Sweet 16! Greg Biffle Officially Announces His Return to the Top of NASCAR

Kelly CrandallSenior Writer ISeptember 21, 2008

Three years ago, Greg Biffle lost the 2005 Sprint Cup Championship by 35 points to Tony Stewart.

That year he won six races, had 21 top tens and 15 top fives. He was at the top of his game and career, sending a loud message that he would be a championship contender in the years to come.

However, in 2006 and 2007, it was almost as if Biffle had vanished from the circuit. He won three races in the two years combined, finishing 13th in points in '06 and 14th a year later, failing to qualify for the Chase for the Championship both years.

Today though, Greg Biffle can officially announce his comeback and do so in the best way possible, by being a serious threat for the championship. Biffle won today's Camping World 400 and last week's Chase opener in New Hampshire, becoming the first Chase driver to win the first two Chase races.

He's no longer the dark horse.

Instead, Biffle's 2008 season looks a lot like former teammate Kurt Busch's 2004 season when he won the championship. Now, it's way too early to call Biffle the champion, but in terms of momentum, they both seemed to have peaked at the perfect time, almost by coming out of nowhere.

In the 2004 regular season, Busch had two wins but 14 finishes outside the top ten, and when the Chase began, he was seventh in points —the underdog.

Then in the Chase, Busch won race No. 1 and rolled off five straight top six finishes and went on to win the title.

Here in 2008, Biffle had no wins leading to the Chase and never really found his rhythm until California in September, when he finished second to Jimmie Johnson.

He entered the Chase ninth in points, under the radar, until he won the first race and moved to third in points.

Now, he's pulled into victory lane for the second straight week. So far, so good; he's undefeated in Chase races.

But more importantly, he's right back where he was in 2005, fighting for a championship, only this time, "I have put more emphasis on this."

In victory lane, Biffle acknowledged that his teammate Carl Edwards will be strong down the stretch, but he's ready.

"I feel like this has been coming for awhile. There's a lot of concentration right now. It doesn't get more important than this. We've got to keep doing this."

And why try something else? "This" seems to be working just fine.