Biffle confident of new deal
Greg Biffle says that he feels his new contract with Roush Fenway Racing will be done sometime in the first quarter of this year.
The Nationwide and Camping World Truck series champion has never driven full time for any other NASCAR organization. He's entering his ninth season of full-time Cup competition and has 16 wins in the series. Biffle has 113 top-10 finishes, 66 of them top fives, and has finished in the top 10 in the season standings four times. He has a top series finish of second in 2005.
“I honestly feel like our contract will be done in the first quarter of this year," he said Thursday during NASCAR's annual media day at Daytona International Speedway. "I suspect it’ll be done maybe as soon as the break – four races in or something like that. I think we’re close. I feel like we’re close, and I think it’s gonna surprise a lot of people.”
Biffle says he doesn't feel the contract talk is a distraction for him and that when his deal is completed, "it will set a pretty decent mark in our sport for what’s going on.”
He talked about the impact current economic times have on both the length and value of contracts these days, but admitted that he's not really interested in driving for any other team at this point. Not only is he pleased with his own group, but with NASCAR's four-team limit on ownership, there just aren't that many opportunities.
“Our cars are good right now," he said. "We won a couple races last year. I don’t have a high interest level in leaving Roush Fenway and going somewhere else right now. I really, really don’t. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. And the other thing we’re talking about is where are you gonna go? You gonna go start a brand-new team at Gibbs? Where else would you go? Hendrick, Gibbs, Childress, who are the other players that have spots? None of them have spots is what I’m saying.”
Biffle said that sponsor 3M seems happy with the team and that they have a "great relationship."
The company's contract is also through this season, though Biffle seems confident that the sponsor will not only be back, but that its contract term will match his.
He's not the only Roush Fenway driver in a contract year, though. Teammate Carl Edwards is also in the final year of his deal. does Biffle think he will leave?
"I don’t see guys jumping all over the place now," Biffle said, looking at the recent contract history of top drivers. "We didn’t see a lot of big moves. A lot of teams are ending up with four teams. Childress has four teams, Hendrick has four teams, Gibbs will probably have four teams sooner or later. We have four teams, so in order for you to go somewhere, somebody has to get kicked out, so it’s not as easy as, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll go see what Hendrick has going,’ because they don’t have a spot. It’s a little more difficult. The field is getting narrower with options.”
Still, after the economic troubles of the past year and the difficulty some teams have endured in snaring sponsors, Biffle thinks that the money factor in terms of contracts will be different.
"A lot of us had some pretty rich deals in the heyday. It’s gonna get reset, there’s no doubt," he said.
Now times are different, and teams are making cuts where they can.
"The sponsor dollars go down, let’s say, 40 percent or 35 percent," Biffle said. "That’s a significant number, so that’s got to come from somewhere. It’s gonna be cut back at the team for engineering, personnel, driver salaries, all the way down. We’re gonna have to economize what we’re doing to continue on.”