The NASCAR notebook …
CHARLOTTE ó Rick Ware Racing terminated Jeffrey Earnhardtís contract Tuesday, alleging the 21-year-old driver has been talking to other teams about a new ride.
Team owner Rick Ware also alleged that Earnhardt, the grandson of the late seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt, is trying to entice the teamís sponsor to leave with him.
ěWe have been informed by several team owners that our driver and his management company has been shopping around for another team, alluding that sponsorship was coming with them,î Ware said in a statement.
ěIt is disheartening that all the effort, time and money spent on Jeffrey have been for nothing, but we have been given no choice but to look for another driver.î
Earnhardt was scheduled to drive the entire Truck Series schedule for Ware this season. Heís 10th in the series standings through three races, with a best finish of seventh at Daytona.
Earnhardt later issued his own statement, claiming he only began looking for a new job after sponsor Fuel Doctor told Ware it is looking at other options.
ěThe facts support that we did reach out to other race teams after the sponsor notified Rick Ware and my group that they were pursuing alternative marketing venues and after we were contacted by Rick Ware informing us that he would be unable to support me without the sponsorís funding,î Earnhardt said.
ěTo suggest anything other than these facts does not reflect the truth and is unfair to the fans and us.î
CONCORD ó Greg Biffle said Tuesday he’s close to signing an extension with Roush Fenway Racing, and would be surprised if teammate Carl Edwards does not do the same.
“We’re getting really close, I would say it will be done in the next couple of weeks,” Biffle said during an event with Roush teammates Matt Kenseth, David Ragan and NHRA driver John Force at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s zMAX Dragway.
Biffle said he’s not had an overwhelming interest to test the free-agent market, in part because of the economy, but also because of how far Roush Fenway Racing has come from this time last year.
The entire organization struggled through the first few months of last season, then turned it on in the second half of the year. Biffle won two races and finished sixth in the final Sprint Cup standings, while Edwards won the final two races of last year and finished fourth in points.
A rough start to this season had Biffle ranked 31st in the standings two weeks ago, but two strong finishes have moved him 11 spots to 20th.
“The way the business is today, and teams are really having to cut back, and sponsors are cutting their programs back … I really didn’t feel like it was a great market to go out and shop around,” Biffle said. “The fact of the matter is, we have pretty good equipment right now. I’ve been there 13 years, hopefully I’ve got a tiny bit of seniority.”
Meanwhile, he believes Edwards will have the same approach.
Edwards won the third race of the season, at Las Vegas, and is currently leading the Sprint Cup standings.
“My hunch is yes, because the way our program is running right now,” Biffle said when asked if he believed Edwards would sign a contract extension.