When Greg Biffle walked the red carpet for last Friday’s NASCAR awards banquet in Las Vegas, his look resembled what many had to endure at their high school prom.
Biffle, who will turn 41 on Dec. 22, has been sporting braces for the last year-and-a-half.
“Both my brother and I wrestled in high school, and I saw him living through the pain of [braces],” Biffle explains. “I really truly needed them, and I just kind of waited. I was getting to the point where I wanted to get my teeth straightened out, as perfect as I could… I decided to go for it, and I’m extremely happy.”
Biffle admits that in today’s NASCAR, where drivers are inundated with media opportunities and sponsor commitments, vanity is a little more of a necessity. The on-track adjustment to wearing braces has generally been negligible, save for one race he’d rather forget after using a brand-new helmet.
“The biggest issue when you have that [new] helmet on is that it squeezes your cheeks,” says Biffle, who won twice in 2010 and finished sixth in the points standings. “I had the biggest issue at the beginning with that. I ran with it one race, and my mouth was basically hamburger at the end of the race. It fit a little bit tighter, and it was brand new and it’s [kind of tight] until it fits to your face a little better. So I went back to my old helmet, I wear the new one in practice and over time I’ll get that new helmet broken in and be able to race it full time.”
Biffle is on schedule to get the braces removed next April, and looks forward to wife Nicole not being annoyed while he’s trying to get all the food out of his teeth. But he adds that he has avoided any snide remarks in a garage where wisecracks are as commonplace as wrenches.
And while many sponsors might balk at their driver wearing braces in the short term, Biffle has found a perfect fit.
“With the wires 3M has [on its brand of braces], it makes it way easier to deal with all the stuff you have to deal with,” Biffle says of his backer. “It’s kind of ironic that it happened that way.”