NASCAR: Biffle on Michigan pole
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 19, 2011
BROOKLYN, Mich. ó Greg Biffle is still annoyed with Boris Said after their run-in at Watkins Glen.
That hasn’t stopped him from focusing on this weekend’s Sprint Cup race in Michigan.
Biffle won his first pole in over three years Friday at Michigan International Speedway, posting a qualifying lap of 190.345 mph in his No. 16 Ford. It was an important step in the right direction after he finished 31st at Watkins Glen on Monday, then confronted Said in the pits afterward and gave him a couple of quick hits while Said was still in his car.
Said had touched off a wild crash at the end of the road race.
“Our deal is over with,” Biffle said. “We had our differences on the race track, that one instance, I told him I wasn’t happy with it on the race track and then I didn’t go around him the rest of the day. We talked about that on the phone and it is over.”
Said is racing in Montreal this weekend, so he wasn’t anywhere near Biffle during Sprint Cup qualifying.
“We’ve settled our differences,” Said explained. “I won’t be going to Christmas dinner with him, that’s for sure.”
Biffle is 13th in the points standings but without a win this year. A victory would be a significant boost to his hopes of reaching the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
He hasn’t finished higher than fourth this year.
“We have to have a win to get in the Chase, that is obvious,” Biffle said. “Here, Bristol and Atlanta are good tracks for us. I think this is probably our best, and this may be our best opportunity ó here or Atlanta. This is a huge deal for us and huge momentum for us going into Sunday.”
Matt Kenseth was second in qualifying, and Ryan Newman was third. Denny Hamlin, who held off Kenseth to win in Michigan in June, was fourth.
Kenseth will start in the top 10 for the sixth time this year. He’s fifth in the points standings.
“We had a lot of speed, and honestly I wish I wouldn’t have watched Greg’s lap and saw his lap time,” Kenseth said. “If I hadn’t tried so hard I might have had a shot at it. That is pretty fast.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified eighth, and points leader Kyle Busch was 17th.
Busch finished third here in June.
“Wish we would have had a better lap, but we will work on it tomorrow in race trim and hope we can run like we did here in June and have a shot to win,” Busch said.
Newman posted his ninth top-10 start of the season ó and when he showed up for his news conference afterward, he couldn’t avoid being dragged into the Biffle-Said dispute.
“I’ve never had an issue with Boris,” Newman said. “I read some of the things that he said. I don’t think he’s out of line in the things that he said, and I agree with some of the things that Biffle said as well. But, it’s a competition out there, and it becomes a more sensitive issue when you have somebody who isn’t full time in this series.”