Greg Biffle Enjoying Run As NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points Leader

It's no surprise that a Roush Fenway Racing driver is sitting atop the point standings.

What is surprising is that it's not Carl Edwards – the preseason favorite to win the championship and someone who lost last year's title in a tiebreaker – nor is it Matt Kenseth, a former Cup champion who opened the 2012 season by winning the Daytona 500.

No, instead it's Greg Biffle who finds himself the championship leader as the Sprint Cup Series heads to Martinsville for its sixth event of the year.

"It certainly has been a relief for myself and I know for the 16 team and the entire company that we've gotten off to a start like we have," Biffle said Wednesday during a teleconference.

That strong start was an unlikely scenario considering Biffle was the only Roush driver not to visit Victory Lane last year and he missed the Chase for the Sprint Cup entirely while both Edwards and Kenseth were in the thick of the championship battle.

But after a trying year which saw Biffle undergo numerous changes to his team – including a midseason replacement of then-crew chief Greg Erwin – Biffle is back exhibiting the form and consistency which has seen him notch 17 Sprint Cup wins in nine full seasons.

That consistency is further demonstrated by the fact Biffle already has as many top-five finishes this season (three) as he had in all of 2011.

One of Biffle's biggest handicaps last year was his continued issues on pit road, where often the No. 16 team resembled kindergarteners practicing a fire drill.

But an offseason reshuffling at Roush, which included the team scaling back to from four Cup cars to three, allowed the organization to shore up some areas where it had been lagging. This provided Biffle's new crew chief Matt Puccia the opportunity to address the biggest weakness on the 16 team and reorganize a pit crew desperately in need of a shakeup.

"We kind of had to downsize some," Biffle said. "I have a few guys off the Nationwide (Series teams), I have a few guys from my old 16 team, and then I have a few guys from the 6 (the Cup team which was contracted in the offseason) and so on.

"It's been a good mix of people. I give a lot of credit to my crew chief and the company for putting together a good group of people, recognizing talent, assembling them together. They've done a helluva job so far and I'm really happy."

With less than a year on the job, the leadership qualities demonstrated by his first-year crew chief has left quite the impression on Biffle.

"That guy, I promise you, if anybody can take me to winning a championship, it's Matt Puccia," Biffle said. "He never gives up, never leaves a rock unturned. He's the hungriest guy I've ever seen in my whole life and is the most focused to win a race. I can't wait till we win a race because he deserves it."

But with two winless seasons in the past three years, Biffle is levelheaded about where he and his team are at five races into the year. The points leader knows things can take a turn for the worse at anytime. After all, that's the nature of the beast in NASCAR – great one minute, average the next.

Biffle's goal is to not only be good now, but also later in the season when wins and the points that come with those wins mean the absolute most.

"I'm happy and proud of our team fighting to stay in the points lead running as good as we can every week," Biffle said. "But the reality is I know that we may not. If and when that happens, certainly I'm not going to let that take the wind out of our sails, you know what I mean? We're going to work as hard as we can to keep the points lead, keep in the top five, keep in the top three.

"We're going to show up at Martinsville, Texas, Talladega, Kansas, and run as good as we can, try and win to get points for the Chase. Hey, if we continue to lead the points, that's a bonus.

"Hopefully we're leading at Homestead or after Homestead."

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