Time running low for winless drivers as Chase draws near
BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) With time running out on his bid to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Greg Biffle is back at the site of his most recent victory.
It was over three years ago.
In June of 2013, Biffle won at Michigan International Speedway - his fourth victory at the track and second in a row. In 116 Cup races since, he's come up empty. He missed the Chase last year and is in danger of falling short again unless he can pull out a victory in one of the last three races of the regular season.
''This sport is very humbling,'' Biffle said. ''When you think you've got it figured out, for sure you don't, and it reminds you of that every week.''
Biffle is the active leader in wins at Michigan, but he finished 19th at the track earlier this season. Shortly after that, he ran off a streak of three straight top-10 finishes at Daytona, Kentucky and Loudon, but he's been outside the top 15 in each of the four races since.
Biffle and Roush Fenway Racing teammates Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. would all miss the Chase if the regular season ended now. None of them has a win this year.
Stenhouse started 25th and finished second last weekend at Bristol.
''Our qualifying efforts lately haven't been as good but our racing package has been better,'' Stenhouse said. ''Earlier in the year I felt like we qualified really well and then wouldn't race as good. For whatever reason we haven't been able to get them both dialed in together.''
Since his last win in 2013, Biffle has finished in the top 10 twice in six races at Michigan.
''You have to have a car that gets around this place good. Each end is different, and what I like about the race track is no matter how your car is driving, you can adjust your line around the race track,'' Biffle said. ''Maybe run a little bit higher on one end than the other to compensate if your car is a little too loose or is doing something that you don't like.''
There's always a lot of drama in the last few races before the Chase, and that's when the season's second race at Michigan falls on the schedule. A dozen drivers have won this year, solidifying their spots in the Chase as long as they stay in the top 30. Rookie Chris Buescher is cutting it close. He's currently 30th and has only two top-10 finishes, but one was a win at Pocono.
Hendrick Motorsports could end up with only one Chase entry if Chase Elliott falters and Kasey Kahne doesn't make it. Jimmie Johnson is safe for Hendrick, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. is still sidelined as he recovers from a concussion.
Kahne hasn't won since August of 2014, a span of 70 races. He qualified 11th on Friday.
''I think the Hendrick engine package is strong,'' Kahne said Saturday. ''Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports is working hard to get our cars back where they need to be.''
Elliott has 11 top-10 finishes this year, but none over his last eight races - and he has no wins.
Austin Dillon is 11th in the standings, the top racer without a win. He's in position to make the Chase on points as of now. So are Elliott, Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman, who have no victories but are immediately behind Dillon in the standings.
''I was able to win a championship without winning a race in the Xfinity Series. It's definitely possible, but I would like to go to Victory Lane,'' Dillon said. ''We are going to focus hard on Victory Lane the next three weeks - and then ten after that.''
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister