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CUP: Much-Needed Magic For Roush Fenway Racing

Hype and superlatives are part and parcel to major sporting events, but it’s nearly impossible to overstate just how big Greg Biffle’s victory in Sunday’s Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway was.

LINK > UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: SUNOCO RED CROSS PENNSYLVANIA 500 - POCONO RACEWAY PDF > UNOFFICIAL DRIVER POINTS: SUNOCO RED CROSS PENNSYLVANIA 500 - POCONO RACEWAY

Consider the following:

• Biffle’s victory over Tony Stewart and his own teammate Carl Edwards broke a personal 64-race winless streak.

• This was the first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory for Ford Motor Co. and Roush Fenway Racing since Talladega last November and only the second victory in the last 55 races.

• The combination of Biffle’s victory and a third-place finish by Edwards signifies that RFR may indeed finally have the speed in their Ford Fusions to contend for a NASCAR Sprint Cup title.

• The victory came less than 24 hours after a horrible night for the team in a NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Iowa Speedway, where three RFR drivers wrecked no less than six cars in a display of driving ineptitude that looked like Ricky Bobby in “Talladega Nights.”

• But most importantly, Biffle’s victory came while team co-owner Jack Roush is in the Mayo Clinic, recovering from multiple facial surgeries following a horrifying crash landing of his company jet in Oshkosh, Wis., on Tuesday night.

How big was Biffle’s victory? For this team, right now, it was everything. And no one knew that more than Biffle, a past champion in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series.

“When it got to be five (laps) to go, I started thinking about it,” said Biffle. “You know, I started thinking, ‘This race is meant to be. It's for Jack.’ Then I thought, ‘You know, spending all the time I've spent with the Ford people, you know how desperate they are to prove they've got good product. They've got great cars and trucks, but they want to prove on the racetrack they want to win.’ Then I thought about all the 3M guys, but Jack mostly. You know, I just thought this is going to be a great day if I can complete this thing.”

And the emotional highlight came in the form of a post-race phone call with Roush.

“In Victory Lane he told me that he had never met somebody that had the will to win like I do,” said Biffle of Roush. “He said he didn't say that because I drive for him; he said he feels that out of any of the drivers. You know, kind of put goosebumps on my arms. I'm glad he thinks of me like that.”

And although the past two years certainly have been frustrating for Biffle, crew chief Greg Irwin and the rest of the squad, they kept after the whole time, knowing this day would arrive.

“I give 110 percent all the time, I never give up,” said Biffle. “No matter how grim the outcome can be, I'll still be digging no matter what. That's what I did today. I just kept after it in the race car, took every advantage that I could get.”

“This team is all about fight. The 16 guys have been up and down. This core group of people we've had with us now since about the end of 2007 all the way through the 2008 season, we've hung on each other's backs. Being able to come out and over the last three weeks, show the improvement that the team has shown, the qualifying efforts have been significantly better, the results have been better, it means a lot to finally capitalize.”

Edwards, the third-place finisher, said he spoke with Roush earlier in the day.

Asked how Roush sounded, Edwards replied, “He was Jack. ‘Don’t mess anything up. Don’t wreck.’ ... He was excited for the race today. I could hear it in his voice. He’s been through a lot this last week. He needed a race (victory) today. I wish he could be here, but he really needed that victory. That’s pretty cool. I’m sure he is very hard to handle for all those nurses right now in the hospital.”

And that might be the best news of all for the team.

LINK > UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: SUNOCO RED CROSS PENNSYLVANIA 500 - POCONO RACEWAY PDF > UNOFFICIAL DRIVER POINTS: SUNOCO RED CROSS PENNSYLVANIA 500 - POCONO RACEWAY

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.