The NASCAR silly season never fails to amaze every year, and this season is no different. The biggest rumors currently swirling around the Sprint Cup series garage are those concerning two Roushketeers.
Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards have both been rumored to be looking at offers from other teams, including Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske. It comes at a bit of a surprise — especially for Biffle — that the two drivers would break their loyalty to the “Cat in the Hat”, Jack Roush. Both have always been staunch supporters of the team and loyal Ford drivers, but looking at the state of the Roush-Fenway Racing team, it’s easy to forgive them.
Roush has always been a platform for young drivers to showcase their talents. Jack has a history of giving guys a shot at the big time, evidenced by events such as the “Gong Show”, which Roush hosted as a sort of stock car combine, similar to the NFL.
But recent years have shown that Roush’s ladder system has gone stale. Guys like Trevor Bayne — 2011 Daytona 500 winner — have seen their careers stall out. Of course, Bayne was finally given a full-time Cup series ride by Roush just last week, signing a deal to drive his first full season in 2015 in the famed No. 6 car (made famous by Mark Martin).
It seems the biggest obstacle the team has suffered is a lack of straight speed. The Roush Fords are a struggling unit, and as the top Ford team (even that is questionable with Penske in the mix) there is a dearth of teams to draw information from. It’s especially obvious in his Nationwide teams. Bayne is a driver that should be battling for Nationwide series championships, but his car simply can’t keep up.
At one point, Roush had put five drivers — yes, FIVE! — in the Chase. 2005 saw half of the 10-driver field composed of Roush drivers, as Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Biffle and Edwards all made it. My how times have changed.
Greg Biffle to MWR?
Now, Biffle’s already been on record saying he is open to a change in scenery:
“I think there’s plenty of opportunities in the industry to be in competitive cars,” he said in an interview on SiriusXM Radio earlier this month. “I enjoy being at Roush Fenway. I love 3M. We have a great relationship and the program works really, really well for 3M … Plain and simple, I’ve got options. I know I’m going to be racing. I know I’m going to be driving a car. So I’m not worried.”
Options. Sure Biff, you’ve got options alright.
NASCAR on FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip may have even let the news out early that Biffle could be leaving for Michael Waltrip Racing in the Toyota camp. On the prerace show at Dover, ol’ DW answered a question posed by Chris Meyers, “And Greg Biffle will go to some two-car team that maybe one time had a third car,” leaving brother Michael to scramble for a cover-up response.
Biffle going to a Toyota team would be quite a change for the aging racer from the great Northwest. Toyota teams have enjoyed power and speed for several years now (even though reliability remains a question). Just look at Kenseth’s results last year.
Ultimately, I think Biffle will stay with Roush, because that team needs a veteran leader like Greg, and with Kenseth gone since 2012 and Bayne joining the group that already has a young Ricky Stenhouse Jr., it will be desperately needed.
Carl Edwards to Penske?
What if Carl goes to Penske? He’d be teaming up with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano and would likely be driving the No. 12 or No. 77 car, but most notably, he’d be teamed with the guy who he tried to kill (figuratively) just a few years ago!
Remember Atlanta 2010, when Edwards sent Keselowski on an airborne flight down the frontstretch as a revenge move? And the Nationwide race at Gateway later that year, when he hooked Brad into the wall as the pair raced for the checkered flag? How would these two do on a team together, having to share information?
Edwards has had his teammate squabbles before. After the fall Cup race at Martinsville in 2007, he faked a punch at Kenseth on pit road, showing his displeasure after an on-track racing deal.
Another thing to think about on the Penske move is what would happen to Ryan Blaney. The youngster is seemingly on the fast track to a Cup ride by as early as 2016, but if Edwards goes to Penske, either young Blaney’s ride is taken, or Roger would have to add a fourth car, which would certainly be a huge step up from just two cars.
Originally, Cousin Carl was rumored to be looking at a move to Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota power, which would put him right back with Kenseth again. Boy, imagine that, plus the pairing of Carl and the volatile Kyle Busch! And Edwards’ sponsor, Subway? That would be a reunion with Gibbs, who served as an associate sponsor of the No. 20 car of Tony Stewart in 2008.
In the end, I do believe Carl will make the move to Penske, even if he has to deal with Bad Brad again.
So where does this leave us? Perhaps nowhere. But the possibilities of where they could end is what keeps us race fans on our toes.