Question: what do Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch have in common? A couple of things actually. Both were champions in the early 200s- 2003 and 2004 to be exact. Now, what else did they have in common? Both won NASCAR championships while in the employ of what has been known of late as Roush Fenway Racing.
It wasn’t so many years ago, Roush Fenway Racing was mentioned in the same breath as Hendrick and Gibbs. Carl Edwards, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle all enjoyed solid careers at Roush Fenway. They were the standard bearers for Ford.
Roush Fenway looks a lot different now. The drivers are younger. And until Ricky Stenhouse Jr. picked off a pair of wins last year, victories had been scarce. All the old guard is gone, and now Roger Penske is the big dog under the Blue Oval umbrella.
The good news is no news for Roush Fenway in 2018. Their drivers are back, their crew chiefs are back, and there’s a little wind in their sails.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has broken free from the shadows of ex-girlfriend Danica Patrick in more ways than one. Not only have they called in quits romantically, the former Xfinity champion collected his first two Cup series wins, and he made the playoffs. He’s proven he belongs; not something all believed until lately. The numbers are coming up, now it’s a matter of greater consistency.
Trevor Bayne returns in the number 6 car. Since his improbable victory at Daytona in 2011, Bayne has yet to make another trip to victory lane. After laboring on a part-time basis for Wood Bros., is back for his fourth season of full-time racing. Bayne is one of NASCAR’s good guys- a driver that’s not hard to root for, and yet one has to think he’s got to show something this season, or someone else will sit in his seat come next year.
So there’s a sense of stability at Roush Fenway Racing. The question is whether or not this signals a forward move, or whether they’ve settled into mediocrity.