May 15, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT
In what some may consider a big surprise – or perhaps a sign of several more departures to come – long time engineer Chip Bolin has been released by Roush Fenway Racing.
According to Motorsport.com, the departure of Bolin, 40, from RFR was confirmed Thursday by the company.
Bolin’s departure could be a signal that an even greater shakeup may be brewing, particularly involving drivers Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle, who are both in the final year of their respective contracts with RFR.
Bolin had been with RFR for 16 years, coming to the organization in 1998 after serving an internship with Andy Petree Racing. He joined the company at about the same time as Bob Osborne, who eventually went on to be Edwards’ crew chief.
Together, Bolin and Osborne formed what would become the engineering department for what was then Roush Racing.
Although he was involved with most Roush teams at one point or other in his career, Bolin is known most for his time with Matt Kenseth‘s team, first as team engineer beginning in 1999.
Kenseth won the final Winston Cup championship in 2003 with Robbie Reiser as crew chief and Bolin as chief engineer.
In 2007, Bolin became Kenseth’s crew chief when now-RFR general manager Reiser was promoted into the team’s front office.
Although Ford has won four of the first 11 Sprint Cup races this season, three of those wins have come from rival Team Penske. Edwards is the only driver of the three Sprint Cup pilots at RFR to have won a race this season, having done so at Bristol in March.
Edwards is currently ranked fifth in the Sprint Cup standings, while Biffle is ninth. Both drivers are in the final year of their current contracts with RFR.
Biffle has stated several times that he plans on returning to the RFR camp, but there’s still some uncertainty that will happen.
As for Edwards, he is not saying one way or other whether he’ll come back to RFR or not. Whether Edwards stays or leaves could have a major impact upon whether Biffle also stays or goes – and if he does go, will his options be limited if Edwards also exits the organization at season’s end.
The third RFR driver in the Sprint Cup Series, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., is currently ranked 25th and has just one top-five finish this season.
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