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Greg Biffle Leaves Roush Fenway Racing; Chris Buescher To JTG?

Roush Fenway Racing was the first home Greg Biffle settled on in the Cup Series. For 13 years, it’s been the only place he’s driven, collecting 19 wins, 13 poles, and a runner-up finish in points in 2005.

Whether it’s the last place he’ll drive in Cup remains to be seen.

Biffle left RFR Monday, ending his long tenure with the team after growing frustrated over performance the last few seasons. With limited sponsorship and little hope from the driver for improvement, the 46-year-old veteran felt it was time for a change.

“I just couldn’t do this anymore,” Biffle told the Florida Times-Union Monday. “I’ve been the one carrying the company banner. I’ve been the one who kept re-signing. I was all of those things. But it just didn’t get any better. I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, so I decided I’d rather do something else – even if it means not driving anymore.”

The veteran now enters the free agent market with a limited number of rides available. RFR, for its part is unlikely to run the No. 16 car in 2017, focusing on improving themselves as a consolidated two-car team with young talents Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

“Greg exemplifies what every owner hopes for in a driver and I’m extremely thankful for having him as part of our organization,” said owner Jack Roush in announcing the move. “I know that Greg and I will maintain a strong friendship and I look forward to leaning on him on occasion as we continue to work on improving our performance.”

The departure caps a stunning turn of events the past few years for what was once NASCAR’s powerhouse Ford team. Since 2011, Roush has lost Biffle, Matt Kenseth, David Ragan and Carl Edwards along with major sponsors like UPS, Aflac, and Ortho. They’ve seen the size of their program cut in half while Ford’s deals with Team Penske and now Stewart-Haas Racing have left them falling down the pecking order in Blue Oval country.

Still, despite the difficult times Biffle and Roush have great respect for one another. The parting, by all sides appeared amicable in the press release announced Monday.

“I’m thankful to Jack Roush for the opportunity to have driven his race cars for all these years,” said Biffle. “It’s very rare in this sport to have been able to stay with one team this many years, and to have been as successful as we have been.”

The charter for the No. 16 team, should it cease operations for 2017 would go to the highest bidder. One contender to earn that spot? A second team fielded by JTG Daugherty Racing. The Wood Brothers have left JTG’s shop, giving the team room to expand to a multi-car program ownership feels like they need to stay competitive. Rumors had been flaring the last few weeks that Biffle would be in that car and sources told Frontstretch he’d been spotted in meetings at JTG Daugherty headquarters.

But Biffle on Monday confirmed he had no future plans and was looking for a ride, making it appear like the partnership has fallen through. In his place, Chris Buescher has emerged as a candidate for that second car. The Times-Union reported Buescher would be loaned to JTG and Chevrolet for one year while Ford focuses on rebuilding his future home at RFR.

So what does that mean for Biffle? There’s a ride open at the No. 44 for Richard Petty Motorsports, although it appears to be “pay to play.” Biffle could also choose to run a year for Front Row Motorsports in Buescher’s place. Or, he could retire, leaving behind an impressive driving career that saw him win titles in both XFINITY and Trucks.

One thing we know for certain; he’s tired of running midpack.

“My passion is to drive a car that’s capable of winning,” he told the Times-Union. “I didn’t want to run 25th every week.”

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About Tom Bowles

Tom Bowles
The author of Bowles-Eye View (Mondays) and Did You Notice? (Wednesdays) Tom spends his time overseeing Frontstretch’s 30 staff members as its majority owner. Based in Philadelphia, Bowles is a two-time Emmy winner in NASCAR television and has worked in racing production with FOX, TNT, and ESPN while appearing on-air for SIRIUS XM Radio and FOX Sports 1's former show, the Crowd Goes Wild.

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9 comments

  1. Avatar

    It is ironic that it is day after the dog-n-pony show & it is the lowly BIFF that is trending on FB, whilst the big whoop se7en time Johnson’s “chase” farce title win & Stewart’s retirement is not & are not? Lol! I’d say so! Ha!
    Greg Biffle’s career highlights with Ford/RFR:
    – Won Ford’s first CWT championship in ’00.
    – Won Ford’s first NXS championship in ’02.
    – Captured the 1,000th victory for Ford in NASCAR June ’13 at MIS.
    – 11th (Tied D. Allison) on Ford’s Cup Series win list with 19.
    – 4th for all-time Ford victories in across three main series with 53 (19 Cup, 18 NXS, 16 CWT).
    – Won the season-ending Ford 400 at Miami 3 straight years (’04-’06).
    – Led the Cup Series with 6 wins ’05, finishing 2nd in points.
    I don’t understand how Biffle’s decision to leave RFR is related to RFR loaning Chris Buescher to JTG Daughtery Racing next season. RFR is expected to scuttle the #16 team, which would make a “charter” available, presumably to the new JTGD entrée or anyone else interested (cough WBR cough). The #34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, that Buescher was in for ’16, has, for some unknown reason reason been speculatively mentioned for Biffle in ’17. So, moving Buescher out of the #34 for ’17 might be indicatory of making room for Biffle in the #34. But go figure …if you are Biff, you want anything BUT another RFR car, let alone an affiliate.
    So, I call the #34 out of bounds & this speculation completely unsubstantiated & improbable. It does not seem to benefit any of the Fordies, plus Chris has had steady sponsors (CSW & Love’s). So I would be shocked to see the #34 landscape change, but stranger things have happened.
    Plus, The #44 of RPM, who has historically been an RFR affiliate, is in it’s first season of Team Penske alignment. So that is interesting, but the #44 is not sponsored & I would be surprised to see Biff or anyone pulling that together in the 11th hour, especially given the way they (RFR & RPM) have been underperforming recently, but again stranger things have happened.
    Also, Boyer’s going to the #14 at SHR, so his seat in the #15 Chevy of HScott Motorsports is unspoken for to the best of my knowledge. Isn’t silly season supposed to be over by now? Sheesh?
    Unfortunately, Biff is winless in 3 years, so I think he is left with an insatiable hunger for a Cup win. But I don’t doubt think anything of that caliber will pop out of the wood work for him. Bringing the only other outside possibilities I can think of to light. The new #12 Team Penske Stang in the NXS that Penske has committed as a “full-time” effort, despite not announcing a driver yet. Inference being that the Penske Discount Tire #22 Stang will be for his exhibitionists (BK, JL & RB). Or the #29 of BKR, along side rookie Austin Cendric (in the #19). But all of these seem somewhat improbable too. So, ultimately I think he’s unofficially retired & will most likely enter a consulting & coaching phase.
    Interesting that the #44 & #16 charters both seem to be open post-’16 heading into ’17. Also, it’s unsettling to hear gossip about the #34, which is also chartered. It is awfully late in the year to have 3 Ford Cup charters in flux. Plus, you have the 4 SHR joining the Cup Ford fray. And there’s your culprit! It’s all Tony & Clint’s fault! They have not even stepped within the Blue Oval of Purity yet & they are already making trouble for my friends! Some people! But hey, win & all sins they are forgiven! Ford picks up the #4, #10, #14, #41, plus the SHR #00 of Custer in the NXS Stang in ’17. But #16, #44 & possible the #34 charters sitting out there in the open are an awfully big bowl of matzah balls. Heaven forbid a Rice patty crew snatch them up!
    But the big dilemma for me is should I dream up a new handle for myself or ….STICK WITH BIFF

  2. Avatar

    “I didn’t want to run 25th every week.”

    Danica does (if not worse).

  3. Avatar

    It’s really hard seeing how far Roush Racing has fallen. A decade ago they had 5 teams in a 10 car Chase and were the team to beat on intermediate tracks. They practically owned Michigan. Now, they are reduced to a 2 car shell of their former self, running mid-pack most weeks. I have to reason a big part of the problem is the guy at the top, Jack Roush. He’s let his top drivers get poached away by Gibbs, lost big sponsors and seemingly can’t get the right people in place the ship. At this rate, I don’t see Roush in its current form around in 5 years. There were rumors last year that he might sell to Doug Yates, I wonder if they might surface again.

    • Avatar

      If I remember correctly, Roush wants more money in sponsorships than companies are willing to give, so rather than take less, he let them walk and they go find other teams who will take their money. I have heard this scenario happen many times over the years. Could be one reason for their decline.

      • Avatar

        I think I’ve also seen in the past that Roush was a little more demanding with his drivers on sponsor commitments than other owners. Could be a reason why all of his long-term drivers have eventually moved on.

  4. Avatar

    First of all I believe the Wood Brothers got screwed with the whole charter system. No they hadn’t run full time in the time decided upon but they have been in NASCAR from the beginning. I believe they should have been grandfathered in and been given a charter. I can’t see any of the owners having a problem with that.
    That being said, with them just getting back to running full time in 2016, do they really need the expense of buying a charter? I don’t see any more competitive cars entering next year then there already was this year and they didn’t have any issues making the field for every race. Would their somewhat limited funds be better spent on building upon the success they had this year?

    • Avatar

      Brian doesn’t let us know how much more money the charter teams get, even though he said he would back around March. He could be getting ready to be a politician and maybe run for President.

  5. Avatar

    Greg, thank you for all of your hard efforts. I am a Ford guy. You showed loyalty to Rousch even as Penske and Petty got their Fords better. Again, thanks for everything. Mark Martin was my guy for years until he had a problem with Rousch, too. Then, I chose you. Best wishes for your future. Merry Christmas and a Very Happy, Exciting New Year!