Team Preview: Roush Fenway Racing

47338Jpg
The five drivers at Roush Fenway Racing all have unfinished business to accomplish once the 2009 season begins at Daytona.

After winning nine races in 2008, including three of the last four in the season, Carl Edwards came up just shy of winning the Championship. Edwards's victories, top fives (19), top 10s (27) and average finish (9.5), all beat Johnson's finish totals for the season, but two disastrous finishes in the Chase of 29th and 33rd kept him from beating the three-time champion.

Now, Edwards is ready for a new year, with a new opportunity to dethrone Johnson.

"We're going to pick up right where we left off," Edwards said. "I think we have a lot to look forward to. Our team finished really strong, and I feel like we made some changes in the off season that are going to be positive ones on the crew, some additions that are going to be great."

Edwards is also hoping that his recent marriage to Kate Downey will help him with his quest for his first Cup championship in 2009.

"Just having someone like Kate to be there and really be my partner, in a way I really hope and I believe that it's going to be something that kind of grounds me and gives me a constant in my life and makes me a better race car driver or able to do my job better, focus more," Edwards said. "I think it's going to be great."

Edwards's young teammate David Ragan also has some unfinished business to try to accomplish in 2009 - qualifying for his first Chase.

"Our goal for 2008 was to make the Chase," Ragan said. "Unfortunately we didn't achieve that, but we came very close and ran consistently so in my eyes it was still a successful season. I've got all my same team moving into 2009 and we should be good right from the start."

Ragan finished 13th in 2008 with six top fives and 14 top 10s. He enters his third year of full-time Cup racing in 2009 and has yet to win a race.

"By looking at last year's performance, I'll be devastated if we don't win a race in 2009, and I'll be very disappointed if we don't make the Chase," Ragan said. "Our expectations, and I'm sure Jack (Roush) will agree to this, is to win some races, be in the Chase. We know we've still got some work to do to be a championship contender. We're not at that level that the 48 team and Carl and some of those guys are, but we know that we can run in the Top 10 week in and week out."

Matt Kenseth has a similar goal for 2009, like Ragan.

Kenseth made the Chase in 2008 - one of only two drivers to have qualified for every Chase so far - but, he failed to win a race for the first time in seven years.

So for 2009, Kenseth and his team are focusing on winning a race, as well as making the Chase. To accomplish those goals, the No. 17 made some very big changes in the off season.

Drew Blickensderfer will be the team's crew chief for 2009, and Chip Bolin will re-assume the team engineer position. The move was designed to give 2008 crew chief, Bolin, more time to concentrate on making the cars go fast so that they can return to victory lane.

"We are really looking forward to Drew coming on board with the No. 17 Dewalt team," Kenseth said. "Drew brings a great work ethic and high level of enthusiasm to our team. He has been waiting for the opportunity to become a crew chief in the Sprint Cup Series and I know he'll make the most of it."

Kenseth also thinks that Bolin will feel better about his move back to being solely the team's engineer.

"I kind of probably somewhat forced him into taking the crew chief job after we found out Robbie was leaving, and I'm not so sure he 100 percent wanted to do that. There was certain parts about that job he wasn't comfortable with, and he told me that, and I made him do it anyway," Kenseth said of Bolin in the crew chief position. "Chip is going to be able to spend more time on making the cars fast."

Greg Biffle is a third teammate to have made the Chase in 2008, but he ended up third in the wake of Johnson and Edward's battle for the title. He scored two victories, 12 top fives and 17 top 10s in 2008.

"I gave it my all last year, everything I had, and it wasn't good enough," Biffle said. "We just need to be as a team, the 16 team, we just need to be a little bit better."

Without scheduled off season testing, all of the teams entering the 2009 season are looking at Daytona, and the following race in California, as litmus tests for how the season will go. Biffle isn't too worried about not being able to test, considering his season in 2008 and thinks his chances will be as good as anyone's for being in the mix for the title again in 2009.

"I feel like I expect to be about normal for our speedway program, which usually drops us in right in the middle, the heart of all the race cars on speed. You know, that's not a bad place to be," Biffle said. "It could be worse obviously, and you could be up front in the top three or four. We feel like we're going to be right there in the top 20 hopefully, top 15, and that's where a guy needs to be to be competitive or to win these races and run well at these restrictor plate tracks with the way the cars are so close together, so jumped up now, it's hard to see somebody so clearly faster than another, but we feel good about coming back."

Jamie McMurray is the last Roush teammate who has some unfinished business from 2008. He's trying to prove that he's got what it takes to remain in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Under NASCAR's soon to be imposed regulations, Roush Fenway Racing must scale back to four teams next year.

In 2008 McMurray posted the worst points finish of his team - 16th. He scored four top fives and 11 top 10s but failed to visit victory lane. Five of his top 10 finishes - four of which were within the top five - came in the last six races of 2008. McMurray was third in each of the last three races.

"We ended our season on such a high note," McMurray said. "I totally expect that we will be able to start the 2009 season just as strong as we finished 2008."

That seems to be the case if the Budweiser Shootout is any indication. McMurray finished a strong second in the non-points paying, exhibition race after leading the field to a green/white/checkered finish.

"It's a really good night for us. Everybody did a good job," McMurray said after the race. "It's easier to run well right now than it's ever been for me just 'cause everything's working."

Part of what's working is that the race saw the No. 26 team debut with its new crew chief - Donnie Wingo. Wingo previously worked with McMurray early in his career at Ganassi Racing. McMurray also has his old Ganassi spotter, Lorin Ranier, with the No. 26 team in 2009.

"It's really hard for me to explain to you the comfort or the confidence that I have in those two guys," McMurray said. "I feel like when we ran at Ganassi, we ran really well. I didn't think we had near as good of equipment as what we have at Roush Fenway.

"To get to have both of them back at the same time, I mean, it's very comforting."

Carl Edwards
Car No: 99
Manufacturer: Ford
Sponsors: Aflac
Crew Chief: Dan Stillman

2008 Stats
Races
Wins
Top 5s
Top 10s
Avg. Start
Avg. Fin.
36
9
19
27
12.3
9.5


Greg Biffle
Car No: 16
Manufacturer: Ford
Sponsors: 3M
Crew Chief: Greg Erwin

2008 Stats
Races
Wins
Top 5s
Top 10s
Avg. Start
Avg. Fin.
36
2
12
17
13.8
12.9


Matt Kenseth
Car No: 17
Manufacturer: Ford
Sponsors: Dewalt
Crew Chief: Drew Blickensderfer

2008 Stats
Races
Wins
Top 5s
Top 10s
Avg. Start
Avg. Fin.
36
0
9
20
16.5
16.4


David Ragan
Car No: 6
Manufacturer: Ford
Sponsors: UPS
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig

2008 Stats
Races
Wins
Top 5s
Top 10s
Avg. Start
Avg. Fin.
36
0
6
14
17.4
15.6


Jamie McMurray
Car No: 26
Manufacturer: Ford
Sponsors: Crown Royal
Crew Chief: Donnie Wingo

2008 Stats
Races
Wins
Top 5s
Top 10s
Avg. Start
Avg. Fin.
36
0
4
11
20.1
20.1


Previous Team Previews
Robby Gordon Motorsports
Michael Waltrip Racing
Yates/Hall of Fame Racing
Team Red Bull
Penske Racing
Richard Petty Motorsports
Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
Joe Gibbs Racing
Richard Childress Racing

Up Next
Hendrick Motorsports

Photos

  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Chase Opener at Chicago
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Federated Auto Parts 400
  • © 2014 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites