2006 Ride: No. 16 National Guard Ford
2006 Owner: Jack Roush
2006 Crew Chief: Doug Richert
Stats: 36 races, two wins, eight top fives, 15 top 10s, 13th in points.
High Point: After a dismal start to the season that included two engine failures in the first nine races, Biffle starting firing on all cylinders in May. He started out the month with his second pole of the year at Richmond, ending up fourth to score the team’s first top five of 2006. He backed up that strong performance with a win at Darlington the following week, taking the checkered flag at the Lady In Black for the second straight year. Those two finishes began a two-month stretch where Biffle racked up seven straight top 10s and vaulted from 23rd to ninth in points by the end of June, putting him in perfect position to make another Chase run.
Low Point: Unfortunately, ninth in points ended up being as high as Biffle would get; that May-June hotspot was one of few things to be proud of for a team that considered itself a title contender heading into 2006. In the season’s first half, it was bad luck that derailed the Biff’s title chances; the team scored just that sole Darlington victory despite trailing only Tony Stewart with 847 laps led through June. As the awful luck piled up and the season progressed, the performances started to taper off; during a late-season swoon in a Chase Biffle failed to qualify for, he had five finishes of 32nd or worse in the playoffs, including three DNFs.
Summary: While many teams would give anything to earn two wins in a year, it was a definite disappointment for the No. 16 team. Entering Daytona, Biffle was on the short list of favorites to win the title after coming so close in 2005. He did manage to end the year with his third straight win at Homestead, but that was too little, too late after a litany of poor finishes left the team out in the cold at Chase time. The season-long slump ended up costing crew chief Doug Richert his job, meaning Biffle will have a someone new calling the shots in ’07 for the first time since his rookie year of 2003.
2007 Outlook: Pat Tryson moves over from the No. 6 team to take over the crew chief duties for Biffle next season. Jack Roush has no trouble in mixing up his teams, but moves like that do not always pay off, and there are question marks about the new pairing heading into the new year. Richert and Biffle were close, and while Tryson did lead Mark Martin into the Chase three straight seasons, that team also went winless in ’06, one of three Roush cars to do so. If Biffle and Tryson can quickly gain some chemistry, things should work out well, and Biffle certainly has the talent to make it back into the Chase next year… providing the crew chief swap has a positive effect.
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