On Thursday, Jack Roush said that his driver line-up for 2013 at Roush Fenway Racing is a “dream team”. So will Roush Fenway Racing have a dream season?
There are five drivers in the Roush Fenway stable this season. Sprint Cup drivers include Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Trevor Bayne and, new addition, Travis Pastrana will run for the Nationwide title in 2013.
Roush Fenway Racing has had top notch drivers over the years, including Matt Kenseth who is now driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, and knows success. But Roush Fenway’s last championship came in 2004 with Kurt Busch piloting the No. 97. Carl Edwards also tied for the championship with Tony Stewart in 2011, only to lose to Stewart due to a tiebreaker based on wins. But will 2013 be Roush Fenway Racing’s year for championships with the “dream team”?
Let’s take a look.
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 in Sprint Cup, has gotten as close as you possibly can without winning a championship, only to lose the championship tie-breaker to Tony Stewart in 2011. Edwards knows how to win races, having 19 career wins, but what he does best is being consistent. That is how he got so close in 2011 when he only won one race.
Edwards has proven that consistency can keep you in contention for a Sprint Cup championship, but watching Stewart beat Carl Edwards for a championship, it’s clear Edwards’ team needs to battle for more wins to reach the team’s ultimate goal.
Jimmy Fennig, Matt Kenseth’s crew chief in 2012, will sit a top the pit box for Edwards in 2013. Through testing at Daytona and Charlotte, the two seem to already be clicking and excited to work together for the first time in 2013.
Carl Edwards has the ingredients to win a championship and a top-notch crew chief leading his team. For Edwards to win a championship he needs to win a few more races this year along with his consistency. A Sprint Cup championship is something in reach and he has some of the best equipment at Roush Fenway Racing to help his team get there.
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16, has proven he is a great driver. Biffle is also one of the most consisitant drivers in the Sprint Cup series. He led the Sprint Cup standings for 15 races in 2012. He was at the top of the sport during the regular season.
What Biffle needs to improve on going forward is staying competitive for the last 10 races of the season during the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Greg Biffle will have the same team around him as last year and 2013 will be about repeating what they did during the regular season in 2012 and improving in the Chase.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be starting his Sprint Cup rookie season. Stenhouse is coming off back-to-back Nationwide series championships for RFR. From a driver who almost lost his ride to a Nationwide champion, Stenhouse has made huge improvements behind the wheel of a race car over the last few years. He will focus on gaining experience in the Sprint Cup series and going for wins in 2013. A realistic goal for the No. 17 team is to battle for a spot in the Chase and content for a few wins.
The two Nationwide drivers for RFR will both make their first full season starts in 2013. Drivers include Trevor Bayne and Travis Pastrana.
Travis Pastrana comes from a unique background. Pastrana is know for trying wild stunts at the X Games in motocross and racing in rally cross, very different sports from that of NASCAR. This is a new era for Pastrana but he is committed to being successful at this new sport. That is the first step that will lead to success for Pastrana.
Travis Patrana had nine starts in the Nationwide series last season. He had a best finish of 13th at Indianapolis and an average finish of 21.4. Patrana certainly has a lot to learn about stock cars and the sport of NASCAR. He will be focused on gaining experience in a stock car and learning what a fast car feels like. Look for Pastrana to challenge for top tens and fifteens this season. Getting a win or two for Pastrana seems more like icing on the cake. This season will be more about getting his feet wet.
As for Trevor Bayne, expect him to challenge for the Nationwide championship. Bayne has already proven to have talent behind the wheel. He is most known for his famous win at the Daytona 500 in 2011. He drove the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford to victory in his first Daytona start, a first in the sport’s history. Bayne also has one win the the Nationwide series while racing on a limited schedule. That win came in 2011 also.
2013 will be Bayne’s first full season in any of NASCAR’s top series but expect him to be a top contender for the championship. Trevor Bayne will be the premier Nationwide driver for Roush Fenway Racing, and with his talent and the backing of great equipment, Bayne will win races in 2013. RFR may win three Nationwide titles in row as Bayne takes over for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. this season.
So Jack Roush’s “dream team” could have dream seasons, some better than others. Roush Fenway Racing has three drivers that can seriously contend for championships in NASCAR. Trevor Bayne can win Jack Roush his third Nationwide title in three years. Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle have the talent to win a Sprint Cup championship. Ricky Stenhouse and Travis Pastrana are two drivers that are more of an unknown in 2013 but both could have positive moments.
This “dream team” is one of the best in NASCAR and the potential for a dream season for RFR is possible. The ingredients are there, now teams have to perform.