At one time, Roush Fenway Racing was named among the NASCAR elites. Remember the days when they could and did have FIVE teams? Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch were a veritable all-star team- all making the 2005 Chase. During the course of their history, Jack Roush’s drivers have won 135 Cup races and two championships. In the early 2000s, RFR was the standard bearer for Ford.
It is said that it takes centuries to grow a forest and minutes to burn it down. While the fall of Roush Fenway Racing hasn’t been quite that dramatic, it now seems like light years since the likes of Kenseth, Biffle and Edwards were running alongside the likes of Jimmie Johnson. Even before the departure of Kenseth at the end of 2012, cracks in the foundation could be seen as inconsistency began to dog RFR. Rumblings could be heard that the team couldn’t find speed, and one by one, Kenseth, Edwards and now Biffle have defected.
What happened to Roush Fenway Racing? There will be those that contend that holdovers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne lack prime time talent. Others opine that aging owner Roush has seen the sport pass him by. It’s not the manufacturer. Ford is enjoying great success with Team Penske, and now, Stewart-Haas Racing will come under the umbrella of the “blue oval.” also in the mix is a dizzying array of changes within NASCAR, some drivers and teams have adjusted better than others. You can guess what category RFR falls into.
Roush Fenway Racing can turn it around. Their manufacturer is in a solid position, and there’s plenty of talent in the garage. Matt Puccia and Brian Pattie are solid pit bosses, plus you have Kevin Kidd working hard behind the scenes. Ford is running strong at the moment, and even in 2016 RFR cars had some strong moments.
Once things are tightened up with the car, then the matter of their drivers can be addressed. The jury is very much out on Bayne and Stenhouse, and one has to wonder when Darrell Wallace Jr. will get his chance. That may come sooner rather later if the cars are good, but Bayne and Stenhouse fail to step up.
The annals of NASCAR history are littered with once great teams that fell from greatness, never to return. DEI is long gone, Yates Racing is a memory. Richard Childress and Richard Petty are still around, but they’re nothing like they were in their glory days. The Wood Brothers are working their way, but still have a ways to go. What will become of Roush Fenway Racing? They can bounce back. Jack Roush built a winner once, and he can do it again. Will it happen? It would be a great comeback story if it did.
Time will tell.