Biffle, Edwards are not on same page
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | June 20,2013
BROOKLYN, Mich. — Greg Biffle was thrilled after his victory last weekend in Michigan.
Teammate Carl Edwards was a little bit miffed.
Biffle’s Sprint Cup victory gave Ford Motor Co. 1,000 wins across NASCAR’s three national series — Cup, Nationwide and Truck. It took place just down the road from company headquarters, but not every Ford driver raced as well as he’d hoped. Edwards, the pole winner, finished eighth and said there was a point in the race when he wished Biffle would have dropped back to help him clean off his grille. The two both drive for Roush Fenway Racing.
“It’s his job to help me,” Edwards said after the race.
“We’ll take care of it.”
Biffle defended his approach to the race.
“These races are very, very hard to win,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I could take that risk at that particular time to back up, lose all that track position and — it may have changed the outcome of the race.”
Edwards later told ESPN.com he was referring to a moment relatively early in the race when he could have used help from Biffle, so their post-race comments may have been a misunderstanding. Still, despite the victory, it wasn’t a perfect week for Ford.
Brad Keselowski, who won the Cup last year for team owner Roger Penske, finished 12th in his No. 2 Ford. He’s now ninth in the points standings with no wins, and although there’s plenty of time for him to solidify his spot in the Chase, lately he’s been making news for reasons other than his driving.
Keselowski was at Ford headquarters in Dearborn last week when he accused Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing of luring away Penske employees in an effort to steal information. Penske said over the weekend he thought Keselowski had some “misinformation” — and team owners Rick Hendrick and Joe Gibbs blasted the defending champion for spreading false information.
For the most part, Sunday’s race was a welcome break from all that chatter. At one point, Biffle, Edwards, Keselowski and Joey Logano — all Ford drivers — were firmly in the top 10. Edwards led 16 laps. Logano led 21 before finishing ninth.
“I think seeing all those Fords up front was really a statement, that we are moving in the right direction. There’s a lot of momentum,” said Edwards, who is second in the standings behind Chevrolet’s Jimmie Johnson. “We need to get better and faster.”
Of course, that upbeat, team-oriented quote didn’t draw as much attention as what Edwards said about Biffle, but Biffle said Tuesday the two would have a chance to talk things through.
“We had a brief conversation in our call-in, but we had all the team engineers and crew chiefs and drivers. That really wasn’t the proper time to take up the meeting time to discuss all of those things, but we talked about it briefly,” Biffle said.
“We’re going to have a follow-up meeting. Everybody had different schedules this week, so we’re going to sit down and talk a little bit about it and just the expectation and understanding of, what can you do to help another competitor? Certainly, I’ve backed up to Carl before to get stuff off his grille and he’s done the same stuff for me.”
Balancing teamwork with individual competitiveness always seems to be an inexact science. One thing was clear after the race: Team owner Jack Roush was happy Biffle held on to win.
“There’s no team orders for that kind of thing, but I do support the decision that Greg made to not give up his track position,” Roush said. “We’ll discuss that.”