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Roush Fenway Racing has little to look forward to in Martinsville

By admin | March 24, 2010

By Richard Allen

Roush Fenway Racing salvaged a pretty good day out of what looked to be a mediocre one at best in Bristol last week. In the Food City 500’s middle stages RFR had only the car of Greg Biffle looking like a contender while their other drivers were mired in mid pack.

However, on the final restart RFR held the top-3 positions. Eventually, Biffle finished in 4th, Matt Kenseth took 5th and Carl Edwards placed 6th. David Ragan’s damaged car limping to a 29th place aside, it was a solid day for the team.

History does not indicate they will be able to pull off a similar feat this week in Martinsville, Virginia at the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500. Over the course of their entire NASCAR history the RFR organization has won only four times on the half-mile track and all of those victories came with drivers who have since departed.

RFR’s current stable of drivers have had, to put it nicely, less than average performances here.

Biffle’s record on the track, for lack of a better term, is abysmal. In fourteen total Sprint Cup starts he has only one top-10 and an average finish of 23.2. The only track in which he has a worse average finish is the road course at Watkins Glen.

Carl Edwards is only slightly better than Biffle in terms of his career statistics on the flat track. In eleven starts he has had two top-10s with an average finish of 18.4. To add some degree of insult to injury, this is the place where he was caught throwing a fake punch at teammate Matt Kenseth in an event that became somewhat of a You Tube sensation.

Speaking of Kenseth, he once described Martinsville as the equivalent of racing around two poles on each end of a mall parking lot. He has the record to back up his disdain for the facility. In twenty starts he has managed six top-10s and an average finishing position of 16.2.

Kenseth comes into this race trailing Sprint Cup points leader Kevin Harvick by only one point. If history is to serve as any sort of a guide, it does not look as though he will leave with the points lead.

The fourth member of the RFR team, David Ragan, appears to be upholding the traditions of his teammates on this track. In seven starts he has never posted a top-10 result and has an average finish of 19.9.

There are plenty of tracks where Roush Fenway Racing can go into a weekend with the expectation of doing well because they have a history of previous success. Martinsville is definitely not one of those tracks. This is not to say they will not turn it around in 2010, but they’ve shown little sign of such in numerous other attempts here.

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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

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