Tag:David Ragan
Posted on: May 13, 2008 10:46 am

So what's the deal with Biffle?

NASCAR Silly Season continues to heat up with the rumors and speculation growing more interesting by the day.

On Monday, a report surfaced that Joe Gibbs Racing may be interested in Greg Biffle's services. The same report said Gibbs made a run at Carl Edwards before he resigned with Roush Racing.

Publicly, Biffle has stated he wants to stay with Roush Racing, but he's been pretty tough on the organization at times, including Saturday at Darlington when pit miscues and a parts failure knocked him out.

If it's true that Gibbs is interested, it may not be a bad move. It could be considered a lateral move for Biffle, but if he's upset with the equipment he's getting a Roush, a change of scenery would do him good.

But the interesting aspect of this report is that it sure appears JGR is preparing for Stewart's departure.

So a checklist of the top drivers on the rumor wire include David Ragan, Biffle, Stewart, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex. I know all these drivers say they want to stay right where they're at, but I'd be shocked if everything stays status quo.

Here's my latest guess on where drivers end up:

Ragan -- likely stays with Roush; possibly jumps to RCR

Biffle -- Roush or Gibbs

Stewart -- partnership with Hendrick or RCR

Newman -- Penske or RCR

Truex -- DEI or Hendrick

The RCR ride is the tricky one. While it's a great opportunity with a top organization, it won't begin next season in the top 35 in owner points. So even for a great qualifier like Newman, there's always that possibility rain could cancel qualifying, knocking him out of the race. So drivers currently in a ride that's in the top 35 like Newman, Biffle, Truex and Ragan really have to weigh whether a move to RCR is wise. It's why Bobby Labonte (who has been long rumored for the ride) or Stewart make a bit more sense because they have the champions provisional to fall back on.

Of course, there have been maneuverings before where owner points were transferred, such as the DEI-Ginn deal last year, so RCR may have something up its sleeve yet to make sure the car is top 35 by the start of next season.

I can't wait to see how this turns out. It has gotten to the point where I'm as interested in Silly Season as I am the racing.

Posted on: May 3, 2008 4:28 pm

List of candidates for RCR dwindles

A few weeks ago, a couple of reports said Bobby Labonte was signed, sealed and delivered to the fourth team Richard Childress Racing. It made sense because RCR had signed General Mills, Labonte's current sponsor on the 43 car at Petty Enterprises, as the new cars sponsor.

But today, AP is reporting that Labonte has agreed to an extension with Petty Enterprises. Neither Labonte or officials with Petty confirmed the report.

I'm thinking that this will bear out and Labonte will remain with Petty. So just who will man the seat of the fourth RCR car?

Carl Edwards came off the market Friday, and if you believe Greg Biffle, he has every intention of re-signing with Roush as well, going so far as to say he's not even looking elsewhere.

I can believe it. RCR is probably the only team that can offer him an immediate chance to win besides Roush. But if he switched teams, he'd be under the gun the first five races to qualify on speed. I don't think that's a position he wants to be in because you can never account for weather. Unless the money is absolutely out of this world -- and I don't think it would be for Biffle's services -- he's in the best situation he can be in right now.

Now I gotta believe that Tony Stewart is at the very top of RCR's wish list. I think RCR is in a good position to offer him an intriguing package, but I'm sure Stewart will have plenty of similar offers. And there's also the little problem of whether Gibbs would let him out of his ride early. So while Stewart is intriguing, there are several hoops to jump through.

The next  best free-agent on the market is Ryan Newman. He has been linked to RCR in past rumors. Despite his Daytona 500 victory, he hasn't had the season he'd hoped for thus far. He has been with Penske for his entire nine-year Cup career, so there's some loyalty there, but a change of scenery might do him well just like it did Jeff Burton. He'd have to qualify on speed the first five races. But barring weather, that wouldn't be much of a problem for him because he's one of the best qualifiers in the series.

If Childress were to go a little younger that could put a driver like Reed Sorenson into the mix. Ganassi hasn't kept secret his disappointment with all his Cup teams' results this season. It's not that I think Ganassi wants to get rid of Sorenson, but if things don't turn around, he definitely could go in a different direction. I'm not quite sure where Sorenson's contract stands. He could choose to leave of his own volition and if RCR offers him a deal he should jump. Though I know they're working hard there, Ganassi Racing still has yet to show it's a top tier Cup operation.

David Ragan could be a target if Roush drags his feet while trying to decide who should stay between him and Jamie McMurray with the four-team limit nearing. Accoding to Jayski, Ragan's contract is up at the end of the year as is sponsor AAA. So the Roush operation has a lot of contract details to work out.

Scott Wimmer is doing part-time work for RCR in the Nationwide Series and select Cup races. Considering the lack of a full-time Nationwide ride for Wimmer, I don't see him getting a full-time Cup gig.


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