By now you’ve heard Carl Edwards was miffed at teammate Greg Biffle for not checking up or in some way drifting back to Edwards to help him clean some debris off his grille. Instead, Biffle copped the “Sorry Bud, I’ve got a race to win and helping you is going to cost me” defense, and focused on the task at hand, namely the hot pursuit of Jimmie Johnson to take the checkered flag at Michigan.
After this race, Jack Roush- the team owner for which Edwards and Biffle race- stepped in. Team orders? Roush says they don’t exist. Basically, it’s a matter of both drivers owe to their crew, the organization and their sponsors to go get the “W.” If a teammate can help? Great, go for it; but don’t do it and cost yourself a shot at doing what you get paid well to do.
I couldn’t help but think about the guys down at the local dirt track. You’d NEVER hear of such an argument. Team? What team? You put in the time, the practice and the resources into trying to win a race. Team orders? This ain’t Formula One, baby. For that, this fan is grateful.
That was the thing about tandem racing at Talladega that drove this fan crazy. You are going to push somebody else to a win? That’s racing? You know the answer to that. I remember back in 2010, Jimmie Johnson asked his teammate (at that time) Mark Martin if he could pass for the lead to get some bonus points at Chicagoland. Martin reluctantly acquiesced. To his credit, Martin did give a reply to the effect of “Really?” If it were me, I would have said, come and race for your bonus points, I’m not giving you jack!
Don’t misunderstand me, I like Carl Edwards. I understand the frustration that comes with running well, and watching your fortunes go up in steam because some piece of trash is keeping air off of my motor and causing temperatures to rise. If I’m him, I’m hoping for some way, any kind of way to alleviate the problem; but to get mad at my teammate because he won’t lay back? I’ve got to call a foul there.
I’d like to think that’s just a little post race frustration talking, and that upon further reflection, I’d cut Biffle a little slack. Johnson was coming fast, and if things play a little differently, it’s not hard to imagine the 48 not using up so much tire to catch the 16, he succeeds and cruises off to victory lane. Under those circumstances, nobody from Roush wins.
Teamwork is about sharing information, pooling resources where reasonable, and yes, offering a little on track help like debris removal- provided it doesn’t potentially cost me a win. At the emd of the day, racing is still fundamentally an individual sport, and hopeful after about 24-48 hours of cool down time, there comes clarity.
If the roles had been reversed, do you think Edwards would have done differently? Me neither.