Tag Archives: Joe Gibbs Racing

Roush Fenway Racing Gets the Elephant Out of the Room

Last week, just before the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis—the second biggest race on the NASCAR schedule—Roush Fenway Racing announced its driver line up for 2015. Carl Edwards will not be a part of that driver line up, but Greg Biffle will be back. The other drivers will be Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne.

At the time and several days later the timing of the announcement was questioned. With a little over two hours before the race, it was a time when prerace appearances were starting and a time when prerace sponsors’ parties were starting. Not really an opportune time to announce a top driver leaving an organization, or was it?

Carl Edwards has won a race and will most likely be in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Greg Biffle has not won a race and he is not in the top 16 in points to make the Chase. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway’s third driver, is similarly out. They have been struggling as a three car team. If something doesn’t change, Edwards will not win the Championship and the others will have no way of making the Chase.

We can imagine that plans must be made so that the team not only succeeds this season, but next season as well. It can be imagined that at those parties in Indianapolis, people would be asking: what will happen next year?  When putting that context into it, it is surprising that Jack Roush didn’t make an announcement earlier.

Just this week another team made a similar early announcement in order to keep their program going in the right direction. It has been known for some time that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be losing his crew chief Steve Letarte at the end of the season. What has not been known is who would replace him, in this case Greg Ives. Dale Earnhardt Jr. summed it up best. ”I just didn’t want to have to sit there in limbo.  I don’t like being in limbo about nothing and having any kind of stuff up in the air.”

Those same thoughts had to be running around the whole team at Roush Fenway Racing.

The only hope Roush Fenway has for this season and making next season stronger was to usher the elephant out of the room and move on. This elephant was only going to get exponentially bigger each week until the race at Richmond. This is a distraction that is not good for race teams working hard to get better and win a Championship.

Now that elephant is on Joe Gibbs Racing’s back. Jack Roush is a pretty smart guy.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 300250 Elsa/Getty Images

 

So Where is Greg Biffle Going?

This past week at Dover International Speedway during the NASCAR on FOX prerace show Gas N Go segment Chris Myers asked the Waltrips, Michael and Darrell (DW), are Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle leaving Roush and where do they go? Well just like a few weeks ago when DW seemed to know where Carl Edwards was going, he proceeded to throw Biffle into the Silly Season deep end.

Darrell Waltrip said, “Here’s my prediction, Carl (Edwards) will stay with Ford, I don’t know if it will be with Roush or I might be with Penske but he will stay with Ford.

Then Darrell throws Greg Biffle in the deep end. He put his hand on his brother Michael’s shoulder and continues, “and Greg Biffle will go with some two car team, that maybe one time had a third car.

Michael looks at the camera and quickly adds, “I think Carl goes and Greg Stays, I think Biffle stays at Roush he’s going to the veteran, the anchor to that rookie lineup for the young guys who are going to race at Roush.

Many writers and analysts seam to take this as Greg is leaving for Michael Waltrip Racing, who just last year had three teams.  Just like a few weeks ago where DW all but had Carl Edwards say he was going to Joe Gibbs Racing this too might be a bit premature. It might just be DW stirring the pot in order to make great TV… Or is it something else entirely?

I think that everyone was reading DW’s signs to his brother Michael wrong. It looked to me like a brother telling his brother, “Go ahead you can do this.”

I think it means that Michael Waltrip had told or asked his brother DW recently in confidence if they should make a go at trying to get Greg Biffle. It also might just be DW saying you need a third car and here is a “Cat” that you should be looking at.

Either way Silly Season is in full swing. The more Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle get put into play the more Silly it is going to get.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 287149 Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images

 

Carl Edwards is Leaving Roush Fenway Racing?

Saturday night at Kansas Speedway during the NASCAR Sprint Cup prerace show, Darrel Waltrip asked Carl EdwardsCan you win a Championship at Roush?” With that it is apparent that Carl Edwards is in play to move to another team if not has already committed to one.

Carl Edwards is a free agent after this year and his answer to Waltrip was very surprising.

That’s a good question? I think we can. We’ve been very close we’ve sure looked close at it but we haven’t got it done. It’s been ten years and really overall that’s my goal.” Edwards added, “I believe if I work hard enough and Roush works hard enough, I believe we can do it. There is not a better year than this year with Jimmy Fennig, the Chase format, and finishing at ford championship weekend at homestead.  So yes I know we can and we have to do it this year. We just got to keep digging.

It is obvious that Carl Edwards is at the very least testing the waters. He wants to know what he is worth to Roush Fenway Racing and other teams. He doesn’t want to talk about it but it is apparent that like the drivers before him, his contract standing will be a topic for discussion.

Prior to the current contract it was rumored that he was very close to signing a contract with Joe Gibbs Racing. Matt Kenseth, Edwards’s teammate at the time, ended up going to JGR supposedly in the ride Edwards turned down. Kenseth’s success with that switch has to be in Edwards mind.

Kevin Harvick was in a similar situation, he was at Richard Childress Racing for over ten years and no championship. He announced a very unusual almost two years before his contract was up that he was leaving. Harvick’s success so far this year with his new team at Stewart Haas Racing also has to be in Carl Edwards mind.

So as we exit facts and move into pure speculation, where is Edwards going? This discussion is also where we pick up Carl Edwards teammate Greg Biffle who is also in the last year of his contract. If both of these quality drivers are in play for other rides, what are those other rides?

There are five big high quality teams. Hendrick Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Penske Racing.

First off Hendrick Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing have four teams; there is no room at the Inn here for Edwards or Biffle. It would be extremely awkward for either of them to drive for Penske Racing which gets technical support and engines from Roush Fenway Racing. That leaves just Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing.

Joe Gibbs Racing has three teams. They have always wanted a fourth team but would not start one unless the circumstances were right. Those circumstances were a high quality driver and sponsor, a team that can win right off the bat. If I were a betting man this is where Carl Edwards is going, if he is going somewhere. This leaves no room for Greg Biffle here unless another JGR driver is also in play.

Looking at teams overall performance, it is hard to imagine leaving Roush Fenway Racing to go to Richard Childress Racing. There are two other teams that might be looking to add a team. They are Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and Michael Waltrip Racing. It is hard to imagine Greg Biffle going to any of these teams so although Biffle hasn’t been able to get a contract done and is testing the waters, it’s a very small shallow lake. That’s why Greg Biffle will stay at Roush Fenway Racing, finish his career and shine. Roush Fenway should acknowledge what Biffle has done for them the past 16 years and give him the contract he wants.

There is a reason they call it “Silly Season” sometimes what goes on simply seems Silly to those of us on the outside. Either way the old adage “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” applies. In this case, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick have shown that the grass might just be greener there.

Carl Edwards is going somewhere, he said so “… we have to do it this year”. He wasn’t talking about a next year for Roush Fenway. So begins Silly Season, and it’s only just started.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 296369 Drew Hallowell/Getty Images