Tag Archives: Ford Racing

Greg Biffle – We are Dying a Slow Death

All NASCAR fans know that Roush Fenway Racing did not do very well last year and started out this year more or less the same. Could it be worse than we know? Did Greg Biffle let out some frustration during qualifying at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California? We probably won’t know for sure but it does look that way.

Last year Greg Biffle made the Chase for the Sprint Cup on points and Carl Edwards made it via winning a race but mostly the flagship Roush Fenway Racing drivers were not a threat to win every week and perhaps any week especially at the 1.5 and 2 mile tracks they are known to be good at. The talk all last year is they know they are behind and will catch up. Well this year is another year and it is simply not looking good.

Carl Edwards bolted for seemingly greener pastures. The jury is out on that but it seems to get greener every week. Greg Biffle is left to be the elder statesmen of the Roush team so when he says “We are dying a slow death” it is troubling. To be fair here is the full quote.

It’s been a challenging year and a half for us and it’s no different this weekend than normal. All of our cars, I think our best car is 26th or 27th. So that’s just not acceptable for how good of a team we are and how hard everyone works back at the shop and our engines.” Biffle added, “We just got to figure this out. You Know we’re dying a slow death and we just got to work hard and figure out where the speeds at and get the cars trimmed out. Show up closer than we do for the weekend is the main thing we need to work on. Seems like we’re getting speed in. The very last run was our fast run but just not quite fast enough yet.

Greg’s statement only leads to many thoughts. The first and main thought is what happened to “One Ford”? Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, the Penske Racing team, seem to be making those Fords work. Richard Petty Motorsports driver, Aric Almirola driver of the famous no. 43 is 14th in points Sam Hornish Jr. driver of the No. 9 who is 24th in points get their chassis from RFR. It was hoped that Hornish’s connection to Penseke would provide a benefit.

Let’s let the Elephant into the room. Did Roush Fenway Racing do something to Penske Racing when they switched to Ford such that they will not ever help? Will there never truly be “One Ford?”

The season isn’t lost yet for Roush Fenway Racing but it doesn’t look good. Greg Biffle is 16th in points, Trevor Bayne 26th and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 27th but if they keep this up time will run out.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will lead the Charge for Roush Fenway Racing at Auto Club Speedway starting 27th. Greg Biffle will start behind him 29th and Trevor Bayne will start 36th. All of these starting position are bad. The only hope is that this is a 2 mile speedway with multiple groves and it is a long 400 mile race. They can get to the front if they can find some way to make their cars faster. Unfortunately their recent history suggests that will not happen.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Feature Photo Credit: 307241 Jeff Gross/NASCAR via Getty Images

Roush Fenway Racing Gets the Elephant Out of the Room

Last week, just before the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis—the second biggest race on the NASCAR schedule—Roush Fenway Racing announced its driver line up for 2015. Carl Edwards will not be a part of that driver line up, but Greg Biffle will be back. The other drivers will be Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne.

At the time and several days later the timing of the announcement was questioned. With a little over two hours before the race, it was a time when prerace appearances were starting and a time when prerace sponsors’ parties were starting. Not really an opportune time to announce a top driver leaving an organization, or was it?

Carl Edwards has won a race and will most likely be in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Greg Biffle has not won a race and he is not in the top 16 in points to make the Chase. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway’s third driver, is similarly out. They have been struggling as a three car team. If something doesn’t change, Edwards will not win the Championship and the others will have no way of making the Chase.

We can imagine that plans must be made so that the team not only succeeds this season, but next season as well. It can be imagined that at those parties in Indianapolis, people would be asking: what will happen next year?  When putting that context into it, it is surprising that Jack Roush didn’t make an announcement earlier.

Just this week another team made a similar early announcement in order to keep their program going in the right direction. It has been known for some time that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be losing his crew chief Steve Letarte at the end of the season. What has not been known is who would replace him, in this case Greg Ives. Dale Earnhardt Jr. summed it up best. ”I just didn’t want to have to sit there in limbo.  I don’t like being in limbo about nothing and having any kind of stuff up in the air.”

Those same thoughts had to be running around the whole team at Roush Fenway Racing.

The only hope Roush Fenway has for this season and making next season stronger was to usher the elephant out of the room and move on. This elephant was only going to get exponentially bigger each week until the race at Richmond. This is a distraction that is not good for race teams working hard to get better and win a Championship.

Now that elephant is on Joe Gibbs Racing’s back. Jack Roush is a pretty smart guy.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 300250 Elsa/Getty Images

 

Ford Celebrates the 50th. Anniversary of the Mustang

On Thursday, April 15th, 2014 Ford will celebrate 50 years of the Mustang. In honor of the occasion Edsel B. Ford II and NASCAR drivers Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, and David Ragan reflected on how a Ford Mustang came into their lives.

The story wouldn’t surprise anyone. What would the son of a Ford get for Christmas when he was 16? What else, a 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback.

My favorite Mustang memory, certainly like many others, is the day I got my first Mustang.“, said Ford.

Like the rest of us car buffs, Edsel’s dad Henry Ford II didn’t give him just any Mustang. His was customized. It had a special paint scheme in a pearlescent white finish with slim blue racing stripes over the top and the rocker panels.

It also had a functional hood scoop, chrome trip on the three grilles in the head lamp buckets, and fender-mounted rearview mirrors similar to the Mustangs sold in Europe. His father added one last special change, the rear fuel filler cap which normally had the pony logo on it had his initials “EBFII”.

The coolest part about Edsel’s special Mustang is that he drove it. It didn’t sit in a show room.

That car was special for sure.” Edsel added, “I drove it through high school and then one summer afternoon on Long Island I let a friend borrow it.  He was driving the car home, lost control and rolled it in a potato field near our house.  My beautiful Mustang was destroyed.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the car was totaled.

It is not surprising that some of the current Ford Racing NASCAR drivers have a Mustang or Mustang memory.

Greg Biffle bought a 2007 Mustang GT 500. Just like the rest of us he couldn’t just leave it the way he received it.

I bought it because I really wanted one bad.” Biffle added, “I started doing modifications to it. I changed the blower pulleys and did all sorts of stuff. I have had a ton of fun with it.

Ford Mustang’s run in Carl Edwards blood. He got his when he was 19. It was a 1985 Mustang GT with T-tops.

Edwards said, “We put a clutch in it. My dad and a guy named Bobby Williams and I worked on it and painted it and my buddy Ray Owen helped me work on it and he was a big Mustang guy.

The Ford Mustang has made quite a splash when it returned to racing in 2010 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. It isn’t surprising that some of the other drivers memories surround their success with the Mustang in that series.

Brad Keselowski said, “My favorite Mustang story is when the Nationwide Series went to the Mustang and we went to Michigan and the Mustangs were there and they were the first cars to have the decals on the side that made it look like the production car. That was really cool.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #6 Cargill/Sam's Club Ford Mustang, pits during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on October 20, 2012 Photo Credit: 274466 Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #6 Cargill/Sam’s Club Ford Mustang, pits during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on October 20, 2012 Photo Credit: 274466 Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR

The 2011 and 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion was won by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. driving a Ford Mustang.

When I was growing up though, my Dad, he builds engines for a living and a friend of his had a Mustang Mach 1.” Stenhouse Jr. added, “I was young, about seven or eight, so I don’t remember the exact year of the car. I believe it was a 1969 though. He took me for a ride in it one day and we got sideways. We were staring right at the back of a big truck and right at the last second he turned it and we spun around the other way and kept going. That was so much fun. I loved it. That was probably when I fell in love with Mustang.

Joey Logano got his first win for Roger Penske in a Ford Mustang but he doesn’t have one of his own yet.

Logano said, “I need to get a Mustang to add to my stable of cars for sure. I love the old Mustang Mach 1 series. Those cars are just iconic.

Somehow a Ford Mustang just draws a teenage boy. Aric Almirola is no exception.

Almirola said, “A memory that sticks out to me about Mustang is that I had a friend in high school that had a Cobra Mustang. I was driving a race car at the time in high school and he said he wanted to see what his car would do with a race car driver driving it. So my buddy in high school let me drive his Cobra and we put black marks around the street of our high school everywhere. I mean everywhere. That was a lot of fun.

David Ragan happens to be a lifelong Ford fan. It isn’t surprising that there were many Ford Mustangs in his life. Even those that weren’t as sexy or fast.

I grew up with my dad or uncle having some project Mustang cars around.” Ragan added, “We never really had new, fast Mustangs. They were always the mid-60’s. They really liked the mid-year cars.

In the last 50 years the Ford Mustang has touched just about everyone. What is your Mustang Memory? Please take a few minutes and tell us about it in the comment section.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit Ford Media

 

Ford Racing Drivers are Getting Fired Up for the Winter Olympics

It’s the last weekend without NASCAR racing before the start of a new racing season. The rest of the country is getting into the Winter Olympics. It is only natural for some of the NASCAR drivers to as well while bidding their time waiting for the racing to begin at Daytona International Speedway. Some of the Ford Racing drivers are really into it.

It only makes sense that of all the Winter Olympic events that NASCAR drivers would get into, it would be bobsledding. This event is one of the fastest and other than not having wheels, most resembles racing. Besides who can argue about an event that has Sleds that have been influenced by NASCAR legend Geoff Bodine.

The Ford Racing drivers of Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Carl Edwards were asked how they would construct a Bobsled team to take on the Olympics four-man bobsled event.

Here is Greg Biffle‘s team – “So I would go with Kyle Larson as the front guy cause we need someone that is small. I will put Ricky with me in the middle and I know for sure I want Carl in the back of that thing. Kyle is the smallest and lightest and I don’t know if he is fast on his feet but that kid can drive. Kasey Kahne might be a good pick too. He has the right body type to be that first guy. We have to have Carl because you want someone that is strong to give you that power, so I have to go with Carl. I will go with Ricky because I want medium-sized guys in the middle with me. I don’t want a big guy with me in the middle. I think that team would have a shot at a gold medal. I just sure as heck don’t want to wreck.

Greg has put together a strong team but I am wondering about the cross manufacture look about it. I guess this is the Olympics and it is an American team representing America so we will have to give Greg a pass on this.

Joey Logano has a similar multi manufacture approach. – “For sure Carl is going in the back. I want him back there pushing that thing for as long as possible. I think I need Jimmie Johnson in there. I think we need a heavy guy, so let me take Tony Stewart too. That is three, and then including myself, there we have our four-man team. I want to be the driver though. I don’t trust anyone else to drive for me either, so that is perfect.

Joey appears to be onto the Carl Edwards band wagon but I don’t know what Stewart will think. Can’t disagree with the comment about driving but I bet the other three back seat drivers might.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is on board as well. –  “I will definitely take Danica as our front person. She is super-light and can fit in there perfectly. I think Carl is definitely going to be in the back pushing. We need someone back there that is crazy-strong, so Carl is my pick for that. Throw me in the middle somewhere. I think my other pick would be Jimmie Johnson. As much as he does his triathlons, I feel like his legs must be really strong to push, not to mention the guy can obviously steer pretty well. I would go with those three to join me. Danica, Jimmie and Carl. That is a pretty good team, I think.

Since you can’t have a multi country team at the Olympics a multi manufacturer team might work and it looks like there is a pattern developing with Carl. Danica sounds like a great pick out front except I don’t know how the dynamics of having your girl friend driving will play with the other teammates.

Carl Edwards is ready to go but doesn’t agree about being the guy in the back. – “First, let me say that the other guys are picking me to go in the back, which is flattering, but the issue is I wouldn’t ride with any of those guys if they are driving (laughter). Seriously though, I would pick Ricky to be the driver because he is a smaller guy. I’ve seen a couple jackmen that I think would be good. I think I want Cameron (Cobb) from my pit crew to be in the middle with me. Paul Menard would be pretty good just because of that beard he has. That guy just looks like a winter Olympian doesn’t he? Actually, I think I would take Aric Almirola. He is strong, fast, I think he would be a good guy for it. So let’s put Ricky up front, Aric and myself in the middle and my jackman Cameron in the back. That is a winning combination right there.

Just when you get to liking Carl pushing the sled he goes ahead and suggests someone else. I can’t disagree with the suggestion about Almirola but If I had to pick I would go with the guy who can do back flips without falling on his head. It’s got to be difficult to get back into that sled that is moving wicked fast. One would have to have some agility for that. Carl is the one for that.

These plans for a top notch American Bobsled Racing Ream look pretty sound. Something tells me that having four drivers in a single car, err Bobsled will be a problem. One thing is certain, it would be fun to watch.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary, or on FacebookPinterest, and Google.