<
>

Notebook: Biffle unforgiving after being nudged

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Greg Biffle's racing day came to an
early and frustrating end Sunday when he was nudged from behind by
Kurt Busch and spun out control.

Biffle, who won the Nextel Cup race at Texas last April, was
running well again. He had already led 49 laps, and was working
back toward the front of the field when he was knocked out of the
race on the 83rd lap.

"When you're the guy that all you have to do is lift on the gas
pedal a little bit and elect not to run into the car in front of
you on the straightaway, that's pretty unforgivable," Biffle said.

Busch said he was only trying to get out of the way.

"He checked up on the straightaway," said Busch, who was a lap
down at the time. "I had no place else to go."

Busch managed to finish the Samsung/RadioShack 500, but had to
make several stops because of damage to his front end. He was 34th,
48 laps behind winner Kasey Kahne. Biffle was 42nd.

Biffle had an early 7½-second lead over Kahne before he pitted
during the race's first caution and dropped to ninth. Biffle was
headed back to the front when his car slammed into the wall so hard
that the race had to be stopped for 10 minutes to repair the safer
barrier.

Other than a scrape on his forearm, Biffle wasn't hurt.

Biffle also had a promising start at last fall's Cup race in
Texas before running into disappointment. He went seventh to first
in only 37 laps, but then had to go into the pit under green
because of problems with the car. He ended up finishing 20th.

Gordon's Texas Troubles
Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon is
0-for-11 at Texas, one of only four Nextel Cup tracks where he
hasn't won. He finished 22nd.

Gordon's problems Sunday included having to make a green-flag
pit stop on lap 225 after a flat right rear tire.

Gordon finished no better than 25th in his first four Texas
races. He was involved in crashes each time, including while
leading the inaugural race in 1997. He had four straight top-five
finishes before being 15th and 14th last year.

Together Again
ESPN plans to pull out all the bells and whistles when NASCAR returns to the cable sports network in 2007.

"ESPN has really morphed or grown since we were last in the
sport," said ESPN president George Bodenheimer, who was at Texas
on Sunday. "We're really considered a multimedia network now.
We're looking to take this property and blow it out, if you will."

The network will offer plenty of coverage in studio shows,
analysis and a heavy online presence. Much of it has yet to be
formalized, said Bodenheimer, also president of ABC Sports.

ESPN and ABC will broadcast 17 Cup races beginning in 2007, the
first year of an eight-year contract the networks signed with
NASCAR.

ABC was one of the first networks to televise stock car racing
in the 1960s, and ESPN introduced flag-to-flag race telecasts in
the 1980s. The network was NASCAR's leading carrier through the
1990s, but has not aired a race since 2000, when it lost the rights
to NBC and Fox.

Bodenheimer said the return of NASCAR to ESPN marks an emotional
reunion after both grew to national prominence.

Pit Stops
The drivers ran under green for the first 64 laps of
the race, a Cup record for 1½-mile Texas Motor Speedway. The
previous record came in April 2002, when 37 laps were completed
before the first caution ... Carl Edwards, who left Saturday's
Busch race early due to engine failure, ran a sprint race Saturday
night at a dirt track south of Fort Worth, finishing 10th. On
Sunday, he wrecked in lap 257, spinning into the inside wall. ...
Brian Vickers' Chevrolet was the first car to leave the race in lap
24, due to engine failure ... Cup rookie J.J. Yeley, who qualified
at a career-best second, lost control of his Chevrolet and wrecked
on lap 189. He finished 35th .... Even though there were some empty
seats on the backstretch, an estimated 189,000 fans attended the
race. The speedway has 159,585 permanent seats, and can fit several
thousand more in luxury suites and in the infield. A second Cup
race was added last year, and the series returns in November. ... A
second display was added to the track's infield scoring tower to
count down laps. NASCAR wants laps elapsed displayed, but TMS
officials compromised and showed both numbers. ... By videotape,
President Bush gave drivers the familiar command, "Gentlemen,
start your engines." ... University of Texas football coach Mack
Brown, whose team won the national championship, dropped the green
flag. He received a mixture of cheers and boos during
introductions.