One has to stop and contemplate how one of the big-four-car teams in NASCAR not too long ago has been passed by on the success meter by a two car team from Penske Racing; Roush Fenway Racing – how the mighty have fallen from grace. The NASCAR Roush team used to trot out a lineup 36 weeks a year that was the envy of NASCAR. Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray.
Out of this stable of drivers he was delivered championships from Kenseth and Busch. There were race wins frequently. RFR was dominant on all track configurations except the two road courses. There was a line up of high level sponsors from DeWalt, Sharpie, Crown Royal, Valvoline, Viagra, Irwin Tools, AAA, Office Depot and 3M. I understand that there was a recession, and that was a contributor to sponsor attrition, but to see the names that were associated with RFR is mind boggling and how they are no longer at Roush makes me scratch my head. DeWalt moved to Marcos Ambrose, Office Depot to Tony Stewart.
After the announcement that Edwards will not be a part of the RFR group next year and his replacement will be Trevor Bayne, it is sad to see where RFR has landed. Biffle will be the organizations premier driver. He will be 45 years of age by the time the 2015 season starts. Ricky Stenhouse Jr is battling his girlfriend Danica Patrick in the lower 20’s in the Sprint Cup standings and really hasn’t shown any flashes of talent in the Cup series. Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 in 2011 but he hasn’t been close to even the top 10 since then? Examining who in the last four or five years have won restrictor plate races; including David Ragan and Aric Almirola. Any driver that starts these races can win. A lot of factors are involved rather that racing skill. Bayne to date has one win, one top-five and three top-10’s in 54 races. That is not a real impressive resume.
RFR has just brought in Mark Martin as a driver coach and that should help, but make no bones about it the glory days of RFR are behind the organization and the happy days won’t return for a long time. The drivers are young, and have potential but they just are not showing it. They aren’t comparable to Austin Dillon or Kyle Larson.
If I was Jack Roush I would have given Edwards a bank check and said I want you to stay with the organization. Roush needed Edwards more than Edwards needed Roush. If rumours are true and Edwards end up at Joe Gibbs Racing, they will have four solid drivers in garages and will be more of a force next year.