Roush drivers forget whose side they're on

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:49 PM ET

LAS VEGAS - It should be an interesting meeting at the Roush Fenway Racing shop on Tuesday morning when team owner Jack Roush and his three drivers — Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle — begin dissecting what happened on the final re-start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

One thing that they all can agree on: Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet appeared to be packing way more horsepower than any of the RFR Fords.

And while that is worrisome for everybody in the Ford camp, of more concern to Roush will be how all three of his drivers got caught fighting one another, and in fact ended up wrecking Kenseth’s No. 17 — a car that for much of the race was the best of the bunch.

What looked to have happened was that when Stewart moved to go three wide into Turn 1 he created enough room to allow Biffle’s No. 16 Ford to follow.

All of a sudden Biffle found himself between Edward’s No. 99 Ford on the bottom and Kenseth on his outside.

His thought at that point was to put himself in a position to win, regardless of what it might do to his pair of teammates.

“Unfortunately, these days you’ve got to race each car like you’re passing for the position,” Biffle said in his defence.

“Now you’re not probably going put the guy out in the weeds and jeopardize him wrecking, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, I guess.”

At that point in a race all the niceties that any driver might afford a teammate are out the window. Although Roush might disagree, Biffle felt he had no choice.

“I didn’t know we were three wide,” he said. “My spotter told me Carl was on the apron below the 17 and I found that to be a surprise, so I moved up the race track and gave about as much room as I thought I needed or could, and just held my line through the corner.

“When I looked out the side mirror, the 99 car was coming up the track, coming up the track and was going hit me, and then I started moving up a little bit to try and give him a little bit of room on the bottom, and then my spotter told me the 17 is looking at the top.

“I was like, ‘What else can happen in one corner?’ But there wasn’t room for the 17 above me.”

What happened next was that all three of the RFR Fords looked like they were about to wreck.

“I don’t know if (Kenseth) saw that exactly,” Biffle said. “The replay showed the 17 was behind the 99 and the 99 kind of got stalled out on my inside.

“The 99 finally had to lift or he was probably going be in my side, so as long as we’re not beating and shoving on each other, I suppose anything goes.”

Kenseth said from his point of view it was Edwards who made the three-wide mess happen. He said that the No. 99 Ford had “laid back” on the re-start in order to get a better run going into Turn 1.

“Carl just laid back and got by me three-wide and then it just didn’t seem like there was a lot of room getting into Turn 1,” he said. “And then I did get clear behind him and he just stopped in the middle of the corner. I don’t really know what happened.

“I got into him a little bit and then I don’t know if I got the air pulled off on the right side or what happened. I thought I got a good start. I was right with Tony.”

As for Edwards, he said he feels bad about the whole thing but on a positive note he thought it showed how good the Fords were that three of them were fighting for a win in the final laps of the race.

“Matt spun his tires a little bit and I got a run on him, and then Greg and I went around him and he ended up getting wrecked,” Edwards said. “I feel terrible. He did a really good job. The whole Roush Fenway team did a good job and at the end it was nice to have three cars up there with a shot at the win. It was a fun race. It’s just a really fun race track, so, hopefully, we can go to Bristol and have a good run there.”

One thing that is for certain: it will be up to Jack Roush to make sure any hard feelings among his drivers — and there will be some — don’t follow the team to Bristol Motor Speedway this week.

NASCAR’S TOP 12 POINTS LEADERS

1: Greg Biffle 125

2: Kevin Harvick 115

3: Denny Hamlin 113

4: Dale Earnhardt 107

5: Matt Kenseth 102

6: Carl Edwards 102

7: Tony Stewart 100

8: M, Truex Jr. 98

9: Joey Logano 98

10: Mark Martin 97

11: Paul Menard 89

12: Kyle Busch 87

dean.mcnulty@sunmedia.ca


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