Editor's note: Yahoo! Sports is counting down the top 20 drivers of the 2012 season, as predicted by the Yahoo! Sports NASCAR staff – Jay Hart, Jay Busbee, Nick Bromberg and Geoffrey Miller. The countdown will conclude Feb. 17 with the unveiling of the No. 1 driver.
|Finish||Poles||Wins||Top 5||Top 10|
2011 finish: 16th
Our 2012 predictions:
• Jay Hart: 12th
• Jay Busbee: 15th
• Nick Bromberg: 11th
• Geoffrey Miller: 11th
Crew chief: Matt Puccia
Offseason action: Roush Fenway downsized from four to three teams. The company also experienced major layoffs during the offseason, reportedly upwards of 100 employees.
2012 outlook: Biffle is one of those drivers who's as reliable as a pepperoni pizza: You know pretty much what you're going to get year in and year out. And while that's the kind of consistency that sponsors and fans enjoy, it's not the kind of world-beating potential that wins championships.
Biffle came into 2011 with high hopes. He'd posted three straight top-seven season finishes, including a third place in 2008, and seemed a lock for a 2011 Chase berth. But he never really got it going, finishing with only three top fives and 10 top 10s despite winning more poles (three) than ever before in his career. Starting the season with three finishes of 20th or below, the No. 16 team never clicked, only getting as high as 11th in the standings – and that for only one week in May.
A personnel change in July saw former crew chief Greg Erwin out and Matt Puccia in, but Biffle's fortunes didn't change, only stayed roughly the same. This year's team is a mix of vets and youth, including holdovers from the now-shuttered No. 6 team of David Ragan.
Outside the track, there's stability. Biffle inked a new multi-year deal with both Roush and 3M back in April, so he's not going anywhere anytime soon, and neither is his sponsor. However, with teammates Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth having high-level success in 2011, it's time for Biffle to match their run. Everything is in place for him to do just that.
Point of interest: Here's a statistical quirk: Biffle has won two races every even-numbered year since 2004. Sets up well for 2012, doesn't it?
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