What’s wrong with Roush Fenway Racing?
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images
Roush Fenway Racing drivers address the media during the NASCAR Media Week in Charlotte,
North Carolina in January.
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
For Roush Fenway Racing, 2015 has been a season filled with mediocrity. What is next for the team that went from having multiple drivers qualify for the Chase every season since its inception to very likely none this season?
The departure of Carl Edwards absolutely has impacted this team, and at this point one can assume only negatively.
Trevor Bayne, who filled the void Edwards left, is in his first full-time season with RFR. He sits 27th in driver standings with only two top-ten finishes thus far in 2015.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was once considered a top prospect of the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In 2012, he came away with six wins and a championship. Now in year three of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career, he finds himself 28th in points with an average finish at a less-than-stellar 26th this season.
When Edwards departed, Roush looked towards veteran Greg Biffle to lead the trio of Ford’s to good results and weekly contention, but the points standings and average finishes show neither.
Photo by Benjamin Palmer/TheRacingExperts.com
Trevor Bayne (right) turns laps during the CampingWorld.com 500 at
Phoenix International Raceway in March.
Biffle is having one of his worst seasons in his 12-year Sprint Cup career. He sits 18th in points, the best among the RFR camp. He has also gone winless since Michigan in June of 2013, 81 races.
“We're dying a slow death,” Biffle said in March after a race at Auto Club Speedway. “We need to start showing up for the weekend closer to where we need to be.”
At Talladega Superspeedway in May, Biffle told FOXSports.com the changes made within the organization and how they were building cars was not leading to the results they anticipated.
Meanwhile, at the RFR Xfinity camp, all four drivers sit inside the top-ten in points. Chris Buescher sits atop the standings two-thirds through the season. Buescher and Ryan Reed have combined for three wins in the series.
So how exactly can one division of a team outperform another division so decisively? And what can be done to ensure all divisions are competing at the same level?
While Trevor Bayne may not entirely be at fault for dismal results, something behind-the-wheel has to change, and with Biffle’s retirement eminent, and Ricky’s potential given his Xfinity triumphs, Bayne seems to be odd man out.
Couple his poor results with Chris Buescher potentially winning the Xfinity championship and you have an even stronger argument for Bayne to potentially be replaced.
Change Make Affiliations
With Ford behind Team Penske as well as RFR, it seems like RFR is just an afterthought. Is the backing that Ford gives Penske on par with RFR? With Furniture Row looking to make the switch after Chevrolet wasn’t giving them enough attention, could RFR be in the same boat? A team with potential to give results yet currently overlooked?
After the 2014 season that saw underwhelming results, RFR changed the way it built its cars and restructured their personnel. The team focused on computer simulations to boost its performance, but the increase in innovate technology still hasn’t sparked the results expected.
So now the lack of results may lie within the brains and not the hardware inside of RFR. Would new personnel better the team or do current personnel need more time to work with the technology provided?
One thing is for certain, and that is good results for this team have typically come at ease. Now, the trio of Sprint Cup cars for RFR have trouble staying with the lead pack.