Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and the Uncertain Future of Roush Fenway Racing

Jerry Bonkowski@@jerrybonkowskiFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2014

Do Greg Biffle (left) and Carl Edwards stay or leave Roush Fenway Racing after the 2014 season?
Do Greg Biffle (left) and Carl Edwards stay or leave Roush Fenway Racing after the 2014 season?Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The respective futures of Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Roush Fenway Racing will be decided in the coming months, if not weeks.

Edwards and Biffle are two of the most prized Sprint Cup free agents potentially available, their respective contracts with RFR due to expire at the end of this season.

Edwards has not said if he'll be back with RFR or will go to another team. There are more than enough stories online that indicate the latter, but up to this point Cousin Carl has been mum about where he'll spend the next three or more seasons.

Biffle's future is also unclear. While he's expressed a desire to remain with RFR, there's no guarantee that will play out.

Edwards is prime real estate. He could immediately help any number of teams, including Joe Gibbs Racing (especially if it expands to four teams for 2015), Team Penske, even potentially Richard Childress Racing.

Biffle, meanwhile, seems to have his future tied to where Edwards goes. If Edwards follows Matt Kenseth's lead by leaving RFR—Kenseth left the organization after 2012 and has rejuvenated his career since with JGR—it could convince Biffle to remain with RFR as its No. 1 driver (which Edwards has become by default).

Or Biffle could be the beneficiary of Edwards' crumbs. In other words, whatever team or teams Edwards decides to forego would become prime candidates for Biffle's talents.

Right now, only two things are certain for RFR, and neither is a lock for a Sprint Cup championship anytime soon.

First, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will remain in the RFR fold through 2015. Even if Edwards and Biffle depart, Stenhouse will be back for at least one more season.

Second, with the recent signing of Trevor Bayne to drive the legendary No. 6 Ford Fusion in the Sprint Cup Series in 2015, RFR gets a past Daytona 500 winner. But Bayne won't likely be Cup championship material for at least a couple years, if not longer.

Does RFR primary team owner Jack Roush want to go into 2015 with two youngsters as his lead drivers?

And what if both Edwards and Biffle depart? Who fills the third car in the Roush stable? Frankly, there are really no other free agents available that would even come close to filling Edwards' or Biffle's firesuits.

There's no question Roush is a demanding team owner. He expects perfection, stresses total commitment and demands loyalty.

But Roush has also lost a number of good-to-great drivers over the last decade. He lost Kurt Busch just one season after he won the inaugural Nextel Cup championship, along with Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Kenseth, downsized David Ragan and let Jamie McMurray go back to Chip Ganassi Racing.

And at the same time, how many Cup championships has Roush won since Kenseth won in 2003 and Busch in 2004?

That would be a big fat zero.

Sure, Edwards came close in 2011, tying Tony Stewart for the championship, only to lose out by virtue of the first tiebreaker, the number of wins for both drivers.

Stewart won the title by virtue of his five wins—all in that year's Chase for the Sprint Cup—to only one win by Edwards.

And speaking of wins, that could be one of the biggest reasons why Edwards and Biffle may go elsewhere, and why few other candidates may be eager to replace them at RFR.

Consider this: In the three seasons since Edwards and Biffle both re-upped with RFR for 2012 through this season, they've managed seven combined wins across 84 races (not including Sunday's race at Dover), and that includes just one thus far this season (by Edwards).

For clarification, that does not include Kenseth's three wins in 2012 before he jumped ship for Toyota in 2013.

By comparison, Team Penske has amassed 10 wins—including three thus far this season—and the 2012 Sprint Cup championship (although that title and five wins by Brad Keselowski in 2012 were powered by Dodge; Penske didn't join Ford until 2013).

Extrapolate that a bit more: Chevrolet has earned 37 combined wins since 2012 and Toyota 26.

As for Ford? The blue oval has just 16 wins since the start of the 2012 season.

And Dodge had five wins in its final season in Sprint Cup in 2012.

If you were Edwards and Biffle, driving for a team that has had 10 fewer wins than Toyota and 21 wins fewer than Chevy, would you want to stay with RFR and Ford?

While we'd love to see Edwards and Biffle stay with RFR, the numbers don't necessarily compute.

Follow me on Twitter @JerryBonkowski


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