|Biffle, Wallace secure Chase positions|
By B. Duane Cross, NASCAR.COM
August 28, 2005
12:40 AM EDT (04:40 GMT)
When the last piece of sheet metal had been crumpled Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Chase for the Nextel Cup field had two more entries: Greg Biffle and Rusty Wallace.
Biffle finished third behind winner Matt Kenseth and runner-up Jeff Burton, and gave a nod to his crew for their diligence. "This race team has a never-give-up attitude," he said. "To come from dead-last to third ... and I didn't get any freebies -- not in the pits -- I had to earn every single one of them."
Point standings leader Tony Stewart and second-place Jimmie Johnson earned Chase berths last week at Michigan.
Biffle, Wallace and Johnson must start the remaining two races before the Chase to solidify their spots in the Chase.
Biffle's third-place finish was his second consecutive top 10, his best streak since four in a row between Darlington and Dover. It was Biffle's 13th top-10 as he pulled with 11 points of Johnson, who finished 36th with a blown engine.
"We had an awesome car all night," Biffle said. "I believe after we worked on it we had the fastest racecar, but we were just too loose there at one point in the race.
"Coming from the back at Bristol is the toughest thing to do -- and all the fenders are straight on this racecar, so that's pretty awesome."
Wallace qualified 20th and weaved his way to the front of the field, taking the point two times for nine laps total. His fifth-place finish was the sixth top-five of the season, his most since 2002 (seven), and the 200th of his career in 694 races.
Wallace is the 11th driver in NASCAR's premier series with at least 200 top-five finishes, breaking a tie with Benny Parsons.
"I'm really excited about it," Wallace said after his fifth-place finish. "It was a good run for us. It was a good top-five finish; I'm happy with it.
"That top [five] finish was pretty strong. I got a pit-road penalty for speeding entering and that got me way behind, [then] we kind of got back in sync.
"We had to fight for track position all night," Wallace said, "and I fought for it and it was a good strong finish."
Biffle and Wallace remained above the fray -- for the most part -- and worked their way through 16 cautions.
Biffle started fourth and stayed with the leaders through the first 300 laps. However, he was forced to pit on Lap 310 because of a flat tire and fell to 29th. He was 21st with 150 laps remaining, but deftly played the pit strategy game and was back with the lead pack on Lap 375.
Wallace gambled to get track position, opting to stay on the track on Lap 303 following a crash involving Dale Jarrett and Ryan Newman. Front-runners Kenseth and Biffle pitted and in the long run that decision -- Wallace's not to pit -- may have cost him a top-three finish.
"I guess I should have come down for four tires when Kenseth came in," Wallace said, "but, man, I just did not want to get back in that pack so I was just holding on."
The final six spots in the Chase currently are held by Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon.
Eleventh-place Kenseth, who dominated the Sharpie 500 for his first victory since Las Vegas in March 2004, is 11 points out of 10th place; Jamie McMurray is 12 behind in 12th place.