Roush Fenway Racing In Jeopardy for 2015


Mar 14, 2014; Bristol, TN, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner Jack Roush during practice for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Roush will have his hands full in 2015.  With the announcement of Carl Edwards’ departure from Roush earlier this season, the “Cat in the Hat” has a bare cabinet, left only with rookies and one seasoned veteran.  Greg Biffle may be the only hope for the stable to bring home their first Sprint Cup Championship since 2004.

At one time, Roush had some of the biggest names on track, boasting the likes of Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenneth, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, and even Jamie McMurray.  What happened?  The 2015 roster will have a starting line-up of Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Greg Biffle.  Anyone else notice a huge difference?

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

So far, I have not been impressed with Stenhouse Jr.  He was overly hyped coming into the program as the next generation and to date has no wins, eight top 10s, and no Chase berths over two seasons.  His hype however was not unwarranted.  After all, he did win back to back Nationwide Series Championships in 2011 and 2012.  The jury is still out on the longevity of Stenhouse Jr. in Sprint Cup.

Trevor Bayne

Trevor Bayne authored a fairytale win by capturing the 2011 Daytona 500.  Becoming the youngest winner of the Daytona 500 is by no means something that should go unnoticed.  But, is it possible that Bayne struck gold on a restrictor plate track which has been notorious for delivering uncharacteristic winners?  Let’s face it, this past weekend at Talladega was no different.  Landon Casill, Travis Kvapil, and Casey Mears all finished in the top 10.  No knock on these drivers, but with “the big one”, drafting strategies, and countless other variables that weigh heavier at restrictor plate tracks, I do not think it is outside the realm of possibility that Bayne’s win was a result of the survival of the fittest.  I get it; he hasn’t had a chance to get a full season under his belt in the Sprint Cup.  Missing the starting grid at Charlotte earlier in October was not a good start.

Greg Biffle

Then there is the “Biff”, the leader of the pack for Roush Fenway in 2015.  After failing to make the Chase in 2014, Biffle will surely be looking to step up his game in 2015.  His resume speaks volumes in NASCAR.  Since 2004 with the launch of the Chase, Biffle has made the field six different times with his best finish coming in 2005 at 2nd.  He can still wheel a car with the best of them, but with no wins so far in 2014 and only oen trophy in 2013, one must ask if this is the driver Roush needs to spearhead his organization.

My Take

Every team goes through peaks and valleys.  Drivers retire or change paths.  It is important to have a back-up plan and in this case, driver development with talent bursting at the seams.  Drivers like Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson, and other up and comers that are consistently competing week in and week out is something that Roush has not had in 2014.  That is, with one exception, Carl Edwards, who has Roush’s only two wins this season.  Roush’s “Gong Show” developmental program is giving his organization all of the options needed to progress, but it is surprising to me that this is the best product he has to offer in 2015.  Maybe Mark Martin being announced as a driver developmental coach will be a good start for renovation.

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