May 9, 2014, 3:13 PM EDT
UPDATE: Greg Biffle told Motor Racing Network Friday at Kansas Speedway that despite comments earlier in the week which may have been construed otherwise, he is not planning on leaving Roush Fenway Racing when his current contract expires at the end of this season.
“No, not a bit,” Biffle told MRN after being asked if he was looking at leaving RFR for another organization. “Absolutely, 100 percent ‘No.’”
Biffle told MRN that negotiations continue with current sponsor 3M, which appears to have delayed his re-upping with RFR in the No. 16 Ford. And although he did not have a timetable when negotiations will result in a new signed deal, Biffle appears to be content with the direction things are going.
“We have a great relationship. They’re very happy with the program,” Biffle said. “There is a bunch of new people trying to get their arms around all of the business. They’ve got a lot of business units inside that ’3M’ … which likes having all these sponsors in the garage part of one company. This is a big deal for them.”
Interestingly enough, however, for as much as Biffle insisted to MRN that he’s not leaving RFR, one comment he told the radio network seemed odd for someone who claims he’s not going anywhere.
“My concentration is coming here and figuring out with (crew chief Matt) Puccia how we get this car as fast as we can get it, qualify up front and try to win this race,” Biffle said of Saturday night’s race at Kansas Speedway. “That’s my focus and ultimately, I’ve got options. This isn’t the only place, you know. I’m gonna have a job. Is it a distraction? No.”
The original story follows:
A month ago, Greg Biffle seemed all but signed, sealed and delivered to remain with Roush Fenway Racing and primary sponsor 3M for another three years.
But based upon what Biffle told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday, what appeared to be a near-lock may not be as near or as much of a luck as it once appeared.
There’s no question Biffle is loyal to RFR and team co-owners Jack Roush and John Henry. It was Roush who give Biffle his big break, bringing him up to the Cup level after winning the Busch Series championship in 2002 and the Craftsman Truck title in 2000.
But given how RFR – and the overall Ford program, for that matter – have run hot and cold in recent years, may Biffle be looking to follow former teammate Matt Kenseth to newer pastures?
Kenseth left RFR after nearly 15 seasons, moving to Toyota-powered Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013. Kenseth went on to enjoy the best season of his career performance-wise, earning a personal best seven race wins.
Biffle isn’t the only RFR driver who may be reconsidering his options. Teammate Carl Edwards‘ three-year deal is also up at season’s end, and there’s been nary a peep about what Edwards is thinking or will do going forward.
JGR heavily courted Edwards prior to the expiration of his last contract in 2011, but after months of “will he leave or won’t he leave,” Edwards renewed for three more years with RFR.
Now, those three years are coming to an end.
Could Edwards potentially be revisiting a move to JGR? So far, Edwards has said very little on where he may or may not wind up next season.
Or could Biffle be waiting to see what Edwards does before he makes up his own mind on where his home for the next three seasons will be?
“Plain and simply, I’ve got options,” Biffle told SiriusXM’s Claire B. Lang. “I know I’m going to be racing. I know I’m going to be driving a car. So I’m not worried about it.”
Based upon those comments, it could be The Biff may be growing frustrated at how long negotiations have dragged on and is pushing RFR to seal the deal, or perhaps the two sides can’t agree on key elements including money.
Or maybe Biffle truly is looking elsewhere – or at least exploring what the potential market out there might bear. The question is what teams will have potential openings in 2015.
If Edwards decides to leave RFR, Biffle’s options may be lessened. For example, if Edwards on a second go-round indeed does wind up as a fourth driver for JGR, that precludes Biffle from going there.
Or if Edwards chooses to go to another team, that would likely negate an option for Biffle — unless he beats Edwards to the punch, so to speak, and signs first with another team.
Teams that potentially do have room for another car in 2015 include Team Penske and Michael Waltrip Racing (both have room for two additional cars), Richard Childress Racing (has room for a fourth team, pending what the future of Ty Dillon holds), and smaller teams such as JTG-Daugherty Racing and Furniture Row Racing.
“I think there’s plenty of opportunities in the industry to be in competitive cars,” Biffle said. “I enjoy being at Roush Fenway. I love 3M. We have a great relationship and the program works really, really well for 3M.”
But will the program ultimately work really, really well for Biffle? Time will tell.
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