He would be a perfect candidate for What’s My Line? Plain spoken and unassuming, Greg Biffle isn’t even known all that well in his native Pacific Northwest. He’s a back-up center for the Trail Blazers, isn’t he? Or is he one of those Ice Trucker guys? No, no, he’s the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks.
Until now, few would blame him for feeling like the Rodney Dangerfield of NASCAR. Either the media is talking about the ever-quotable defending champion Tony Stewart, NASCAR’s favorite son Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his winless streak, or they’re ogling over Danica Patrick. He’s not even the best-known driver on his team, with the photogenic Carl Edwards getting all the camera time. Quick, go ask your buddies at work if they know he’s leading the points right now. Unless they’re as die hard as you, they have no idea it’s Greg Biffle.
Under the radar? Yeah, the Biff is subterranean. He’s as “Joe” as they get (not that this is a bad thing, mind you) at a middling 42 years old, 5-feet-9 inches in height (with average build, of course)and a good-looking wife with a certain girl-next-door quality.This could be the year that changes that as the former Truck and Busch (now Nationwide) Series champion guns for a date with history.
How many drivers have won a NASCAR Triple Crown? Make a circle with your thumb and index finger. That’s right, zero. Mark Martin didn’t do it, Kevin Harvick hasn’t done it, and even for all his wins, Kyle Busch hasn’t done it. No one has a title in each of NASCAR’s top three series.
What if I told you Greg Biffle has 53 wins spread over the three? Check this out: the Vancouver, Washington (that’s right, Biff isn’t Canadian either) native won a Truck title in 2000, and then followed that up in NASCAR’s lower-tiered car series in 2002. He sniffed at a Cup title in 2005, when he won six races, but got beat out by Tony Stewart, who captured his second crown that year.
After his win at Texas Saturday, Biffle proclaimed this is his year, and he plans to keep it going all the way to Homestead. He’s got the consistency that’s eluded him in the past, with five top tens in seven races, and more top fives (four) right now than he had all of last year (three). In fact, Biffle’s worst finishes are pair of perfectly respectable runs (13th) at Bristol and Martinsville. If you know anything about how he drives, then you know his anonymity has nothing to do with being timid on the track. Just ask Kevin Harvick, with whom Biffle had a famous dust-up that got Harvick in trouble. Then there was that slide job number on Jimmie Johnson Saturday for a recent example. A shrinking violet he is not.
If you think about it, a Biffle championship could be good for NASCAR. He’s really no redneck, but he’s not Hollywood either. He can talk fishing (deep sea), flying (he’s a licensed pilot) and food (he once owned a Vancouver pub and was a guest with Paula Deen once). With all the hype and tripe, it would be nice for NASCAR to have a story about the old-fashioned concept known as winning. Of course, if that happens, his days walking unabated through airports may come to an end.
Other articles by Jim McCoy include:
The Curious Case of the Burning Busches
A Minority Report On the Martinsville Madness