As we count down to the 2013 Daytona 500, we're also counting down how we think the Chase will play out this season as predicted by Nick Bromberg, Jay Busbee, Jay Hart and Geoffrey Miller. So sit back, relax, and watch the 2013 Chase unfold before your very eyes. Though you should be warned, we picked Carl Edwards to win last year.
2012 Finish: 5th. Two wins (Texas and Michigan)
Crew Chief: Matt Puccia
When we last saw Biffle: He was proclaiming his Chase contention after winning at Michigan in August. It wasn't an outlandish claim; Biffle had just recorded his second victory of the year and had inherited the points lead, which he kept until the points reset for the Chase. But after starting the Chase in fifth, finishes of 13th, 18th and 16th in the first three races knocked him back to 11th and out of the title hunt.
Big Question for 2013: The first time that Biffle was a Sprint Cup Series points leader was in 2005, when he held the lead for a race after Sonoma. That year, he finished second. Last year was the second time, and he led twice for a total of 14 races. In the two years after 2005, Biffle finished 13th and 14th. By no means does that mean that Biffle will immediately fall out of the Chase this year, but a big part of his 2012 success hinged upon his ability to stay on the lead lap and avoid a single DNF. Some natural regression is to be expected, but how much will it be?
Track most likely to win at: An intermediate track. 11 of Biffle's 18 career wins have come at tracks 1.5 or 2 miles in length, and if we extend the category to Darlington, it jumps to 13. If you're playing fantasy NASCAR this year, you know where to utilize The Biff.
Track most likely to require a miracle to win at: Martinsville. In 20 starts, Biffle has three top 10s: a seventh and two tenth place finishes.
How Biffle could win the Chase: Simply put, it's by taking the first 26 races of last year and extending the run of good form another 10 races. The first time Biffle had finished outside the top 10 for three consecutive races was in the first three Chase races. Had he avoided that, he would have been in the championship conversation at the end of the year.
How Biffle couldn't: The luck of 2011 strikes again and that regression that we talked about earlier is large. That year, Biffle was fast, but had just three top fives and 10 top 10s to show for it thanks to, among other things, a fuel can that didn't engage fully at Las Vegas and pit road miscues and a kiss of the wall at Charlotte.
The Biff. He's real fast.
Is he fast enough to win?
Or will he be slow?
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