Tag Archives: Roush Fenway Racing

Will Hendrick Continue or Roush Return to Form at Michigan?

To say that Roush Fenway Racing has made the Michigan International Speedway their playground in NASCAR is an understatement. Since 2002, a Roush driver has won nine races, one race every year from 2002 to 2008 plus a race in 2012 and 2013. They have more race wins at Michigan than any other Sprint Cup team.

Greg Biffle is the most recent Roush driver to lead the charge. Biffle leads all active drivers with four wins there. His most recent win goes back to this race in 2013. His statistics for Michigan are like Jimmie Johnson’s are at many of the other speedways. He has a driver rating of 107.1, an average finish of 10.9. His average running position of 8.9 is incredible.

In 2014 the Roush Fenway Racing Drivers of Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr had their worst showing ever in this race. Greg Biffle led the team with a finish of 20th followed by Edwards 23rd and Stenhouse 27th. No laps lead and equally painful qualifying positions. In the August race those same drivers did a little better. Biffle scrambled for a 10th place finish, Stenhouse 15th and Edwards 23rd again. In Roush Fenway Racing standards their showing at Michigan last year was dismal.

Meanwhile, Hendrick Motorsports drivers of Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon took full advantage of the opportunity to win the races at Michigan. In fact all four of the Hendrick cars were in the top ten in June and three of the four in August; Jimmie Johnson 1st and 9th, Jeff Gordon 6th and 1st, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 7th and 5th and Kasey Kahne 5th and 16th.

This season Jimmie Johnson has won at three of the five 1.5 speedways but those he didn’t win he had issues leading to damage. Johnson finished 9th at Fontana, Michigan’s 2 mile sister speedway. Stewart Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick has also dominated the 1.5 mile speedways including coming in 2nd at Fontana. They are also a Hendrick associated team.

This weekend all eyes will be on Roush Fenway Racing at their home track. Greg Biffle has shown some improvement this season but overall the Roush teams are still struggling. This weekend will tell the story whether or not there has been any improvement. In the mean time it looks like the Hendrick teams have an edge to continue where they left off last season.

If you cannot get to Michigan International Speedway Sunday, June 14th 2015 for the Quicken Loans 400 it will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 starting at 1:00 PM ET.

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

Feature Photo Credit: 304998 Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images

Statistics for Michigan International Speedway

Rank Car No. Driver Name Average Finish Driver Rating
1 16 Greg Biffle 10.9 107.1
2 48 Jimmie Johnson 15.3 102.5
3 20 Matt Kenseth 11.7 101.3
4 99 Carl Edwards 9.7 100.5
5 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 12.7 98
6 14 Tony Stewart 10.1 95.8
7 24 Jeff Gordon 15.4 93.6
8 22 Joey Logano 14.9 91.8
9 4 Kevin Harvick 11.5 90.2
10 41 Kurt Busch 21.3 89.9
11 2 Brad Keselowski 14.8 89
12 5 Kasey Kahne 17.1 89
13 18 Kyle Busch 18.9 88.3
14 11 Denny Hamlin 15.3 88.2
15 55 Brian Vickers 17 86.3
16 15 Clint Bowyer 14.6 82.5

 

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

 

Michigan International Speedway is Greg Biffle’s Favorite Track

Greg Biffle has been in the NASCAR Silly Season rumor mill the last few months. It has been reported that he has resigned with Roush Fenway Racing and an official announcement is coming. With that Monkey off his back what a great time to return to his best track on the circuit the Michigan International Speedway.

The Michigan International Speedway is one of the biggest D shaped ovals that NASCAR runs on. It is a 2 mile speedway. It has been super fast since its most recent repave and the focus on much discussion on slowing the cars down. It is a wide race track with 18 degrees of banking in the corners, 5 degrees on the front stretch and 2 degrees on the backstretch. It is not uncommon to see four wide on a restart.

Every week we look at the driver ratings for the race track that NASCAR is racing at. This week Greg Biffle leads all drivers with a rating of 110 followed by Matt Kenseth 105.6, Carl Edwards 101.4 and Jimmie Johnson at 101.4.

Who gets it done at Michigan. Greg Biffle leads all active drivers with four wins including this race last year. Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards each and two wins. This track is one of Jimmie Johnson’s nemesis. He has never won here.

Last year was the best Father’s Day ever, 1,000th win for Ford and to have my daughter there for her first victory lane.  I’m not sure how to top that, but hopefully something spectacular will happen.” Biffle added, “Michigan is one of my favorite tracks; it’s a big fast place and has lots of room to race.  There is always a lot of strategy going on.  Fuel mileage and pit stops are very important.

This track has in the past been referred to as the “House of Roush” because Roush Fenway Racing has the most wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup as any other team. They have 13 wins which include those of Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards above plus four from Mark Martin and one from Kurt Busch.

Greg Biffle has won two of the last three races at Michigan finishing ninth last august. He loves this speedway and has put his contract issues behind him. Look for him to win the Quicken Loans 400.

If you cannot get to the Michigan International Speedway for the Quicken Loans 400 it will be broadcast on TNT Sunday, June 15th starting at 12 PM ET.

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

Feature Photo Credit: 287151 Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Michigan
Greg Biffle …………………………….. 110.0
Matt Kenseth …………………………. 105.6
Carl Edwards …………………………. 104.7
Jimmie Johnson …………………….. 101.4
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ……………………. 97.0
Tony Stewart …………………………… 95.9
Kyle Busch ……………………………… 92.0
Brian Vickers …………………………… 91.5
Jeff Gordon …………………………….. 89.8
Denny Hamlin ………………………….. 89.7
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Michigan International Speedway.

So Where is Greg Biffle Going?

This past week at Dover International Speedway during the NASCAR on FOX prerace show Gas N Go segment Chris Myers asked the Waltrips, Michael and Darrell (DW), are Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle leaving Roush and where do they go? Well just like a few weeks ago when DW seemed to know where Carl Edwards was going, he proceeded to throw Biffle into the Silly Season deep end.

Darrell Waltrip said, “Here’s my prediction, Carl (Edwards) will stay with Ford, I don’t know if it will be with Roush or I might be with Penske but he will stay with Ford.

Then Darrell throws Greg Biffle in the deep end. He put his hand on his brother Michael’s shoulder and continues, “and Greg Biffle will go with some two car team, that maybe one time had a third car.

Michael looks at the camera and quickly adds, “I think Carl goes and Greg Stays, I think Biffle stays at Roush he’s going to the veteran, the anchor to that rookie lineup for the young guys who are going to race at Roush.

Many writers and analysts seam to take this as Greg is leaving for Michael Waltrip Racing, who just last year had three teams.  Just like a few weeks ago where DW all but had Carl Edwards say he was going to Joe Gibbs Racing this too might be a bit premature. It might just be DW stirring the pot in order to make great TV… Or is it something else entirely?

I think that everyone was reading DW’s signs to his brother Michael wrong. It looked to me like a brother telling his brother, “Go ahead you can do this.”

I think it means that Michael Waltrip had told or asked his brother DW recently in confidence if they should make a go at trying to get Greg Biffle. It also might just be DW saying you need a third car and here is a “Cat” that you should be looking at.

Either way Silly Season is in full swing. The more Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle get put into play the more Silly it is going to get.

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

Feature Photo Credit: 287149 Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images