Edwards on Biffle: 'He ain't our teammate'
June 16, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Biffle's decision not to help remove trash from Edwards' grille causes tension
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Carl Edwards felt his Roush Fenway Racing teammate should have helped him out.
Greg Biffle said that, given the gap between the two Fords, the timing and the fact that he was the race leader overruled any request for assistance.
Edwards was running second to Biffle with less than 50 laps remaining in Sundays’ Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway when the temperature of his car’s engine became a cause for concern.
Trash on the grille created the issue, and Edwards was hopeful that Biffle would slow enough to let him close in and allow the air pressure to remove the debris.
How much longer could he run before harming the engine?
“Somebody get a motor man to make the decision for me,” Edwards radioed his crew “because I’m not going to make the decision."
"(We) didn’t get any help from our teammate, and he put us in a hole."
-- Jimmy Fennig
Told the engine should be OK until he pitted, which he did a handful of laps later, Edwards overcame an untimely caution that fell shortly after his green-flag pit stop to finish eighth.
No help from the teammate, came the voice on the radio after the stop.
“He ain’t our teammate,” Edwards shot back.
Biffle, however, said he had other concerns. With the potential to end a 27-race winless streak looming in the windshield of his No. 16 Ford, and a healthy margin on the track, it was a risk he wasn’t willing to take.
“These races are very, very hard to win,” Biffle, who scored his 19th career win and the 1,000th win for Ford Motor Co. across NASCAR national series. “The last win I had was here. This is a competitive sport.”
It would be different, he said “if he was eight car-lengths back, and I didn’t know when I passed him he had something on his grille or I’d let him get it off then. And I don’t know if he did have something …”
Told of his teammate’s potential problem, Biffle responded “I can’t help him … not right now. This is my chance to win today, right here, and the 48 (of Jimmie Johnson) is coming. I don’t know if you know that or not, but the 48 is coming.”
Afterward, team co-owner Jack Roush defended the decision of Biffle and the No. 16 team.
“There are no team orders for that kind of thing,” Roush said, “but I do support the decision that Greg made to not give up his track position, and we’ll discuss that.”
Edwards, the Coors Light Pole Award winner, led three times for 16 laps, the last time at lap 150 before Biffle came zooming past.
His eighth-place finish enabled him to hold his No. 2 position in the points standings, and cut into Jimmie Johnson’s points lead. He now trails by 31.
“It’s a two way street, right?” Biffle said. “You ask that guy up there to climb back down the rock to help you or you wait for the guy that’s coming (up) and ask him for help.
“There’s two ways of doing it. … There are lots of options … and I had to get stuff off my grille several times.”
Crew chief Jimmy Fennig wasn’t pleased, citing the problems at the end of a race on the fact that the team “didn’t get any help from our teammate, and he put us in a hole.
“We were a bit too free,” Fennig said of the day’s battle on the 2-mile oval. “We finally got it (better) at the end, but we got paper in our grille.
“Tried to get the 16 (of Biffle) to help get it off and he didn’t want to help us.”