Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion team have been nothing if not consistent in 2012. In fact, the Roush Fenway Racing employee has been perfectly consistent in three races: he has placed third in all three contests.
That is not an easy feat to accomplish, given the already wide variation among the types of race tracks on the schedule.
The "Biff" was able to avoid disaster at Daytona, ran solid in Phoenix and spent most of the day in Las Vegas near the top. It is tough to criticize any part of any performance on his part during the young season. The only real mistake he made was in a race that did not count for points: His wide swerve in attempting to keep the lead in the second heat of the Gatorade Duels allowed teammate Matt Kenseth to win.
Biffle's consistency, unfortunately for him and his team, has been matched by a different competitor having a better car at the end of all three races. He really has not challenged for a win yet in 2012.
His best shot was Daytona, though it seemed he may have been content to help Matt Kenseth win by doing a bit of blocking on second-place finisher Dale Earnhardt Jr. after the last restart.
However, at both Phoenix and Las Vegas, the No. 16 was clearly not the best car and it showed. That is more of a compliment to Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart than it is a knock on Biffle. Those two drivers clearly deserved their wins.
Still, he is the points leader after three races by a fairly impressive margin of 10 points. While not a huge advantage, it does highlight the importance of consistency during the course of a NASCAR season.
Stewart and Earnhardt Jr. were able to make the Chase last year without winning. Biffle can and will do the same if he can mirror his performances for another 23 races.
But, it would be a surprise if he did not win this season. He just looks too strong not to do so—at least once. Perhaps he just needs a extra little luck on a certain Sunday/Saturday night.
Actually, he might need more than a little luck at two of the next three races on the schedule. Two short tracks will be featured in the next three weeks, and Biffle has no victories at short tracks in his career. But, in between the cramped confines of Bristol and Martinsville lies Fontana, otherwise known as the Auto Club Speedway. He does have a victory there.
After leaving Martinsville, the next two races will also be held on tracks where he has won in the past: Texas and Kansas. When Biffle snaps his winless streak, it will more than likely happen on a 1.5-mile oval track such as Texas or Kansas.
If Biffle can maintain the consistency of performance that he has so far in 2012, it is not out of the realm of possibility for him to return to Victory Lane by the end of April. Of course, the other 42 drivers will have to cooperate in this scheme.