Biffle downplays talk of feud with Edwards

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Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards have apparently toned down their post-race rhetoric against each other following Biffle’s win Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

“We’re going to sit down and talk about it, just expectations, what can you do to help another competitor,” Biffle said during NASCAR’s weekly media teleconference call on Tuesday. “I’ve backed up to Carl before. He’s done the same for me.”

The Roush Fenway Racing teammates raised eyebrows within the organization and among fans when Edwards criticized Biffle, who had a dominating lead at that point with a three-second lead, for not slowing down to allow Edwards to close in on the rear of Biffle’s car to jar loose paper debris that was caught in the grill of Edwards’ Ford and was causing it to overheat.

“He ain’t our teammate,” Edwards bitterly said over his team radio after Biffle refused to fall back.

Biffle refused to slow down because Jimmie Johnson was closing in on him at the time and did not want to lose the lead to the five-time Sprint Cup champ.

When asked about Edwards’ comment afterward, Biffle replied, “It’s his (Edwards) job to help me.”

Biffle ultimately won for the fourth time at MIS, while Edwards fell from starting the race on the pole to finishing eighth.

According to several media reports, the two teammates discussed Sunday’s incident briefly during Monday’s weekly RFR organizational meeting and debriefing. They are expected to talk further on more of a one-on-one basis later this week, perhaps at Sonoma Raceway prior to this weekend’s race there.

“He was looking for every way we could work together as a team,” Biffle said Edwards told him during their brief talk on Monday.

Talk of a feud between the two drivers heated up after their verbal exchange at Michigan, but Biffle said Tuesday that their respective comments came in the heat of the moment and were taken out of context.

“We all have different reactions when we’re in the car or when we just get out of the car and our finish or result isn’t what we wanted because of a certain situation,” Biffle said. “I’ve done the same thing. In fact, there was something that I’ve been quoted saying as well that isn’t what I meant, but it’s what I said at the time.

“But I understand. I’ve been there. And sometimes things get taken out of context of what you actually meant and what you said. I understand that part of it.”

Biffle said Tuesday that he would have helped Edwards if he could, but there was too much to risk with Johnson hot on his tail.

“We want to work together at all costs, but we have to be reasonable about asking one another to do,” Biffle said. “When I got the message that Carl had paper on his grille — which I had paper on my grille too — I was looking for somebody as well. He was a long way behind us before we got the message to us and just didn’t feel that it was close enough to help him.”

Biffle isn’t the first Roush Fenway Racing teammate that Edwards has had a run-in with. He had several exchanges with now former teammate Matt Kenseth, including a near-fight between the two following a race in 2007.

WATCH: Red Bull GRC opener at Memphis, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on NBC

Photo: Louis Yio/Red Bull Content Pool
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Red Bull Global Rallycross kicks its 2017 season off with its first tip to Memphis, on a 1.18-mile “roval” course this weekend.

Coverage airs Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on NBC for the high-intensity rallycross championship. Toby Moody, Anders Krohn and Will Christien have the call.

Scott Speed looks to open his 2017 season strong in pursuit of his third straight championship with Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, but teammate Tanner Foust and strong factory efforts from Honda and Subaru are poised to upset him and the VW Andretti team.

Besides the Supercars, GRC Lites also open their 2017 season at Memphis. That coverage airs on Tuesday, May 2, at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

IndyCar Paddock Pass: Phoenix (VIDEO)

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – The NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass is back for NBCSN’s third Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season, the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix (tonight, 9 p.m. ET, NBCSN) from Phoenix International Raceway.

NBCSN IndyCar and Indy Lights reporter and IndyCar’s “Up to Speed” host Katie Hargitt fills in for Anders Krohn this weekend. She checks in with the following drivers in this weekend’s episode:

  • With Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, who won at Barber.
  • With JR Hildebrand, driver of the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, back this week after missing Barber.
  • And with Zach Veach, who deputized for Hildebrand at Barber and is here this weekend in his IndyCar Radio role as a pit reporter, and preparing for the Indianapolis 500 with AJ Foyt Racing.

You can see the episode above. Past IndyCar Paddock Pass episodes are below:


Hamilton confused by lack of pace in Russia F1 qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton was left confused and disappointed after finishing half a second behind pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel in Formula 1 qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Hamilton arrived in Russia looking to cut the gap to Ferrari driver Vettel in the championship standings after falling seven points behind last time out in Bahrain.

Vettel rallied to take his first pole since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday in Sochi, while Hamilton finished half a second back in fourth place, lagging behind Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton has long stated his desire to have Ferrari fighting with Mercedes at the front of the pace, but he was disappointed not to be able to fight Vettel for pole in Russia.

“This means we have a real race. It’s just a shame today, I definitely wasn’t at my optimum,” Hamilton told NBCSN after the session.

“Normally I’m a lot quicker than I was today. I need to go and work out why and if I can do anything.

“Obviously I can’t change the car, so I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.”

Speaking in Mercedes’ post-qualifying release, Hamilton said that he is hopeful of making use of the long straights at the Sochi Autodrom to catch and pass the Ferrari driver, with Mercedes bidding to maintain a 100 per cent record at the track.

“Sochi isn’t the easiest track to follow on, but there are long straights which should offer the opportunity to move forward. That’s our goal,” Hamilton said.

“I’m on the dirty side of the grid so I haven’t done myself any favours off the start. But that was the best job I could do today. We’ve got a real race to look forward to.

“There’s no point being upset. We’ll channel our positive energy and hopefully Sunday will be better.”

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.

Q3 traffic costs Raikkonen shot at first F1 pole in nine years

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Kimi Raikkonen was left lamenting traffic at the start of his final qualifying run in Sochi after narrowly missing out on his first Formula 1 pole in almost nine years.

Raikkonen last started a grand prix from pole in France back in 2008, but sat on provisional pole after the first Q3 runs had been completed in Russia on Saturday.

The final laps saw Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel improve to wrestle pole away, with a mistake sending Raikkonen wide at the final corner, meaning he was unable to improve.

Raikkonen was left to settle for second place, 0.059 seconds off Vettel’s time, with the Finn saying his inability to get his tires up to temperature early was the main issue.

“Obviously the aim is to be in the front. The feeling has been more better this weekend,” Raikkonen explained.

“Now we just got some traffic on our out lap in the last set and couldn’t really make the tires work as well as the first run. It was a bit more trickier. They were thereabouts and I just about got it back in the last corner, but obviously didn’t pay off.

“I’m happier than previous qualifyings, but obviously we had all the tools to be in the front today. One-two for the team is not bad.”

While Raikkonen was unable to take pole, Ferrari did capture its first front-row lock-out since the race at Magny-Cours in 2008. Raikkonen took pole that day ahead of teammate Felipe Massa, with the latter going on to win the race.

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.