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Greg Biffle is still second-guessing the California 500


Greg Biffle is still kicking himself for losing last Sunday (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern

   Pit stops are frequently key to winning or losing in NASCAR, and that's been quite evident the first two races this season:
   -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. made two pit road mistakes at Daytona and became so frustrated he triggered a big crash.
   -- Then Greg Biffle made a pit road bobble at California's Auto Club Speedway late Sunday and lost a race he appeared on the verge of winning.
    "A lot of people don't understand what we do inside the car to try and get an advantage," Biffle says.  "We're racing on pit road just as hard or harder than we're racing on the race track."
   Of course if the race cars themselves were more driveable, and if it were more easy to pass on the track, maybe pit road wouldn't be such a wild place….
    "We're going 55 miles an hour down pit road – that's close to the speed most everybody drives on the freeway -- and we're pulling into a parking space and coming to a complete stop," Biffle says.
   "At the other end of pit road, they're taking the picture…so if I count one-thousand-one before I lift on the gas and go to the brake, versus not, that's going to make the difference whether I beat Jeff Gordon out at the other end.  So we're trying to get that last milli-second of speed.
    "At California I held the gas on just a little longer than I had the couple stops before, to try to beat Jeff out.  I knew it was the last stop of the night.
   "And when I got stopped, I was about a foot from the yellow line in my pit box…which is about three feet deeper than I had been stopping."
   And Biffle ran over an air hose.
   The loss was biting: "After a couple days I quit thinking about it. 
    "When you first get out of the car, you're really upset about it. We had a really good car, and it's tough when you have to go home not winning a race like that.
    "But…was I going to be able to beat Matt (Kenseth)?  Matt had a fast car, Matt was out front….and we probably weren't going to beat Matt out of the pits. And he beat Jeff. 
   "It wasn't a 'gimme' that we would be able to pass Matt.
    "You can't blame it on the pit crew either, because they had done what they had done all night, and I just stopped deeper than they expected, and pinched the air hose on the left front.
    "But I was pretty confident it kept us from our opportunity to win.
    "We don't know if we would have won, but we felt pretty confident we could."


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