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Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Greg Biffle has much to smile about

Sprint Cup points leader Greg Biffle had reason to smile Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Greg Biffle flashed a winning smile on Tuesday as he addressed a group of youngsters at Lake Norman Elementary School.

Not because the Roush Fenway Racing driver was still riding high after Saturday night's victory at Texas Motor Speedway -- although he is still riding high.

Not because he extended his points lead to 19 over teammate Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

But because he can.

In case you missed it when Biffle posed in Victory Lane, he's not wearing braces anymore. He had them removed about this time a year ago, but because he didn't make the 2011 Chase or win a race there weren't many opportunities for him to be photographed with a smile.

Nor were there many reasons for him to smile with the way his team struggled.

But with a win and five top-10s in seven races, Biffle finds himself smiling all the time.

So what does this have to do with Tuesday's appearance? Everything.

Biffle was there to promote the American Dental Association's "Give Kids A Smile" program in conjunction with Henry Schein Inc. and his primary sponsor, 3M, which made the braces that gave him his winning smile.

His No. 16 car will feature the "Give Kids A Smile" paint scheme for the April 28 Richmond race, and there will be free dental health screening and education for selected children who can't afford it.

So, yes, this is personal for The Biff.

"There are over 16 million kids that live with dental disease," Biffle said. "There are so many things you probably don't know about, that once you start learning and get educated about it you're amazed."

How Biffle, 42, wound up with braces at an age when most are getting them for their kids also is a good lesson. He opted not to get them as a teenager because he wrestled and didn't want to go through the discomfort while in competition.

Next thing you know he was racing and there wasn't time.

So when his teeth started "moving all over the place" after having impacted molars removed a few years ago, braces became a necessity. He had them put on at the time of the 2009 spring race at Texas and scheduled orthodontist trips around race weekends at Indianapolis, Dover and a few other places near specialists.

"I would have been way happier with wrestling with braces on than driving a car," said Biffle, who still wears a permanent retainer. "To have that helmet squeezing your cheeks, then my mouth's sore ... it was a lot."

But at least now Biffle has a winning smile to go along with his winning car.