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.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.