Biffle says #039;Pepsi, please#039;

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 7, 2003

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Rookie Greg Biffle played the fuel strategy game and won Saturday night in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Biffle ducked into the pits to top off his gas tank under caution on lap 79 of the 160-lap race. That gave him just enough to make it the rest of the way on one more stop and cost favorites Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip a shot at another restrictor-plate victory.

The former Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck champion was being pressured by former series champion Bobby Labonte at the end, but Labonte suddenly slowed coming through turn 2 on the final lap, out of gas.

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Jeff Burton, Biffle's Roush Racing teammate, running the same fuel strategy, finished second, 4.102 seconds - about 20 car-lengths - behind the winner's Ford Taurus.

''Just before it went back to green (on lap 79), I saw a bunch of guys going in and I told (crew chief Randy Goss) and he said, 'Come on in.' That's what won us the race,'' Biffle said.

The winner also gave a lot of the credit to series points leader Matt Kenseth, another Roush entry, who ran second and kept Labonte behind him until Kenseth had to pit for a splash of gas at the end of lap 156.