The last few years have been tough for Roush-Fenway Racing. Two superstar talents, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, left for a new racing organization at the end of the 2012 and 2014 season respectively. It only got tougher when Greg Biffle, a main staple, left at the end of the 2016 season. This left only two drivers, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne, both of whom are under the age of 30 and only a few years at the top level of NASCAR, to rely on each other in terms of knowledge and learning.
The struggles have been mainly over the past 101 races. That’s how long it had been since a RFR car had appeared in Victory Lane. The 101 races is almost equivilant to a full three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup seasons. All of that constant struggling over the past few seasons came to a close Sunday afternoon.
In the Geico 500 at Talladega Super-Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, a five year veteran in NASCARs Premier Series with RFR, was able to snap the long winless streak the organization was in. NASCAR Nation could feel the weight of the world lifted off of this organizations shoulders. Prior to Stenhouse Jr. capturing the Checkered Flag Sunday, Edwards was the last RFR driver to win a race back in 2014.
After Edwards left at the end of the 2014 season, RFR hasn’t had a driver make the Playoffs. With the win by Stenhouse Jr. at Talladega, he is guaranteed a spot in the 2017 NASCAR Playoffs.
On the Right Track
The arrow seems to be pointing up for this stable of drivers and organization as a whole. So far in 2017, Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne have combined for three Top 5s, six Top 10s, and that illustrious win. Those numbers are up from the 2016 season. The duo combined for two Top 5s, four Top 10s, and no wins in the first ten races.
Focusing on the Xfinity Series for RFR, progression has also taken its grasp. Flashback to last year, and the stable that consists of Ryan Reed and Bubba Wallace posted just one Top 5 and two Top 10 finishes. Fast forward to 2017 and the two have combined for one Top 5, eight Top 10s, and a win.
The success in the first quarter of the season in both series for RFR helps in many ways. It increases development and improvement for the orginzation. It also helps bring in sponsorship, a mainstay to compete in the sport. What once looked like a top tier racing organization on the outs, has suddenly been revived. Jump started and ready to go, RFR is ready to prove the world wrong.