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Keeping Pace

It’s a bird, it’s a plane … no, it’s The Biff

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion. (Photo courtesy Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion. (Photo courtesy Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Greg Biffle is a superhero? For Cathy Elliott that just might be the case she says in this week's guest column.

Guest Column by Cathy Elliott

The first time I heard a driver -- it was Kurt Busch -- refer to Greg Biffle as “The Biff,” I laughed out loud. It sounded so much like a superhero’s name.
But what kind of superhero might he be? Their names should be indicative of their powers, right? They are men to be respected, by virtue of their physical prowess. The Hulk is bigger than we are, The Flash is faster, and Superman, obviously, is simply super.
So what is the deal with The Biff?
The only Biffs I’ve ever known, or known of, are Biff Tannen, the antagonist in the “Back to the Future” movies, and a couple of guys in college who were perpetually dressed in plaid.
I have never seen Greg Biffle in a pair of pink and green patterned pants, nor do I want to. I have also never heard him utter the phrase, “Why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here, McFly?”
But I have seen him drive, and that tells me all I need to know.
Biffle is not what you’d call a regular water cooler topic. When controversies and on-track issues arise, his is not generally the first name that pops into your head. He’s been known to get a little hot under the collar now and again, but as we all know, that comes with the territory for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers.
For the most part, Biffle is what you’d call an even-keeled type of guy. He likes to fish. He has a pilot’s license and enjoys flying.
He and his wife Nicole have a love and concern for animals and their foundation makes major contributions to local humane societies, no-kill animal shelters, spay and neuter clinics, and the Animal Adoption League.
Add a pair of big black spectacles and it’s Clark Kent, eat your heart out ... until a situation occurs. For our purposes here, we’ll call it a race.
Biffle springs into action. Whatever non-plaid clothes he is wearing are replaced by a firesuit. He straps in. He buckles up.
And he wins. Biffle was the 1998 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year, and the 2000 series champion. He was the 2001 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, and the 2002 series champion. He has made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup three times, in 2005, 2008 and 2009.
Currently, he is sitting in third place in the driver standings, 92 points behind four-time series champion Jimmie Johnson. Rounding out the top five are Biffle’s Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth; Kevin Harvick; and Jeff Gordon. The current top 12 includes former champion Tony Stewart; Carl Edwards; and Kyle Busch. It is, just to keep this movie reference thing current, a real clash of the titans.
In true superhero fashion, Biffle knows what he needs to do, and is prepared to follow through. He finished in the top 10 in all six Sprint Cup Series races leading up to Phoenix. In a teleconference on April 6, he said of course he knew the team would have finishes worse than 10th place over the course of the long season, and “we've been good so far. That's not good enough. We're going to have to be better than that … but we have the makings of a championship caliber team. We certainly do.”
So Johnson or any other possible future points leader had best take note of what they might see suddenly taking up a considerable amount of space in their rearview mirror. That isn’t a bird, and it isn’t a plane.
It’s The Biff, and he’s definitely flying.

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.