Cup Stuff Blog

Ruminating All Things NASCAR

Time For RoushFenway To Take Stock

Posted by Keith Murray on November 23, 2009

What a difference a year makes. Yes, it is a worn out cliche’, but what else fits? This has been a miserable year for RFR compared to last, and they are going to have to make up some serious ground to gain on the likes of Hendrick Motorsports.

This year, the best that they could muster was a 7th place finish in the final standings by Greg Biffle. Before the season started, many so-called experts were saying that Carl Edwards was going to walk away with the Championship this year. This article isn’t about me, but I did say otherwise before the season started. I did not see Edwards having the same magic this year that he did last year. In no way am I saying that last year was a fluke because those guys are very talented. Its just that when the pressure was on, the 99 team choked. And there was a lot of pressure this year for them to step up and use that success as a springboard. The result was more like a bear trap that kept them down all year without a single win.

There are some changes that could be beneficial for 2010 for RFR. Because of the changes to NASCAR’s rules, they can only field four teams from now on. Jamie McMurray’s departure means that there are no heads on the chopping block nor big personnel decisions to make regarding drivers, but something has to change, regardless. Keep doing what you’re doing, keep getting what you’re getting.

Maybe the drop to four teams is just what they need this year to focus and get back tot he top of the speed charts. We fans can only speculate as to what effect it has to have to spread the wealth of information among five teams. Only three of those teams have shown the potential to win races over the last couple of years. Other than McMurray’s fluke win in Talladega, the 26 team has been winless since it moved over from being the 97 team. David Ragan has had a less-than-stellar career so far. Focusing the attention on one less team could be beneficial. Only time will tell.

The information sharing and teamwork that goes on at Hendrick Motorsports is well-documented and renowned. Are the Roush teams that open to each other? A couple of years ago, there was tension that spilled out to national TV when Carl Edwards acted like he wanted to punch Matt Kenseth. You don’t see that kind of activity among HMS drivers – even in jest.

One thing is certain – even apart from off-track drama, there is some serious catching up to do if Roush wants to return to having a shot at more than two drivers in the Chase and especially for a shot at a Championship. And Hendrick Motorsports has shown that they are a moving target. Four straight championships and finishing one-two-three in the season standings is no small feat – we may never see it again. You would also have to think that having Dale Earnhardt, Jr. way down in the standings is driving them crazy and they are going to focus attention on getting him better this off-season.

Roush Fenway Racing has their work cut out for them if they are going to return to the top of the racing world. Maybe some of the changes they have made will help. It will be interesting to see if “Cat In The Hat” – or anyone else, for that matter –  has what it takes to dethrone the Hendrick empire.

As always, please remember to pray for our troops fighting for our freedoms – especially this week. We have so much to be thankful for. God bless.

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