Greg Biffle still has a shot at making the Chase. Jamie McMurray is toast.

But they have this much in common: Both shouldn't be struggling and sputtering so much.


For Biffle, who ranks 14th and needs a victory to try to secure one of the last slots in the 12-driver Chase field, perhaps the answer is a new crew chief.

Matt Puccia became the new point man on the headset for Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing announced Monday.

He replaces Greg Erwin, who has been with the organization since 2004. Despite leading Biffle to the Chase the last three years, Erwin hasn't been able to get things going with his driver this season.

Biffle has just one top-5 and five top-10s and finished 21st at Kentucky last weekend. Then there was Biffle's meltdown moment in Las Vegas in March, when he had a car good enough to win but ran out of gas at one point and finished 28th.

Biffle went nuts. "This is (bleeping) embarrassing," he said on his car radio.

Apparently, he finally came through loud and clear this week.

Unfortunately, McMurray's season is beyond repair, barring an unforeseen late charge.

Despite missing the Chase in 2010, McMurray won the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 and finished second in the Coca-Cola 600 in his first year at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.

This season has been anything but a wild ride, unless you count the disappointments. McMurray has three DNF's on his resume, brutal when it comes to points standings. He has finished on the lead lap only eight times. He finished 36th at Kentucky.

Clearly there are equipment issues. Clearly, don't expect for anything to get fixed in time.

Johnson awed: Jimmie Johnson is pumped up about the "ESPYs" Wednesday night. Forgive him if he has the look of "Who, me?" despite nominations for Best Male Athlete of the Year and Best Driver of the Year.

"They know who I am," he said. "It's flattering. I stand there the whole time with a smile on my face. One time that got me the most on the red carpet was when I saw Ben Roethlisberger and some of his teammates. I went over to introduce myself and he knew exactly who I was and followed the sport."

Johnson has a shot at becoming the first auto racer to win Best Male Athlete.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun