Top 20 countdown: No. 7 Greg Biffle

(Photos: Getty Images)

2008 statistics
Finish Poles Wins Top 5 Top 10
3 2 2 12 17
The countdown
No. 20: Martin Truex Jr.
No. 19: Juan Pablo Montoya
No. 18: Kurt Busch
No. 17: Kasey Kahne
No. 16: Brian Vickers
No. 15: Tony Stewart
No. 14: Jamie McMurray
No. 13: Clint Bowyer
No. 12: David Ragan
No. 11: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
No. 10: Denny Hamlin
No. 9: Matt Kenseth
No. 8: Jeff Burton
No. 7: Greg Biffle
No. 6: Revealed Monday

Editor’s note: Yahoo! Sports is counting down the top 20 drivers going into the 2009 season. The order was determined by a survey, which asked six NASCAR journalists – Ricky Craven, Jay Busbee and Jay Hart (Yahoo! Sports); Jenna Fryer (Associated Press); David Poole (Charlotte Observer); and Nate Ryan (USA Today) – to predict the final standings for the 2009 season. The countdown will conclude on Feb. 6 with the unveiling of the No. 1 driver.

2008 finish: 3rd

2009 outlook: Everybody’s sold on Jimmie Johnson four-peating, Carl Edwards knocking JJ off his perch, or Kyle Busch putting together a complete season. But seemingly left out of that mix is Greg Biffle, who quietly had himself in the hunt for the 2008 Sprint Cup, at least mathematically, until the penultimate race of the season.

After a disappointing couple of seasons in which he finished 13th and 14th, Biffle got back to his top-three form in 2008.

Forget the Dream Team of Hendrick Motorsports; Biffle is a key cog in the phenomenally talented Roush Fenway stable. Along with Edwards, Matt Kenseth and rising gunners Jamie McMurray and David Ragan, Biffle will get serious competition from within his own team. Will that help or harm his cause as he shoots for his first Sprint Cup? We’ll have to wait for the Chase to find out, but it’s a safe bet he’ll be right there in the mix.

Expect Biffle to be quick right from the start. He finished in the top 10 in four of the first five races in 2008. So if you’re going to slow down Biffle, the offseason is probably the best time.

What you need to know: One. That’s Biffle’s “average ranking” through the first two races of the Chase in 2008. He came up huge when the stakes were the highest, projecting himself into the championship hunt by winning the first two Chase races. That sort of timing bodes well for him in 2009.