‘In The Loop’ At Darlington Raceway

End Of The Trend?

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 9, 2007) ? A pattern has developed over the past two years at Darlington.

The pattern is a simple one: A Greg Biffle win followed by a Greg Biffle win.

During a press conference this week during testing at Charlotte?s Lowe?s Motor Speedway, Biffle adamantly proclaimed his love for the historic South Carolina track.

But the trend of Biffle dominance is, at best, a question mark going into this weekend. The unknown is the Car of Tomorrow, which will run on its longest track to date ? 1.366 miles (the previous longest was Phoenix at one mile).

Biffle has tremendous statistics at Darlington in the non-COT over the past two years. But after four races in the COT, Biffle has had up and down efforts.

The question this Saturday night: which Biffle will show up? Will it be the Biffle who has owned Darlington the past two years? Will it be the Biffle who has struggled in the COT? Or will it be a combination of both?

First take a look at some of the startling stats Biffle has accumulated over the past two years at Darlington. His average Driver Rating at Darlington is an amazing 143.8. If you took any driver?s two best Driver Ratings from any track, only one driver has a better average than Biffle at Darlington:

Avg. DR From

Driver Track Best Two Races Dates of Races

1. Tony Stewart Martinsville 145.1 10/23/2005, 4/2/2006

2. Greg Biffle Darlington 143.8 5/7/2005, 5/13/2006

3. Denny Hamlin Pocono 143.1 6/11/2006, 7/23/2006

4. Tony Stewart Watkins Glen 140.1 8/14/2005, 8/13/2006

5. Jimmie Johnson Las Vegas 139.4 3/13/2005, 3/11/2007

6. Kevin Harvick Richmond 138.6 5/6/2006, 9/9/2006

7. Matt Kenseth California 132.3 2/26/2006, 2/25/2007

8. Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s 130.5 5/20/2006, 5/28/2006

9. Matt Kenseth Chicagoland 130.0 7/10/2005, 7/9/2006

10. Jeff Gordon Martinsville 129.8 10/23/2005, 4/1/2007

NASCAR?s Loop Data includes a statistic called Laps in the Top 15. Biffle?s dominance allows the stat to be pared down even further. Check out the Laps in the Top Five. (A total of 737 laps were run at Darlington over the past two years.):

Laps in the Top Five at Darlington (2005-2006)

1. Greg Biffle ? 699 of 737

2. Ryan Newman ? 510 of 737

3. Jimmie Johnson ? 507 of 737

4. Kasey Kahne ? 470 of 737

5. Jeff Gordon ? 305 of 737

As the above shows, Biffle spent only 38 laps outside the top five the last two years.

Now the bad news for Biffle.

In the COT races, Biffle has finishes of fifth, 32nd, 17th and 19th. Below are some of his combined stats from the four COT races and his ranks in each category:

Greg Biffle in the COT

Avg. Finish: 18.3 (16th) Laps in the Top 15: 891 (15th)

Driver Rating: 79.5 (14th) Fastest Laps Run: 44 (9th)

Pass Differential: 48 (4th) Laps Led: 0 (T 22nd)

Green Flag Passes: 150 (5th) Total Laps: 1,708 of 1,716 (T 11th)
Quality Passes: 58 (15th) Points: 1,037 (15th)

The above shows that while Biffle hasn?t been awful in the COT, his output has dipped compared to his usual standards.

All that should make for an interesting watch come Saturday night. Usually, Biffle would be considered a top-five lock at Darlington. But with the COT, who knows?

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