Greg Biffle Reveals Why He Has ‘Not Slept Much’ Ahead of Daytona 500 Return

Greg Biffle

Getty Greg Biffle will make his first Daytona 500 start since 2016.

Following two rounds of qualifying and the two Bluegreen Vacation Duel races, the starting order is set for the season-opening Daytona 500. Defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson and teammate Alex Bowman will lead a field that includes returning driver Greg Biffle.

The oldest competitor in the field at 52 years old, Biffle will make his return to the Cup Series for the first time since the 2016 season. He will line up on the 14th row next to Spire Motorsports driver Landon Cassill and he will pursue his 20th career Cup win.

There were questions about whether he would secure a spot in the Crown Jewel race with the NY Racing Chevrolet Camaro, but he finished 13th overall in the second Duel race after keeping far enough ahead of Timmy Hill, the other open driver battling for a spot.

“It feels really good,” Biffle said during his post-race interview. “I’ll tell you, I have not slept much in the last couple days just trying to keep a cool composure. I’ve been nervous about this race because there’s so many things that can happen and so many ways it can go.

“We’ve talked the scenarios all the way, and I watched the first race and I saw the 62 car was in the lead of the cars, and I thought, well, if he finishes in front of those guys and the 50 actually runs in the second race, we’ll be in on time.”

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The other open drivers that secured spots in the Daytona 500 did so in different ways. Noah Gragson (Beard Motorsports) and Jacques Villeneuve (Team Hezeberg) both posted fast enough qualifying times on Wednesday, February 16. Kaz Grala (The Money Team Racing) secured his spot by finishing ahead of JJ Yeley (MBM Motorsports) during the first Bluegreen Vacation Duel.

The Revamped RFK Racing Will Make Up the Second Row

While Hendrick Motorsports captured the top two spots in the starting lineup, there are two Ford drivers that will join them at the front of the pack. Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher will make up the second row after sweeping the Bluegreen Vacation Duel races.

Keselowski, the new co-owner of RFK Racing, captured his first trophy with the No.  6 Kohler Generators Ford Mustang. He passed former teammate Ryan Blaney with four laps remaining in the 60-lap event and reached Victory Lane for the first time with his new organization. He led a Ford-heavy finishing order that featured rookie Austin Cindric in second, Blaney in third, and Chase Briscoe in fourth.

Buescher, by comparison, secured his win after a stunning last-lap incident between him and Joey Logano. He went to make a  move on Lap 60 of the second Duel race, prompting an attempted block from the driver of the No. 22.

However, Logano’s move led to contact between the two drivers that sent him into the wall and brought out the caution flag. The field froze and secured the win for Buescher while defending Daytona 500 champion Michael McDowell finished second. Officials credited rookie Harrison Burton with third place.

Rookies Will Start Near the Front on February 20

There are three high-profile drivers that will kick off their battle for Rookie of the Year during the Daytona 500 on February 20. Austin Cindric will drive the No. 2 Team Penske Ford, Burton will drive the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, and Todd Gilliland will take over the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford Mustang.

Gilliland will kick off the season-opening race on the 15th row, but his fellow Rookie of the Year contenders will start near the front of the pack. Cindric will line up on the third row next to McDowell while Burton will join Blaney on the fourth row. The two Ford drivers will have opportunities to make some noise early while simultaneously trying to avoid incidents on the track.

Cindric made his Daytona 500 debut during the 2021 season as he started 39th overall in the No. 33 Ford Mustang. The 2020 Xfinity Series champion had the opportunity to secure a top-10 finish, but a massive wreck on the last lap collected him and several other drivers. Cindric ended his day 15th overall.

Burton only has one Cup Series start in his career. He made his debut during the 2021 Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 25, 2021. He joined Gaunt Brothers Racing and drove the No. 96 Toyota to a 20th-place finish.

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