2013 Hollywood Casino 400: Greg Biffle's path to the title goes through Kansas

Tom Pennington

To get back in championship contention, Greg Biffle knows he needs a win this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

If past successes at a track can predict future outcomes at that same track, Greg Biffle could have the inside line to the trophy in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Kansas Speedway.

Biffle is usually strong at Kansas, ranking in the top five in 11 Loop Data categories at the 1.5-mile track, tying him with Jimmie Johnson. At 41 markers behind points leader Matt Kenseth, Biffle needs another solid showing on Sunday to make a serious run at this year's title. He's currently sixth in the standings with seven races remaining before a new champion is crowned.

He has compiled two wins, seven top fives, nine top 10s and one pole in 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts in Kansas. Biffle's two victories came in September 2007 and October 2010 -- before the series started taking two annual trips to the track.

"We've got a lot of speed in our cars and 1.5-mile tracks are our favorite type of tracks," said Biffle, who has captured seven of his 19 career checkered flags in the series at 1.5-mile tracks. "I like Kansas and have a couple of wins there. We've been running well and we have a strong opportunity to get our first win of the Chase."

He's been running at the finish in all of this season's 29 races -- the only driver competing in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup who can claim that. Biffle won in the series' first trip to Michigan back in June and has collected four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.

After entering the Chase seventh -- tied with Joey Logano in points -- Biffle finished 16th at Chicagoland followed by back-to-back finishes at New Hampshire and Dover, third and ninth, respectively.

At Kansas, he had a stretch of seven races from September 2007 until April 2012 in which he racked up consecutive top-10 finishes, including his two wins that bookended a pair of third-place performances. When the series made its first trip of the season to the track in April, Biffle finished 19th. In last October's race he finished a disappointing 27th, 40 laps down.

Biffle fans, however, should be comforted in his performance at the track over the course of his 12-year career in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rather than fret over how he finished in his last two visits. His career average finishing position of 10.1 at Kansas is his personal-best among all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tracks.

In the last 11 races at the track in which Loop Data has been collected, Biffle's average finish drops to 8.3, second among all active drivers behind only Jimmie Johnson.

Other Loop Data categories in which Biffle ranks in the top five among active drivers at Kansas are: average driver rating (110.1, second); average running position (8.163, second); fastest early in runs (166.911 mph, fifth); fastest late in runs (163.886 mph, third); fastest laps (205, third); fastest on restarts (161.329 mph, fifth); green-flag speed (165.043 mph, third); laps in top 15 (2,501, second); laps led (282, third); quality passes (465, second); and speed in traffic (164.344 mph, second).

At the six tracks remaining on the schedule after Kansas, Biffle has won only at Texas and Homestead, but by the time the series arrives at either of those locales, it might be too late for him to mount a run at the title. Therefore, it's imperative he makes some headway this weekend.

"We've got to get a win this weekend to get back in the Chase," Biffle said.

More from SB Nation:

Complete coverage of the 2013 Sprint Cup Chase

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Longform: The good times and hard life of Dick Trickle

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