The Indianpost

He is close to extension with Roush

Greg Biffle said Tuesday he’s within a few weeks of announcing a contract extension with Roush Fenway Racing.

Greg Biffle won two races and finished sixth in the final 2010 Sprint Cup standings. Biffle is 20th in the current points standings. Enlarge.

Greg Biffle won two races and finished sixth in the final 2010 Sprint Cup standings. Biffle is 20th in the current points standings.  And if Carl Edwards applies the same criteria to his decision-making, Biffle expects his teammate will be staying with the organization, too.

“He may have a different opinion than I do,” Biffle said. “But if I was looking around to make a change, it’s going to be better than what I have. That’s what I’m going to have to ask myself.  “Do I consider Red Bull a better team (in) competitiveness? I don’t think so.

I’m not saying it’s the bottom of the barrel, but to say, ‘I’m going to win a championship,’ I don’t think that’s in the cards.”  Red Bull Racing seems among the most likely prospects for courting Edwards, who leads the points through five races in the last season of his current deal with Roush.

After a one-season stint, Kasey Kahne will leave RBR next season for Hendrick Motorsports (which signed Kahne to a multiyear deal last year).  Edwards negotiates his contacts without an agent and said last weekend in California that he isn’t focused on making a deal. He probably is the most attractive candidate in a class of impending free agents that also includes Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Biffle.

But Biffle, who won a Mustang match race Tuesday at zMax Dragway against NHRA champion John Force and NASCAR teammates Matt Kenseth and David Ragan, believes the recent performance of Edwards’ No. 99 Ford would make it hard to leave the team that brought the Columbia, Mo., native to Cup seven years ago.

In his past seven races dating to last season, Edwards has three victories and two runner-up finishes. “My hunch is yes because of the way our program is running,” Biffle said when asked if he thought Edwards would re-sign. “The next three to five years is going to be good at Roush Fenway.

Our engine is new, and we’re going to continue to find better, new stuff with it. Are there other places to go? Probably.  “Ultimately, we want to win races. Economics is a part of it. If we were going to drive something we’d win in damn near every weekend, we probably would drive for nothing because that’s the way it is.”

Kenseth says he is more concerned with ending a two-year winless drought than Edwards’ fate. “I like having Carl as a teammate,” said the 2003 champion, who has been with Roush his entire career (as Biffle and Edwards also have). “I think he offers a lot to the sponsors and the organization and helps all of us because he’s so good and performs so well.

It elevates all our performance, and we learn from things he does, and it makes us better. So I hope he stays there, but what he decides to do personally and where he races, I don’t get caught up in that or really care about his contract. I think he set a precedent with his last one of the way he did things and how he got paid. Which is great for him. If he gets worked out, that’s great.  “I have a lot going on I need to worry about on the No. 17 team, and I don’t really worry about the rest of the teams.

That’s why you have people like (Roush general manager) Robbie (Reiser), (president) Steve Newmark and (team owner) Jack (Roush). I don’t spend any time worrying or really thinking about it.”

Feeling grounded: Biffle says he has been “hitchhiking” to races recently with drivers because his Flacon 20 plane hasn’t been repaired from a March 9 crash in Lexington, Ky., after a landing gear failure.

“You don’t realize how many friends you have until something like thathappens,” Biffle said. “Jamie (McMurray) sent his airplane to pick me up (in Kentucky). Matt and Denny (Hamlin) gave me rides, and Elliott Sadler said to call him anytime. Kasey Kahne…everyone really been helpful.”  Biffle said he “had to sign a few autographs” after flying Southwest Airlines last week from Las Vegas (for an appearance) to California, paying $19 for a window seat upgrade.

It was surely a smoother ride than the landing in Kentucky that he described as “very scary. I don’t think you really registered what was happening. When it stopped, they said, ‘Let’s evacuate the aircraft.’ Evacuate was a word that kind of scared me. Reality set in that this could have been bad.”

Because of a business meeting, Biffle changed plans that day and landed on a 7,500-foot runway in Lexington instead of a 4,000-foot runway in Morehead City, N.C.  “We stopped 500 feet from the end” of the runway, Biffle said. “If you do the math, that’s about 3,000 feet short of being across the road, through the chain-link fence and out in the water. So, lucky I went over (to Lexington).”

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