By admin | February 11, 2014
This is one of several previews of Sprint Cup teams going into the 2014 season. Look for these pieces to be released every Tuesday and Thursday during the weeks leading up to the season opening Daytona 500.
By Richard Allen
It would seem more than fair to say that Roush Fenway Racing has demonstrated a knack for inconsistency in recent years. Unfortunately for an organization that once sat at the top of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup division, that inconsistency appears to be trending more toward mediocrity as race wins have fallen from the highs of a few years ago and no serious championship threat has resulted since 2011.
When this Jack Roush run company won a total of 15 races and put all five of its drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup back in 2005, some wondered if this Ford-based team had become too dominant. And soon after that season, NASCAR announced that an adjustment in the rules would be implemented limiting organizations to no more than four cars. Many saw this action as a direct targeting of this one team.
Of late, however, there has been little need to consider a rule change to slow this organization.
2013 saw RFR collect only three victories with Carl Edwards taking two of those wins and Greg Biffle earning a single triumph. Although both of those drivers made the Chase for the Sprint Cup, neither was ever a serious threat to take the crown once the playoff began. The team’s third driver, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., did take home the ‘Rookie of the Year’ honors but failed to win a race or make the ten race playoff.
One year earlier, RFR collected a total of five wins and had drivers finish 5th and 7th in the final standings. In 2012, the team still had Matt Kenseth in its driver lineup. However, the 2003 Sprint Cup champion departed after that season for Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyota fleet.
The loss of Kenseth’s driving talents came one year after RFR had been forced to scale back from the allowed number of four teams to just three after sponsorship woes brought about the closure of the organization’s flagship #6 team of driver David Ragan. The days of having five Chase qualifying rides seem far back in the rear view mirror now.
For whatever reason, Roush Fenway Racing is not what it used to be. Whether it be financial, engineering, chassis, engines or other, the results have fallen off. The question is whether or not they can ever climb back to the top. If that is ever to happen, something will have to occur to reverse the current trend.
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