RICHMOND, Va. – A season of unfulfilled hope continues for Roush Fenway Racing with the organization missing the Chase for the first time.
Once one of NASCAR’s dominant teams – Roush Fenway Racing won the inaugural Chase in 2004 and had the runner-up in three of following four seasons – Roush has failed to be competitive this season.
The three-car team of Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne have combined for no wins, three top-five and six top-10 finishes this season. The organization is on pace for its fewest top-five and top-10 finishes in a season since becoming a multi-car operation in 1992.
“I am surprised at that just because I know how good those guys are and how hard they work,’’ said Carl Edwards, who left Roush after last season to join Joe Gibbs Racing. “I would expect at any moment those guys are going to turn the corner.’’
The challenge for car owner Jack Roush’s team has been the handling of the cars.
“For whatever reason, when we put more downforce on our race cars … ours do not turn near as good as what everybody else’s does,’’ said Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who finished a team-best 16th in Saturday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway. “It’s just something that we’re missing with our race car with aero and maybe our front suspension that when we put so much load through it just doesn’t turn like it needs to.’’
Stenhouse said he had a better car at Darlington earlier this month – aided by the low-downforce package used there – but finished 38th after damaging his car in a crash.
“We have a car that is decent and I thought I could finish maybe 15th with it,’’ Stenhouse said. “So I’m pushing really hard to make sure we do that and then I make a mistake. That was the frustrating part of (Darlington).
“I was encouraged that we were a little bit better, hoping that is the direction with the downforce. If that’s the case, I feel really good about the things we’ve learned. It’s still going to be s struggle this year. We’re still trying to figure out the 2015 package. We haven’t figured it out all year, but we’re still working at it. The guys haven’t quit trying things. Jack hasn’t quit spending money to try to develop new things for it. It’s just not panning out like we thought it would.’’