By admin | May 13, 2009
By Richard Allen
Jack Roush and his Roush Fenway Racing partners must hate when one of their cars gets torn up because of the actions of a driver from another team. But even more so, they must really hate when they have a car, or cars, torn up because of the actions of their own drivers.
It has not been a closely guarded secret that the RFR drivers aren’t exactly the best of pals off the track. As a matter of fact, the video clip of Carl Edwards throwing a fake punch at Matt Kenseth a couple of years ago in Martinsville proved to be a YouTube sensation.
That fake punch incident actually came on the heels of an on-track altercation between those two drivers during a Busch(Nationwide) Series race earlier that year.
Once again in Darlington during this past Saturday’s Southern 500 the rivalry within RFR reared its ugly head. On lap 285 Greg Biffle may or may not have bumped Edwards and sent the #99 Ford into the turn 2 wall.
“That’s nice of my teammate to wreck me,” Edwards declared.
“I’d have to look at the replay,” Biffle insisted. “Maybe I bumped him, but I really don’t think so. He cut down the hill. He knew I was inside of him, and that happens, but I think just the air off my bumper got him loose, but I’ll have to look at the replay.
“I don’t know. It sure didn’t feel like I touched him, but it’s perfectly possible.”
These two RFR drivers also have a history of incidents. Last year in Talladega, the same two drivers had laid back at the rear of the field and waited to make their moves. As the end of the race approached Biffle and Edwards did indeed make their moves. Unfortunately, those moves included Edwards getting into the back of Biffle and sending him spinning. The ‘Big One’ ensued, which also collected teammate Kenseth.
For that matter, it seems as though every driver in the RFR fold has some history with the others. Just this year in Talladega, Kenseth was bumped by David Ragan during a Nationwide race which sent Kenseth on a wild, flipping ride along the backstretch.
Kenseth claimed that Ragan had attempted to use the bump drafting strategy at the wrong time and place. He then put the blame for his crash squarely on his younger teammate.
Ragan was also at the center of a somewhat odd happening with Edwards. In the late stages of a race in Michigan, Edwards radioed back to Ragan as the two ran 1-2 under caution. He essentially told Ragan to guard his flanks and keep the other drivers at bay. In other words, “you’re my teammate so don’t even consider passing me, just slow everyone else down so I can win”.
Needless to say, there is plenty of drama within the garages of Roush Fenway Racing. That drama is often costly in terms of finishing positions, points and money for Jack Roush and his business partners.
But, isn’t it a lot more fun having guys race hard against one another whether they are teammates or not rather than follow team orders and then say all the politically correct things after the race? There’s not any team in NASCAR that does that, is there?
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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