The Beach Boys sang of "California Dreamin".
For Greg Biffle, his trip to the sunshine state was more of a living nightmare.
Despite winning at the now Auto Club Speedway in 2005, The Biff had an average of 17.1, and has finished 15th or lower in five of his starts since. Coming in eighth in points, Biffle also entered his double header weekend, looking to end his 37 race winless streak.
Friday practice for the No. 16 3M Scotch-Blue Ford saw them end up 23rd on the speed charts, but qualified second for Sunday's race.
Biffle would also compete in Copart 300, and qualified 14th for that race on Saturday morning, after a slight delay for fog.
The No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford battled into the top five by lap 18, and would stay in the top ten for most of the day. Fifty laps into the event, Biffle was battling for the lead with the No. 20 of Joey Logano.
Laps of hard racing resulted in Biffle running Logano into the wall on lap 49, with Biffle taking the lead.
The Biff would remain, for the rest of the day, in the Top 15, often times racing two, and sometimes, three wide with the likes of Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers.
His late race charge with nine laps to go saw Biffle challenging leaders Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski, when he went to the outside of the two cars. As the No. 88 of Keselowski backed off as Hamlin and Biffle made contact. Hamlin would finish 31st. Biffle ended the day 14th.
After the race was over, the war of words between Logano and Biffle continued, with the 19 year old—who would go on to win the race—said wrecking him "was the only way he thought he could beat us." Tom Logano, Joey's father, also confronted the driver of the No. 16, and had his hard card taken away.
"Oh, yeah, I saw him flip me off, yeah," Biffle said after the incident. "They've got short memories, you know? They don't remember last week [at Kansas] when they smashed my left front fender in. See? It's all about theirselves -- and it's not always about you.
"He was lucky that he had time to fix it. I got mine smashed in on the last run of the day. I didn't have time to fix mine. I fell back and finished wherever I did."
Biffle would suffer a case of deja vu the next day during the Sprint Cup Series race.
Despite running, again, in the Top 15 throughout the day, The Biff struggled with the tight condition that plagued the team in their final two practice sessions, where the team finished 31st and 34th on the speed charts. His pit crew, though, made strides for their driver all day—virtually mistake free, Biffle was able to pick up spots left and right on the day when his car hit pit road for service.
And then the bad luck that has plagued Roush-Fenway Racing for most of the season reared its ugly head.
Eleven laps remained when the No. 2 Dodge of Kurt Busch and No. 9 of Kasey Kahne collided. Kahne turned into Biffle, sending both cars spinning into the infield grass. Biffle would restart 27th, but a late race caution including all four Richard Petty Motorsports cars, and others, would help Biffle drive back to a 20th place finish.
The finish helped lift Biffle to seventh in points, and with six races remaining in the chase for the Sprint Cup, The Biff is 188 points behind new leader, Jimmie Johnson.
Thanks to NASCAR.com and Racing Reference for the quotes and information used in this article. For this weeks Lugnut Report on A.J. Allmendinger, click here. For Jimmie Johnson's Lugnut Report from Kansas Speedway, click here.
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