August 2, 2010 in Sports

Biffle ends skid

 
Associated Press photo

Greg Biffle celebrates at the track he has harshly criticized.
(Full-size photo)

As he closed in on the finish line, Greg Biffle knew the only person worthy of dedicating this victory to at Pocono Raceway.

“This one’s for Jack!” he said over the radio.

Was it ever.

With Jack Roush recovering in the Mayo Clinic, Biffle raced to victory in an often-delayed Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway at Long Pong, Pa., on Sunday to snap a 64-race winless streak and take the checkered flag for his injured team owner.

“I have to tell you, when it got to be five to go, I started thinking about,” Biffle said. “I started thinking, this race is meant to be.”

Biffle never doubted he would win a Cup race again even as his oh-fer reached nearly two years. He hadn’t won since the first two races in the 2008 Chase for the Cup championship. But with Roush in the Mayo Clinic for injuries sustained in a plane crash in Wisconsin, Biffle found Victory Lane.

“We know he’s watching,” Biffle said. “It’s been really tough. We worked so hard.”

It was also the first win of the season for both a Ford and Roush Fenway Racing.

Tony Stewart was second and Roush driver Carl Edwards was third. Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin, who won the last two Pocono races, rounded out the top five.

Edwards spoke with Roush on Sunday morning and said his boss sounded in good spirits.

“He was Jack,” Edwards said. “Don’t mess anything up. Don’t wreck. He’s been through a lot this last week. He really needed that victory. That’s pretty cool. I’m sure he’s really hard to handle for all those nurses in the hospital.”

Roush released a statement calling it a “proud day” for the entire organization.

“They’ve done a wonderful job and this is just the beginning of the rewards that have resulted from all of their hard work,” he said.

Biffle said Roush called him in Victory Lane and the owner said, “he never met somebody that had the will to win like I do.”

“I’m glad he thinks of me like that,” Biffle said. “No matter how grim the outcome can be, I’ll still be digging.”

The start of the 500-mile race was delayed by rain, then had two lengthy red flag stops that totaled nearly 50 minutes.

Elliott Sadler and Kurt Busch both walked away from scary wrecks that knocked them out of the race.

Sadler and Bush were the beneficiaries of NASCAR’s safer Car of Tomorrow after two violent wrecks. Sadler was forced to lay down on the triangle track and suffered a sore chest and stomach after smacking the inside wall. The engine on his No. 19 Ford was ripped from the body and smoldered nearby.

He called it his hardest hit ever in a race car. It came a day after he was the Trucks Series race winner here.

Busch’s No. 2 Dodge was hit from behind on a bump drafting attempt by four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson. Busch slammed into the wall, skidded along the grass, and smashed into an infield barrier.

That brought out the first red flag, for 28 minutes, 46 seconds. The second one was for rain and lasted 17:20. The start of the race was delayed 36 minutes by rain.

Biffle was one of the harshest critics of the track in a recent Sports Illustrated story, saying “they’re going to kill somebody there.”

• Kentucky Speedway will get a NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 2011, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The 1.5-mile tri-oval halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati will host NASCAR’s top series in early July. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced. A news conference is scheduled at the track Aug. 10.

NASCAR is expected to announce its 2011 schedule by Labor Day.

Formula One

Mark Webber took advantage of a penalty against Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel to win the Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was second, followed by Vettel and the other Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa.

Webber’s fourth win of the season gives him the lead in the drivers’ championship with 161 points, four points better than Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, who dropped out on lap 24 with technical trouble.

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