Greg Biffle ended a 49-race winless streak by passing Jimmie Johnson with 30 laps remaining to win the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night.
With his 17th career victory, Biffle extended his lead in the Sprint Cup points standings to 19, as the series moves to Kansas Speedway for a 400-mile race next Sunday.
Biffle has started the 2012 season strong and has been close to victory on multiple occasions. A former winner at Texas, and starting third on the night, Biffle and his 3M Ford team had the right combination to end a winless streak that dated back to Kansas Speedway in October, 2010.
New Jersey’s Martin Truex, Jr. started his NAPA Toyota on pole, continuing a solid beginning to 2012. Biffle’s teammate and Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth started his Best Buy Ford on the outside pole in front of an estimated crowd of 159,200. Kenseth was attempting to defend his victory in this race.
Truex, Jr. would lead the first 31 laps from pole until Biffle and Kenseth went past and set the tone under a long green-flag run. A caution for debris off David Ragan’s car at lap 68 shuffled the running order and Truex, Jr. used his prime pit-position to retake the lead from Biffle.
Biffle and Kenseth would soon go around the pole-sitter under green. A second caution for debris off David Reutimann’s Chevy at lap 98 saw the same result: Truex, Jr. taking the lead with solid pit-work. However, Biffle was able to retake the lead, but a new challenger surfaced in five-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson and his Kobalt Tools Chevy team were looking for team owner Rick Hendrick’s 200th Sprint Cup victory after coming so close at Martinsville. Johnson would take the lead on lap 113 and would be at the point for 156 of the next 190 laps, all under green. Biffle would continue to battle and with one of the longest green-flag runs to finish a race (230 laps). The teams had to work well during green-flag pit stops and make quick adjustments to help their drivers win.
Biffle would save his equipment and track down Johnson, passing him on lap 304 of 334 scheduled. From there, Biffle would pull away and Johnson would hold station, but eventually found trouble of his own. Attempting to chase Biffle down, Johnson hit the outside wall in turn three with 15 laps remaining.
Behind Biffle and Johnson in the top-5 were Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, who started 34th on the night and Kenseth. Positions 6-10 were Truex, Jr., Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Biffle now leads the point’s standings by 19 over Kenseth and Earnhardt, Jr. Truex, Jr. is a further point back in fourth and Harvick rounds out the top five, 24 points behind Biffle.