely get him into this year’s chase.

Not that it will be easy. Biffle said there’s no other venue in Sprint Cup that takes the concentration level to make it around with problems at the ”Lady in Black.”

”The car slides up and hopefully stops about six inches from the wall,” he said, explaining what drivers face entering Darlington’s corners. ”It just takes a lot. Hopefully, it’s just a little (Darlington) stripe and not a big one.”