(AP) — Always wearing his trademark Panama hat, Jack Roush is as much a fixture in the garage during race weekend as the drivers and crew members. He's at every race and involved in every decision for all of his cars.
Roush's drivers spoke the last few days about how weird it felt not to have him around. Even stranger for Greg Biffle was not celebrating with his successful owner in Victory Lane.
With Roush recovering in the Mayo Clinic, Biffle raced to victory in an often-delayed Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday to snap a 64-race winless streak and take the checkered flag for his injured team owner.
"I just thought, this is going to be a great day if I can complete this thing," Biffle said.
Biffle's win was his first since he won the first two races in the 2008 Chase for the Cup championship. Roush didn't totally miss out on all the fun. He called Biffle after the race to congratulate him on the first victory this season for Ford and Roush Fenway Racing.
"He told me that he had never seen somebody that had the will to win like I do," Biffle said. "He said he didn't say that because I drive for him. He said he feels that out of any of the drivers."
Biffle never doubted he would win a Cup race again even as his oh-fer reached nearly two years. And with Roush in the Mayo Clinic for injuries sustained in a recent plane crash in Wisconsin, Biffle found Victory Lane.
"We know he's watching," Biffle said.
Tony Stewart was second and Roush driver Carl Edwards was third. Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin, who won the last two Pocono races, rounded out the top five.
Edwards spoke with Roush on Sunday morning and said his boss sounded in good spirits.
"He was Jack," Edwards said. "Don't mess anything up. Don't wreck. He's been through a lot this last week. He really needed that victory. That's pretty cool. I'm sure he's really hard to handle for all those nurses in the hospital."
Roush released a statement calling it a "proud day" for the entire organization.
"They've done a wonderful job and this is just the beginning of the rewards that have resulted from all of their hard work," he said.
Biffle's crew kept the same car after driving the No. 16 Ford to a season-high third-place finish last week at Indianapolis. That finish put Biffle in 11th place in the points standings and now he's strongly positioned himself with five races left for a spot in the 12-driver field for the championship chase. He won Chase races at New Hampshire and Dover in 2008 before falling into his winless drought. Biffle was winless last year for the first full season of his career.