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Good things happen in threes for Biffle

By KELLIE DIXON
Published November 20, 2006


HOMESTEAD - The red, blue and white confetti rained down around Greg Biffle as he climbed out of his car and stood on the drivers' side door. He raised his fists high into the air.

Threepeat.

Biffle claimed his third straight Nextel Cup race in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The win wasn't necessarily the most special to him, but he said it probably was the most challenging.

"It's been a tough year for us," Biffle said. "It seems like we haven't been in the right place at the right time."

That changed Sunday when he survived the last restart and held on.

Biffle led and Kasey Kahne was running second when the second-to-last caution of the race occurred. Juan Pablo Montoya, making his Nextel Cup debut, wrecked in Turn 1, prompting a red flag on Lap 253.

On the restart, Biffle got away clean. Kahne spun his tires. That gave Biffle enough room to take first, and Martin Truex enough time to catch Kahne.

"He used too much brake, and not enough gas," said Truex, who passed Kahne with two laps to go. Truex finished second.

Rookie Denny Hamlin followed right behind to finish third.

Biffle ended up in the right place at the right time after starting 22nd and spending the race trying to find the right balance for his car. As in many other races this season, every pit stop was an opportunity to try something new, to adjust something slightly.

Biffle worked his way up to the leaders as the tweaking game continued. A miscue on pit road knocked him back in the pack - this time to 20th - with almost 200 laps completed.

"When Scott Riggs was pitting, his car knocked the tire out of the carrier's hand," Biffle said.

Biffle basically had to start his charge again. But with 54 laps to go, he was back within striking distance of the leaders, and took his opportunity to grab the lead. He zipped past Riggs, then edged leader Kahne - who led the most laps in the race (90) - on the next turn.

Biffle's win was overshadowed by the crowning of series champion Jimmie Johnson. But a points winner has stolen the show each of the three times Biffle has won in Homestead. It doesn't bother him.

"I still get the check, and I still get the trophy," Biffle said. "And when we go to Daytona (to start next season), I'm the most recent winner."

Kellie Dixon can be reached at kdixon@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1430.