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Greg Biffle has some hot iron again, at Watkins Glen!

  Greg Biffle celebrates breakthrough win at Pocono (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   So picking Greg Biffle as one of the favorites here this weekend doesn't look so crazy now, does it?
    Biffle set the marks during Friday's practice for Sunday's 220-miler at this most famous road course, and he turned just a few heads.
    But then last weekend's Pocono victory, following strong runs at Chicago and Indianapolis, clearly show the tide has turned for Ford and its teams.
   And with the Gibbs guys in a funky slump, and Rick Hendrick's guys making so many mistakes, hey, Jack Roush may be ready to jump out of that hospital bed and head back to the track.
   "Last week did a lot for our mindset, did a lot for our team internally," Biffle says.
   "We know we are in the fight of our life to get in the chase right now. But I feel like -- confidence level -- we can win again in the next five races. I really do feel that way.
    "We have run so well the last three or four tracks, and we have Michigan, Atlanta, Bristol all coming up. Those are some great tracks for us, right down our alley.
    "If things go right, we can run right up front and be competitive.
    "Even if we don't win, we need to top-fives...and I definitely think we are capable of that."
     Woe is me may be the mantra among many rivals, but in the Biffle-Greg Erwin camp optimism is blooming, finally.
    Biffle says he's "100 percent" confident that he now can win at any track on the tour: "Everywhere we go."
   And it's not just some new chassis designs and tweaks either, Biffle says, but the crew's touch at changing things for the better during the race...something that is not that easy to do for anyone.
    At Pocono "I didn't feel I had the best car early-on, or three-quarters of the way through the race," Biffle says. "But my car really turned on at the end.
    "At the end -- even if the caution came out (for a green-white-checkered) -- I had a piece to race with those guys."
   And here?
   Biffle says Sonoma showed him "I've got at least an equal opportunity to win here.
   "And Michigan (next week) I can't wait for."
   Of course there is more to this story than just Biffle and Erwin and their teammates.
   Roush is still laid up in a hospital bed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Mn., recovering from that plane crash.
   The Roush guys flew up, separately, to see the boss. Biffle, however, had to leave, for a TV interview, before Roush got out of the department where he was getting an MRI. Teammate Carl Edwards, though, did see and talk with Roush.
   "They were still looking at his face," Biffle said.
    "I had to be on the ground by noon (for the TV shoot)....so I left the trophy in his room, right there at the end of his bed.
    "I told him if he didn't get out of there soon, I would be bringing him another one."
    Edwards, a strong third at Pocono, showing the Roush team comeback isn't a one-trick pony, says he's encouraged about Roush after talking with him Thursday.
   "Jack is really good," Edwards said. "He is a lot better than I expected.
    "He is Jack: We talked a lot about the race this weekend and what we were doing with our teams. He seems really good to me." 
   And Edwards said Roush was doing his part as a cheerleader:
   "We are on the step -- this is the way Jack described it – and we have a chance to either step up or step down," Edwards said.
    "Michigan would be a great place to take that next step."
    Maybe here? Hey, Edwards won at Montreal last summer, beating road course ace Marcos Ambrose to boot.
    "Sonoma (the last road course) is its own thing, hilly, slippery, and slower, so it is more of a finesse track," Edwards says. "This track is a combination -- There are some slower sections, like the last two corners onto the front straightaway that are finesse. Then there are huge high-speed areas and breaking zones.
   "Then there is Montreal, which is full-on: go all the way through the gears, come to a stop and turn right and left. It is a real stop-and-go track.
    "I would say that Sonoma is swoopy and smooth, Watkins Glen is in the middle, and Montreal is very aggressive.
    "It is fun we get to go to all of them."
    But Edwards hasn't been quite the natural at this road course stuff.
  "Here my first time, it was such a challenging track," Edwards says. "It was a two-day test, Nationwide and Cup.
    "I wrecked my Nationwide car right off the bat, and Brad Parrott was my crew chief and he said 'That is it. If you wrecked the first one that early, you will probably wreck the second one, and we can't afford it.'
    "So I sat and watched guys test all day.
    "The next morning I went out in the Cup car and backed it into the fence the first lap.
    "I thought this was not the way to start a relationship with a race track."
    And when Edwards came back for the race, he had more problems. "I had a special paint scheme on for our sponsor, and no decals, so it looked different," Edwards said.
    And he put it in the wall early.
   "Casey Mears came up to me and said 'Hey did you see that idiot back into the fence at 9:05 this morning?' And I said 'Yeah, that was me, dude.'
   "I was that bad.
    "So it is a track I have worked very hard at."


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