NASCAR: Greg Biffle had multiple races planned before COVID-19

Greg Biffle had planned to compete in multiple NASCAR Truck Series races this season with Kyle Busch Motorsports before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

If you cheered for Greg Biffle back when he drove the #16 Roush Fenway Ford in the NASCAR Cup Series, you may want to “Stick with the Biff” for Sunday afternoon’s Truck Series race at Darlington Raceway.

Biffle is set to make his return to the Truck Series on Sunday afternoon in the South Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Darlington Raceway behind the wheel of the #24 GMS Racing Chevrolet.

This marks the 50-year old Vancouver, Washington native’s first Truck race since last June in a one-off ride for Kyle Busch Motorsports when he took the checkered flag behind the wheel of the #51 Toyota at Texas Motor Speedway in what was his first start since 2004.

Back in February before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Beyond the Flag reported on Biffle being tipped to compete in two races this season for Kyle Busch Motorsports at Charlotte Motor Speedway and again at Texas Motor Speedway. This was never officially confirmed by the team and obviously didn’t pan out due to the pandemic.

But on Tuesday, Biffle spoke with the media on Zoom for the first time since the GMS Racing announcement. Here is what he said when asked if he did have some races planned with Kyle Busch’s team.

“We planned to run three races this season with Kyle in the KBM trucks. Due to the schedule and COVID, obviously that got completely trashed because the schedule is completely upside down, and the reason why I was going to run three races because of a lack of drivers and they had some open races, and I think we were targeting the Triple Truck Challenge. We were at serious talks about it when COVID hit us.”

Last year’s race at Texas Motor Speedway was a Triple Truck Challenge race. But Biffle was deemed to be ineligible for the Triple Truck Challenge moving forward by NASCAR due to the fact that he was not on the preliminary entry list for the next race.

This year, “The Trip” was originally scheduled to feature races at Richmond Raceway, Dover International Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway back in April in May. It recently took place with races at the Daytona International Speedway, Dover International Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway instead.

Perhaps another reason for why the deal with Kyle Busch Motorsports was scrapped was because of the bounty that Kevin Harvick and Marcus Lemonis put on Rowdy after his win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway back in February before the shutdown.

Kyle Busch Motorsports run three full-time entries: the #4 Toyota for Raphael Lessard, the #18 Toyota for Christian Eckes, and the #51 Toyota for a variety of drivers, including Busch himself in five races.

Busch’s original five-race schedule included races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.

The first race after the COVID-19 hiatus took place at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a track at which Busch is known for winning, having taken the checkered flag eight times in a truck.

Busch ended up competing in this race despite not having plans to do so initially, and Chase Elliott and John Hunter Nemechek both did so as well in an attempt to win the the $100,000 bounty, which Elliott successfully did.

Biffle’s one-race deal with GMS Racing is a shocker because of the success he had with Kyle Busch Motorsports last year. His win in his lone start last year led many to think that “The Biff” would be back behind the wheel of the #51 Toyota for a few races.

But the schedule for that #51 Toyota is not just composed of Busch’s five races and the races in which Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series driver Brandon Jones competes. It also features the races in which Chandler Smith competes.

He had competed in only races at tracks that are 1.25 miles in length or shorter before his 18th birthday on Friday, June 26, but now that he is eligible to compete at all tracks, this also eliminates a vacancy for Biffle to run.

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Biffle comes into Darlington Raceway with a lot of experience, including two wins at the track in the Cup Series and one in the Xfinity Series. Can he use that to his advantage? Tune in to Fox Sports 1 at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 6 for the live broadcast of the South Carolina Education Lottery 200.