Tryson: 'Roush better get some stuff together'
Pat Tryson doesn't know where he'll work next, but he hasn't rule out a reunion with driver Greg Biffle.
Fired as Biffle's crew chief at Roush Fenway Racing this week, Tryson said on Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway that he's been contacted about a job from officials at Dale Earnhardt Inc.
He also said that Biffle has had ongoing conversations with DEI even before Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he was leaving the organization that his father built.
"I know if they want to keep Greg Biffle, [Roush] better get some stuff together," Tryson said during practice for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. "I don't think Greg's shopping himself. I also don't believe he's going to rush to sign."
Biffle, whose contract with Roush Fenway runs through 2008, said he hasn't spoken with anybody from DEI directly. He also didn't rule out that the organization has spoken to one of his representatives.
He added that he remains active in renegotiating an extension with Roush and that he believes it will get done.
At the same time, Earnhardt Jr. insisted until the day he announced his split with DEI that a deal would get done there. And Biffle wouldn't be the first person to get out of a Roush contract a year early.
Kurt Busch left a year after the 2005 season to join Penske Racing.
Asked if he could be reunited with Tryson, Biffle said, "You never know. But I've got to be a team player." Biffle was referring to Roush's decision to dismiss Tryson against his will.
"I don't have a problem with Pat at all," Biffle said. "I didn't want the change. But in order to have the support of the company and to better my opportunities in my career and going forward, this is what needed to be done."
Biffle added that Roush wanted to make the change four or five races into the season, noting Tryson resisted making changes to the pit crew that Roush felt were needed.
"The moral of this story was the team wasn't being operated the way Jack wanted it operated," he said.
Tryson said the same things that forced him out eventually could force Biffle. One of those was a difference in philosophy on testing.
"You've got to do more testing than what [Roush has] been doing," said Tryson, who said he's had contact from Ginn Racing and other teams as well as DEI.
Roush admitted that Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing are ahead in their Car of Tomorrow programs because they did more testing at tracks outside of NASCAR's control with tires purchased from other companies.
"I got behind on that," he said. "But two weeks ago I hired six people and I dedicated a tractor-trailer and I've gone public and said, 'OK, I'm going to get in the testing game, too."
Tryson said he and others at Roush asked for a test team a long time ago.
"He can say that now, but he's the person that kept us from having a test team," he said of Roush.
Tryson said one of the reasons he became expendable was because Roush has become focused on building around engineers, not crew chiefs and engineers.
Greg Erwin, Biffle's new crew chief beginning next week at Dover, has an engineering degree from Clemson University. "Most of us believe you've got to have both," Tryson said. "You've got to have the racer and engineer working well together and the crew chief. That's what we had last year with Mark [Martin]. Everybody worked real well together. This year we didn't have that for whatever reason."
Tryson and Martin made the Chase for the Nextel Cup each of the past three years. He was paired with Biffle, 16th in points heading into Sunday, with the hopes of putting that team in the Chase again. Now he's on the open market, which he actually wanted after last season. "I wasn't allowed to leave," said Tryson, who was under contract for 2007. "It's been kind of a strange year. A lot of things are going on that I need to keep private, but we'll see what happens."