Greg Biffle has not raced in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2016, but he hopes to change that with the season-opening Daytona 500. On Monday, NY Racing Team announced Biffle will attempt to qualify for the 500 in the #44 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, receiving sponsorship from Grambling State University. As the team does not have a charter, he will need to qualify on speed or via Duel finish.
During his fourteen-year run from 2003 to 2016, Biffle was one of the finer drivers in the Cup Series. Competing for what is now RFK Racing, he scored nineteen wins and finished runner-up in the 2005 championship battle. He was released by the team after 2016 as his performance declined over the previous two seasons and moved into dirt track and off-road racing. Although he never won the Daytona 500 in fourteen tries, he claimed the pole in 2004 and his maiden Cup victory came in the 2003 Daytona night race.
Interestingly, NY Racing will not be Biffle’s first time driving a #44, let alone a Chevrolet (he was mainly a Ford driver during his full-time NASCAR career). In 2002, a year before becoming a Cup regular, he ran two of the final three Cup races for Petty Enterprises (the predecessor to Petty GMS Motorsports) in a #44 Chevrolet, finishing twenty-fifth in both.
Since 2018, he runs the Sand Outlaw UTV series and competes sporadically in the Stadium Super Trucks. In the latter, he has four podiums, including a trio of seconds; he ran the 2021 Mid-Ohio NASCAR weekend, finishing fourth and second in the two races.
While much of Biffle’s racing nowadays has been on non-paved surfaces, he returned to NASCAR in 2019 when he entered the Camping World Truck Series round at Texas for Kyle Busch Motorsports. The 2000 series champion won in his first start since 2004, contributing to an effort that propelled the #51 KBM truck to the owners’ championship. He did another one-off the following year at Darlington, finishing nineteenth for GMS Racing.
Besides off-road and SST, his 2021 schedule also included two races in the new Superstar Racing Experience. He won the inaugural heat race at Stafford before finishing second in the final, followed by another heat victory and eighth-place run at Slinger.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to drive the Next Gen car and help NY Racing make
its entry into the 2022 season,” said Biffle. “I’ve always said since the day I stepped away from full-time competition that I would return under the right circumstances. Filling in for an injured driver or driving for a top-level team will always be compelling. With this unique opportunity, I’ll now be able to use my eighteen years of experience to help this non-charter team get into the Daytona 500 with an RCR-built (Richard Childress Racing) race car powered by a Hendrick (Motorsports) engine. I look forward to getting back on the track this week and doing what I enjoy most.”
Founded by Grambling State alumnus John Cohen in 2009 as an Xfinity Series team, NY Racing Team has been a rather controversial operation. Previously known as Xxxtreme Motorsport and Team XTREME Racing, its #44 would be marred by a bizarre 2015 in which Reed Sorenson crashed with Clint Bowyer in their Duel, resulting in a livid Bowyer calling him out, followed by withdrawing from the following week’s race at Atlanta after the car and hauler were stolen. After withdrawing from the Martinsville race a few weeks later, the team assured its return would come at the next round in Texas, only to instead go dormant until 2018. During this period of quiet, the team became the butt of a running joke about preparing a car for Texas whenever rumours of a revival surfaced.
Sure enough, the team did come back—though at Charlotte rather than Texas—as NY Racing in 2018. The #7 piloted by J.J. Yeley would finish thirty-eighth in the Coca-Cola 600. In twenty-four total starts (with a smattering of DNQs and withdrawals), the team’s best all-time finish is thirty-second with Sorenson at the Daytona 500, which was also its lone finish on the lead lap. NY Racing disappeared again for the next three years.
“As a product of HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) and an alumni [sic] of Grambling football, I’m excited to have them on-board with HBCU League Pass Plus,” Cohen stated. “I want to thank Chevrolet for this great partnership along with Richard Childress Racing and Hendrick Motorsports; without them, I’m not sure this is possible.”