NASCAR »

Biffle replaces crew chief in lacklustre Cup year

Greg Biffle has replaced his crew chief Greg Erwin with Matt Puccia after finding on-track success increasingly hard to come by in the 2011 Sprint Cup season.
Roush Fenway Racing's Greg Biffle will have a new crew chief at this weekend's Cup race at Loudon, New Hampshire, the team announced today.

Greg Erwin has been crew chief on the #16 since 2007 and has worked successfully with Biffle to get into the all-important Chase over the past three seasons, claiming five wins, 36 top fives and 66 top tens along the way.

But this season has been a struggle for the team and Biffle is the only Roush Fenway driver without any Cup win so far this year, his last visit to victory lane coming in last year's Kansas Chase outing. Biffle is currently 14th in the Cup championship points, and the lack of wins means that he can't even look to the newly introduced wildcard to help him make the cut over the remaining eight races of the regular season.

Team mate David Ragan's maiden win last week at Daytona may have increased the pressure, and with sponsorship money increasingly tight following Crown Royal's decision to pull its backing of Matt Kenseth and the ongoing uncertainty about Carl Edwards' contract negotiations and the position of his own backers, the need for Biffle and his team to perform has never been higher.

Biffle has been known to dress down his pit crew over the team radio during the race when things don't go smoothly and even accusing them of incompetency and "ruining his career" although not to anything like the degree of Kurt Busch's meltdown rant against his Penske team at Richmond in May that resulted in the exit of Tom German and a rapid rise in team fortunes. But it's not clear whether the final decision to make a change in the #16's crew was at Biffle's instigation, that of team owner Jack Roush, or whether Erwin himself had simply had enough.

Erwin is to be replaced as crew chief for the #16 by Matt Puccia, who has been Roush Fenway since 2004, most recently in the research and development program having previously been Paul Menard's crew chief for the #10 Nationwide operation. That car claimed 19 top ten finished and finished fifth in the 2010 Nationwide points standings.

He has also been crew chief in the Camping World Truck Series for Roush Fenway, first for the #50 and subsequently for the #99 driven by Erik Darnell who finished fourth in the 2008 Truck championship, claiming a win at Michigan in the process. Before joining Roush, Puccia also had stints with Yates Racing's Nationwide team and Ultra Motorsport's Truck team.

"Matt Puccia has been a very effective and successful crew chief with the organization in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series," said the team's owner, Jack Roush. "Most recently he has led the research and development efforts for our superspeedway program which helped put David Ragan in Victory Lane in Daytona. This is a natural progression of our crew chief development and I have every confidence that he will do well in this new role."

Greg Biffle welcomes the change, which he hoped would reinvigorate the #16's Cup campaign. "I am excited for the opportunity to work with Matt Puccia," he said. "Greg Erwin led this team to the Chase the past three years and I look forward to Matt doing the same."

Erwin will be redeployed within the Roush Fenway organisation, but no announcement about role he might take up has been made at this time.

"Greg Erwin has made a significant contribution to our engineering efforts and our program is better because of him," commented Roush.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Roush Fenway crew chief Greg Erwin [Picture credit: Getty Images for NASCAR]
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Hisense Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on April 24, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Hisense Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on April 24, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing) and David Ragan (Joe Gibbs Racing) spin out during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Comcast Business Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, poses in victory lane with his crew chief Greg Erwin after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive To Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 18, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Comcast Business Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet SS, qualifies for ninth position Friday, April 17, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Menard is 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 AXE Chevrolet, goes through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 10, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, goes through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 10, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident in front of Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, as Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, drives away during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.