- David Newton, ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carl Edwards understood when Greg Biffle wouldn't give up a big lead to help clean paper off his grille with about 40 laps remaining in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.
Edwards' issue with his Roush Fenway Racing teammate came around Lap 70 when he wanted Biffle to drop about six car lengths to help with the same issue that was causing an overheating problem with them racing for sixth or seventh.
"I want us to be the best teammates we can be," Edwards told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "I never want somebody to give up a shot at winning a race. ... My hope is he never heard the communication on Lap 70."
Biffle told ESPN.com he didn't recall getting a message from his spotter or crew chief on Lap 70 and totally understood Edwards' frustration if there was a miscommunication.
"I can see where he'd be upset under those circumstances,'' said Biffle, who went on to win the race. "All I can say is I'll help Carl absolutely anytime I can. We go out of our way to help each other. It's a team sport. None us do it all on our own."
Edwards admitted he was frustrated the first time his spotter asked the No. 16 team for help. He said over his team radio, "He ain't my teammate," when told Biffle wouldn't come back.
After the race, when a reporter asked if Biffle should have helped and he responded with, "It's his job to help," Edwards thought it was in reference to the first request.
Edwards had no major issue with the second request as Biffle led by 20 to 25 car lengths.
"That one I understood,'' Edwards said. "It was toward the end of the race and it was for the lead. And frankly, our car was pretty fast. That was probably wishful thinking [he would drop back]."
The two discussed the situation briefly during Monday's team debriefing call, and even then Biffle was unclear they were talking about two different situations.
They plan to meet on Friday at Sonoma to clear up any miscommunication there might have been so that it makes all RFR teams stronger moving forward.
"We need to work together," Biffle said. "I understand he's upset. I clearly see why he would be under those circumstances. I can't really tell you what happened. There are so many circumstances around each situation.
"We may have been talking chassis setup or pit strategy, and I didn't get the message."
Biffle said it "absolutely" is his job to help Edwards or any teammate earlier in the race in the situation Edwards described. He said it's important for not only him and Edwards to meet at Sonoma to clarify, but all the drivers, crew chiefs and spotters.
"We have a mutual agreement and unwritten agreement that we work together 100 percent," Biffle said.
Edwards reminded Biffle helped keep him in the championship hunt two years ago at Talladega, hanging with his teammate in the back much of the day and then pushing him to an 11th-place finish.
Edwards eventually lost the title in a tiebreaker with Tony Stewart.
"He stuck with me at Talladega more than I would ever expect any driver to stick with me," Edwards said. "I was indebted to Greg for that and everything he does for our team."
Neither Edwards nor Biffle want what happened on Sunday to be a distraction to their championship hopes this season. Edwards is second in points, 31 behind Jimmie Johnson. Biffle is eighth.
"All of us need to take advantage of this opportunity and talk about it right now so we're all on the same page, which we really are," Biffle said.
Biffle acknowledged after the race what Edwards said about him not being a teammate was more of a heat-of-battle type thing. He said it was not much different than him saying, "I love it when the 48 [car] crashes trying to catch us," when five-time champion Jimmie Johnson blew a tire and hit the wall with three laps to go.
Biffle admitted after the race he should have said when Johnson "makes a mistake," making it clear he doesn't want to see anybody crash.
"A poor choice of words on my part," Biffle said. "I texted Jimmie on the way home and said, 'Listen, let's have a conversation.' He said, 'Dude I totally get it. I understand what you're saying, what you meant. We all understand.'"
Biffle and Edwards hope they come to a better understanding of their situation on Friday.
"All we have to do is have one more meeting so we all understand what the expectations are," Edwards said. "And second, so we can make our lines of communications better so we're not out there pissed off at each other when we shouldn't be, when it might be a miscommunication.
"We just want to make our team stronger, all of us."
Carl Edwards understood when Greg Biffle wouldn't give up a big lead with about 40 laps remaining in Sunday's Sprint Cup race. Edwards' issue with his Roush Fenway Racing teammate came around lap 70.