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Biffle ends losing streak; Pass of Johnson proves crucial in Texas win

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Greg Biffle regained the lead when he charged under Jimmie Johnson with 30 laps left Saturday night, then pulled away to end his 49-race winless streak while giving owner Jack Roush another NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in Texas.

Johnson led 156 of the 334 laps while going for owner Rick Hendrick's 200th career victory. But he never recovered, even scraping hard into the wall trying to catch up after Biffle drove under him in Turn 3 and completed the pass before the start-finish line.

Biffle, the season points leader, went on to win the fastest Cup race at the 1 1/2 -mile, high-banked Texas track. His average speed of 160.577 mph put his Ford 3.2 seconds ahead of the Chevrolet driven by Johnson.

It was Roush's ninth win in 23 Cup races at Texas, and completed a Lone Star State weekend sweep. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the Nationwide race on Friday night for Roush's fourth Texas victory in a row and ninth overall in the second-tier series.

Biffle got his 17th career victory. It was his first since an October 2010 race in Kansas, where the series goes next week.

After starting third, Biffle was among the lead pack the entire race, leading 91 laps on a fast-paced and windy night.

There were only two cautions for 10 slowed-down laps, both for debris, and the race finished with a record 234 consecutive laps of green-flag racing.

Mark Martin finished third in a Michael Waltrip-owned Toyota, followed by Jeff Gordon and Roush driver Matt Kenseth. Polesitter Martin Truex Jr., another Waltrip car, finished sixth after leading 68 laps.

Biffle got his eighth consecutive top-10 finish at Texas, where he had a victory in 2005 even before that stretch.

For Hendrick Motorsports, it was the second race in a row that Rick Hendrick was close to getting his 200th victory.

Johnson, Gordon and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. were running in the top three at Martinsville two weeks ago before a late restart in the last race before the Easter weekend break. But Clint Bowyer's aggressive inside move took out Johnson and Gordon, and Earnhardt ended up third.


IndyCar field scrambled

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Ryan Briscoe kept Penske Racing perfect so far this season by winning the pole for today's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (3:30 p.m., NBCSN).

He won't be there for very long.

A decision by Chevrolet to yank the engines from all 11 of its teams because of concerns the engines wouldn't last throughout the race meant all the Chevy drivers knew they wouldn't start Sunday where they actually qualified. The IndyCar penalty for unapproved engine changes is 10 spots on the starting grid, so Briscoe will actually start 11th when the green flag falls.

Defending series champion Dario Franchitti, a Honda driver, qualified fourth but will start on the pole because the top three in qualifying were Chevy drivers.

Josef Newgarden, an IndyCar rookie, leaps from seventh to second, and Justin Wilson will go from ninth to third.

After that is anyone's guess.

"I feel like we need to call in NASA to figure out who is starting where," said Chevy driver James Hinchcliffe, who qualified sixth.

"Who is starting sixth?" asked Chevy driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was third.

"I have no idea," Hinchcliffe replied.

"Who's on first?" Hunter-Reay cracked.

All humor aside, Chevrolet was proud to have five drivers qualify in the top six on what's been a trying weekend.

The engine issue was discovered after Hinchcliffe's blew up during a test session on Monday, and Chevrolet IndyCar program manager Chris Berube said the drivers "rose to the challenge of the engine change."

"We were not certain something would happen during the race, but we wanted to preserve the show, and decided it was in the best interest of all our Chevy teams, and the Long Beach Grand Prix to swap the engines out beforehand, knowing the grid penalty will be difficult to overcome in the race," he added.

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