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]
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, beats Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, to the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Toyota, leads Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered and yellow flags to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 under caution at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, pose with the Daytona 500 Pole Award and Front Row Award after qualifying for the pole position and front row for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Beer Chevrolet, Brian Vickers, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, talks to Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, on the grid during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via 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 - 2016 Crash Media Group

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