Report: Longtime engineer Chip Bolin out at Roush Fenway Racing


In what some may consider a big surprise – or perhaps a sign of several more departures to come – long time engineer Chip Bolin has been released by Roush Fenway Racing.

According to, the departure of Bolin, 40, from RFR was confirmed Thursday by the company.

Bolin’s departure could be a signal that an even greater shakeup may be brewing, particularly involving drivers Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle, who are both in the final year of their respective contracts with RFR.

Bolin had been with RFR for 16 years, coming to the organization in 1998 after serving an internship with Andy Petree Racing. He joined the company at about the same time as Bob Osborne, who eventually went on to be Edwards’ crew chief.

Together, Bolin and Osborne formed what would become the engineering department for what was then Roush Racing.

Although he was involved with most Roush teams at one point or other in his career, Bolin is known most for his time with Matt Kenseth’s team, first as team engineer beginning in 1999.

Kenseth won the final Winston Cup championship in 2003 with Robbie Reiser as crew chief and Bolin as chief engineer.

In 2007, Bolin became Kenseth’s crew chief when now-RFR general manager Reiser was promoted into the team’s front office.

Although Ford has won four of the first 11 Sprint Cup races this season, three of those wins have come from rival Team Penske. Edwards is the only driver of the three Sprint Cup pilots at RFR to have won a race this season, having done so at Bristol in March.

Edwards is currently ranked fifth in the Sprint Cup standings, while Biffle is ninth. Both drivers are in the final year of their current contracts with RFR.

Biffle has stated several times that he plans on returning to the RFR camp, but there’s still some uncertainty that will happen.

As for Edwards, he is not saying one way or other whether he’ll come back to RFR or not. Whether Edwards stays or leaves could have a major impact upon whether Biffle also stays or goes – and if he does go, will his options be limited if Edwards also exits the organization at season’s end.

The third RFR driver in the Sprint Cup Series, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., is currently ranked 25th and has just one top-five finish this season.

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‘Game-changing’ multi-year agreement will take INDYCAR, NBC Sports ‘to the next level’


NEW YORK – As the fourth Nor’easter in three weeks bore down on the Big Apple, it was tough to spot people that were clearly in a good mood.

But Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, was clearly in a good mood.

On Wednesday morning at 10 am ET, we all found out why: NBC will become the exclusive home of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, starting in 2019.

The new three-year deal not only makes “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” part of the network’s “Championship Season” – its collection of high-profile championship events from May to July – but also reaffirms NBC’s status as the home of motorsports television in the United States.

That status is something Miller doesn’t take for granted.

“It’s important people know that storytelling is in our DNA, and motorsports lends itself very well to storytelling,” Miller said as he, INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles and driver James Hinchcliffe made a snowy trek to the New York Stock Exchange to promote the deal on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“We’ve had great success with the second half of the entire NASCAR season, and then we’ve had half of the IndyCar package [since 2009] … But we never had the real meat of the series and that didn’t set anybody up for success.

“Having the entire package of IndyCar now – all 17 races, qualifying, practice, you name it – really sets IndyCar on a strong path and solidifies NBC’s position as the home of motorsports. I think it becomes a property much like the Premier League, the NHL, and even the Olympics and the Triple Crown. We have 100 percent of the media opportunity and we can put all those great assets behind it.”

With the storm no doubt keeping some traders home, the floor of the NYSE was relatively subdued. But that made it no less important to be at the heart of Wall Street. Miles and his team are pursuing a new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series to replace Verizon, which will fully focus its efforts in the series with the powerhouse Team Penske going forward in 2019.

The new deal – which includes 8 races per year on the NBC network (with the remaining races going to NBCSN), live streaming of all races, and a direct-to-consumer package with NBC Sports Gold – gave Miles plenty to push for any potential backers. As for Hinchcliffe, he held his own nicely in an interview that also explored IndyCar’s global ambitions, the impact of technology on the sport, and of course, his spin around the ballroom on “Dancing with the Stars.”

On the ride back to 30 Rock, Miles was confident that NBC can play a big role in attracting a sponsor that can help the series keep growing.

“With respect to our work in finding the best title sponsor, it’s really important – and this has not been talked about much – but we expect to work with hand in glove with NBC’s sales,” he explained. “We have the opportunity to create packages which are both broadcast sponsorship and series sponsorship, I think, in a way that doesn’t come along very often.

“Usually, the media deal and the sponsorship deal doesn’t align like this, so we’re really excited about the offering we’ll have and the approach to the market we can take.”

Should the partnership with NBC bear fruit on that front and others, it will only add to the upswing that the IndyCar Series has had in recent years.

Hinchcliffe has been a witness to that. He entered the series in 2011, when it was trying to find its footing after the sport’s reunification three years earlier. After 13 years of CART vs. the Indy Racing League, getting everything back under one roof was not a smooth process.

But fast-forward seven years, and things have changed for the better. TV ratings and digital viewers have gone up. Race scheduling has become more stable and enhanced with the return of traditional open-wheel markets. And this year’s debut of the universal aero kit aims to pump up the action on the track, while also giving the cars a cleaner, meaner look.

Now, with NBC all in, Hinchcliffe is bullish on his sport’s future.

“This is a game-changing thing for us,” he declared. “If you look at the last four or five years, we’ve seen a steady growth in pretty much every measureable metric that there is – in a time where, globally, motorsports is in a bit of a downturn.

“The fact that IndyCar was able to rally against a global dip in motorsports interest, attendance, sponsorship – it speaks volumes to what we have been doing and this is just gonna take us to that next level.”