Carl Edwards steps away from racing ; Daniel Suarez to wheel No. 19
RELATED: NASCAR Nation reacts to Edwards' news " Quotes from day HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Carl Edwards gave three very detailed reasons why he is stepping away from NASCAR competition, only to circle back to the subject later and put it a bit more succinctly. "Life is short," Edwards told a room full of media, sponsor representatives and other assorted team and NASCAR officials Wednesday. "You've got to do what your gut tells you." And Edwards said his gut told him it was time to move on to something else. Edwards, 37, officially announced that he will not compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017, calling a halt to a career that included 28 victories at NASCAR's top level, 10 Chase appearances and two second-place finishes in the series' championship points battle. The 2017 season was to be his third in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, his team since joining JGR in 2015 after an 11-year career at Roush Fenway Racing . Instead, it will be 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Daniel Suarez who will be at the helm of the team's No. 19 entry. Suarez, the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national championship and a product of the sanctioning body's Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next programs, will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut in the season-opening Daytona 500 , scheduled for Feb. 26 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). MORE: Recap Suarez's title year " Suarez returns home to Mexico a champion Edwards, wearing a dark suit and gray dress shirt as he walked on stage at the organization's headquarters here in Huntersville, didn't entirely rule out a return to racing in some form or fashion, explaining that "If I'm going to get back in a race car, which I'm not saying the R (retirement) word here … I'm calling Coach (Joe) Gibbs first. "There is no better race team. There is no faster car than a Toyota Camry. There's no better engine. There's no better crew chief than Dave Rogers. There's no better crew." Why step away when he is seemingly still at the top of his game? He finished fourth in the 2016 points standings and was in the title picture right up until a crash with 12 laps remaining took him out of contention in the series’ final race. WATCH: Edwards takes blame for Miami wreck " Edwards' 2016 in review
Roush Fenway Racing to keep Ryan Reed for '17, beyond
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Roush Fenway Racing has signed a multi-year renewal agreement for driver Ryan Reed to continue to pilot the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Reed, who five years ago was told he would never race again after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, qualified for the 2016 inaugural XFINITY Series Chase and scored his first victory in the series last season at Daytona. "We are very excited to continue our program with Lilly Diabetes," said Reed, who will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway . "Not only to continue to drive the No. 16, but more importantly, the opportunity to encourage and educate people who are living with diabetes and those who care for them. We will continue to share the message about diabetes awareness, specifically the importance of talking to doctors as well as proper nutrition and daily exercise." Reed will look to make history this weekend as the only driver actively managing his diabetes to race at the Sprint Cup level. The Bakersfield, California native manages his diabetes through a strict diet and exercise program, the use of a wireless glucose monitoring device to provide in-race, real-time data, and consistent communication with his medical team in California. "Through sharing his diabetes story with NASCAR fans throughout the country over the past three years, Ryan has inspired thousands of people affected by diabetes to live healthier lives and take an active role in managing their health. Lilly Diabetes is proud to renew our sponsorship so together we can continue to make a difference in people’s lives," said Mike Mason, vice president, U.S., Lilly Diabetes. "Like NASCAR, Lilly has been an American institution for generations. We introduced the world’s first commercialized insulin in 1923, and our innovative medicines and education programs have helped people with diabetes ever since. This sponsorship is another step forward in our drive to help more people who have the disease or care for someone who does." Reed posted career highs in Chase races at Kentucky and Dover to advance to the ‘Round of 8’ in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase at Charlotte. He is currently only two points outside of the top four, with two races remaining before the series champion is decided in the season finale at Homestead. Roush Fenway Racing is the winningest team in NASCAR history, fielding multiple teams in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series competition with drivers Greg Biffle , Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., Trevor Bayne , Ryan Reed , Chris Buescher and Bubba Wallace. Now in its 29th season, Roush Fenway is a leader in driver development, having launched the careers for many of the top drivers in the sport. Off-track, Roush Fenway is a leader in NASCAR marketing solutions, pioneering motorsport’s first team-focused TV show and producing multiple award-winning digital and experiential marketing campaigns. Roush Fenway is co-owned by Jack Roush , the winningest team owner in NASCAR history and Fenway Sports Group, parent company of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and English Premier League’s Liverpool F.C. Visit RoushFenway.com, circle on Google+, become a fan on Facebook and Instagram and follow on Twitter at @roushfenway.
Roush Fenway Racing names new pit crew coach
Roush Fenway Racing has decided to reassign longtime pit crew coach Andy Ward, replacing him with Scott Bowen, a current RFR employee and an ex-pit crew member. Ward has been at RFR for many years and has produced some very good pit crews. The Jack Roush -owned organization did not have any drivers qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this year. Roush Fenway Racing released the following statement regarding the move: "We continuously evaluate our race team operations at Roush Fenway , and as part of a mid-season restructuring we have implemented a change in the department structure with our pit crew teams. We have placed Scott Bowen, who previously was our head of purchasing, in charge of our pit crew operations. Scott is a longtime employee of Roush Fenway , and worked as an over-the-wall pit crew member for several years. We believe this change will prove beneficial in our continued effort to improve on-track performance." For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
Roush Fenway signs multiyear deal with AdvoCare
CONCORD, N.C. -- Roush Fenway Racing has signed a multiyear renewal that will see AdvoCare continue to serve as the anchor partner on Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne 's No. 6 Sprint Cup Ford Fusion for the next three seasons. AdvoCare has partnered with Roush Fenway and Bayne since 2014, when the relationship began in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. "AdvoCare has been an outstanding partner to work with, and I am really excited to continue this relationship and represent AdvoCare for three more seasons," said Bayne. "It's a top-notch organization with a great group of employees and Independent Distributors who share our core principles of hard work and determination. "For me it's more than a sponsorship," added Bayne. "I regularly use their products to stay in top form on and off the track. My wife, Ashton, and I are also Independent Distributors for AdvoCare, as are several other Roush Fenway employees." Bayne and the No. 6 AdvoCare team will be in action this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway , the site of Bayne's first Sprint Cup Series start in 2010, as well as his first XFINITY Series victory in 2011. "AdvoCare is extremely proud to call Roush Fenway Racing and Trevor Bayne partners, and we look forward to continuing our great relationship on and off the track. We are also excited about Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway ," says Allison Levy, AdvoCare's Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. "The No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion will feature a paint scheme honoring the SEAL Legacy Foundation , a worthwhile organization helping the families of wounded and fallen U.S. Navy Seals -- a cause we are honored to support as a team." The SEAL Legacy Foundation is dedicated to providing support, including financial assistance and educational assistance to families of wounded and fallen United States Navy SEALs, and other charitable causes benefiting the SEAL community. Additionally, in honor of Veteran's Day on Nov. 11, Bayne, Roush Fenway Racing and AdvoCare will donate the fire suit and helmet Trevor wears in Sunday's race to the SEAL Legacy Sixth Annual Benefit & Gala in Dallas.
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Get history of Roush Fenway Racing and full crews of Greg Biffle, Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Liberty National to sponsor Trevor Bayne, Roush Fenway in 2017
Roush Fenway Racing announced Wednesday that Liberty National Life Insurance Company will sponsor the No. 6 Ford driven by Trevor Bayne next season in NASCAR's premier series. Liberty National will be a primary sponsor on Bayne's No. 6 in the second race of the year, the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 scheduled March 5. Roush Fenway indicated that the McKinney, Texas-based insurance provider will also be a "major associate sponsor" in multiple races in 2017. "We are excited to have Liberty National on board next season," Bayne said in a release provided by the team. "They are an extremely well respected brand that has been providing valuable services since 1900. It's the kind of brand that we are proud to have an association with and I can’t wait to see the No. 6 Liberty National Ford on track. Our goal is to put our car up front and compete for race wins." Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, returns for his third full season with Roush Fenway Racing in 2017. AdvoCare also returns to the RFR No. 6 operation as a primary sponsor this season. Bayne finished 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with two top-five finishes (fifth at Bristol in April, third at Daytona in July) last season. He also raced his way into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race by winning a segment of the preliminary Sprint Showdown by .005 seconds over Chase Elliott .
Bayne leads banner day for Roush Fenway Racing
RELATED: Results " Chase Grid " Standings DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Greg Biffle stood rather proudly alongside his hobbled and taped-up No. 16 Ford on Daytona International Speedway pit road following Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola. It was a night of perseverance for the whole Roush Fenway Racing three-car team, and in the end, everyone was smiling. Top-10s all around. 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne led the Roush squad with a third-place finish. Fourth-year full-time Sprint Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr . was fifth and Biffle's pole-winning car finished in eighth place. It's been two full years since Roush had a top-10 sweep, and watching and listening to the team's drivers late Saturday night, they seem convinced there is more to come. "To have a top-three finish today, it's really a great day for us and a great day for Roush Fenway Racing and Ford," Bayne said. "For our organization to be on the pole this weekend, to have three cars in the top eight, two in the top-five, I think that's kind of a landmark for us as an organization with the struggles we've had to get all three teams running strong on a weekend like this." All the Roush cars were a little bumped and bruised on pit road post-race -- a result of the hectic pace and frantic maneuvering so typical of restrictor-plate tracks. But they finished the quest as strongly as they started it. "We had a really good car," Biffle said standing next to his banged up Ford EcoBoost-sponsored Fusion. "Two or three cars were definitely faster, but we stayed up front there and just got shuffled out of line there. Lost track position and were just working our way back up and got caught up in that wreck. Accidents happen at these restrictor-plate tracks so we fought our way back up and finished eighth. Pretty impressive for a car damaged this much. "We're pretty happy. We definitely wanted to finish better than eighth and we wanted to do it differently than that, but we're happy." It was the first top-10 finish of the season for Biffle, who won his first pole position since 2013. It was the second top-five of the year for Stenhouse and third top-10 in a season where the former XFINITY Series champ feels genuinely encouraged. Not just about himself, but more importantly about the whole Roush Fenway organization. "We had a chance to win and Trevor and Greg had a good run as well," Stenhouse said. "Hopefully before (regular-season finale at) Richmond we can continue to get our cars better and finish up front, maybe win one of these. "You've got to build on any race track it doesn't matter where you go. We brought fast race cars. The whole shop did a great job of putting fast cars together and we did a good job of not tearing that car up and being able to work on it and bring it back to Talladega. Anytime you're bringing fast cars to the race track it doesn't matter if it's a road course, mile-and-a-half, or superspeedway it builds confidence in the guys that they know what they're doing and we're going in the right direction. "Everyone at the shop works that much harder and Jack ( Roush ) is a big part of that. He's at the shop every week making sure everyone is working hard. It's a fun organization to be a part of right now knowing we're still making progress. We have a long way to go but it's fun right now."
Early yet, but Roush Fenway Racing trending up
RELATED: Full Atlanta race lineup HAMPTON, Ga. -- With two drivers qualifying in the top five, and all three of Roush Fenway Racing 's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams starting inside the top 15, it appears things have taken a positive turn for the longtime organization. Trevor Bayne will start third in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Atlanta Motor Speedway . Teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr . will start fifth. And veteran Greg Biffle , typically the most consistent of the group, will go off from the No. 14 position. The last time three RFR cars started inside the top 15 for a non-restricted Sprint Cup race? It's been awhile. The organization, founded by co-owner Jack Roush in 1988, hasn't been to Victory Lane since 2014 when driver Carl Edwards was still a team member. None of its three drivers qualified for last year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , a first, regretfully, for an organization that won back-to-back titles in 2003-04 and nearly won it all again in 2011. With a lower downforce rules package in play -- similar to that used at Kentucky and Darlington last season -- has an organization that has won 135 times in NASCAR's premier series finally rediscovered its footing? "It was one qualifying session in the first race of the year with this rules package," Robbie Reiser, general manager at RFR, said Saturday at AMS. "But, it's obviously better." Reiser's been around -- he won 17 times as a crew chief at RFR before moving off the pit box. So he's lived the ups and downs that come and go so frequently in the series. The proof for RFR, of course, won't come until Sunday, when 39 cars take the green flag for the series' second race of the season. Or more likely much later, after the series rolls through Las Vegas and Texas and Kansas and Charlotte. "Last season wasn't a reflection of work ethic at all, it was a reflection of being a little bit behind," Bayne said. "This season, we're really looking forward to this low downforce package. We felt like our best races were at the low downforce tracks (last year), Kentucky and Darlington, so everybody that's wondering what’s going on at Roush Fenway Racing , a lot of hard work and a lot of attention to detail." Bayne, a former Daytona 500 winner, is paired with crew chief Matt Puccia, Biffle's former crew chief, for 2016; veteran Brian Pattie is calling the shots for Biffle while Nick Sandler returns to oversee the No. 17 of Stenhouse. "I thought we had probably another tenth in it … so I feel really good about the speed the guys brought down in this car and all their hard work," Stenhouse said after his qualifying effort. "Hopefully, it can continue in race trim tomorrow and making sure we have something that will run good on the long run. That's going to be tough here at Atlanta with the low downforce and sliding around with the soft tire, so I felt good about it." Stenhouse was 13th on Saturday as teams made final race preparations. "We had a meeting last week talking about execution," Bayne said. "Everybody's intentions are right. Everybody wants to go fast. Everybody wants to win races, but now we've got to execute and make sure we make these fast Fords last."
Roush Fenway Racing makes competition additions
Roush Fenway Racing officials have announced the addition of three key members to its competition group as the organization prepares for the 2016 NASCAR season and beyond. Kurt Romberg, most recently chief aerodynamicist for Hendrick Motorsports , has been named Technical Director of Aerodynamics at RFR. Prior to joining Hendrick, Romberg worked with General Motors and Petty Enterprises. He spent the last 15 years at Hendrick. Dr. Kent Day has been named Manager of Simulation. Day has more than two decades of experience and has served as technical director at Team Penske and Richard Childress Racing . In his last role, Day specialized in vehicle dynamics while with Michael Waltrip Racing . Vojin Jaksic worked at RFR from 2005-11 before leaving for stints with MWR and Joe Gibbs Racing . He will serve as research and development/special projects manager in his new role. "It takes great talent to win in this sport and we are very pleased with the additions we have made on the competition front," team owner Jack Roush said in a statement announcing the new hires. "We recognize the importance of putting the appropriate personnel into place as we continue our relentless pursuit to put the best and most competitive race teams on the track." Roush Fenway Racing captured its eighth NASCAR championship in 2015 with driver Chris Buescher winning the XFINITY Series title. The organization also won Sprint Cup with Matt Kenseth (2003) and Kurt Busch ('04); XFINITY Series titles with Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (2011-12), Carl Edwards ('07) and Greg Biffle ('02), as well as the Camping World Truck Series championship with Biffle in 2000. This past season, RFR failed to place a driver in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the first time since the format debuted in '04. Biffle finished 20th in the final points standings, while teammates Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne were 25th and 29th respectively. Roush Fenway drivers have won 135 Sprint Cup races (third most in the series), 137 in the XFINITY Series and 50 in the Truck Series. The organization has not fielded a Truck entry since ’09.
Christopher Bell claims 2017 Chili Bowl victory
Photo: Toyota Racing Christopher Bell rang in the start of his 2017 season with perhaps the biggest win of his burgeoning racing career -- the 31st annual Chili Bowl. Bell, a full-time driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series , won what many consider to be the world's most prestigious sprint car race after midnight ET on Sunday morning. Over the course of a week, he outlasted 364 other drivers who entered -- a Chili Bowl record -- and ended Rico Abreu's two-year reign as champion. Bell is regarded as one of the finer dirt racers in the country, and he was equally adept on pavement as well. The 22-year-old advanced to the Championship Round in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase as a full-time rookie in 2016. In 2015, he won at Eldora Speedway in his third career series start. Making the victory even sweeter is that Bell is an Oklahoma native -- he was born in Norman, about 125 miles southwest of the event site in Tulsa. "Oh my God, I just won the Chili Bowl," Bell said after climbing out of his machine. "This was a long time coming and a dream come true." C Bell up on the wheel tonight! #cbnationals @CBellRacing — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) January 15, 2017 Nice job C Bell! — William Byron (@WilliamByron) January 15, 2017 Daryn Pittman, a fellow Oklahoma native, finished second to Bell with Justin Grant, Tanner Thompson and Jake Swanson rounding out the top five. In all, four drivers with recent NASCAR experience qualified for the championship race. Abreu finished 11th after starting 25th in the 25-driver championship field, needing a champion's provisional to make the final field. Roush Fenway Racing 's Ricky Stenhouse Jr . finished 16th and Chase Briscoe, the newest full-time driver for Brad Keselowski Racing , was 22nd in the A-Main. The Chili Bowl is a week-long event with five days of practice and qualifying events to set the 25-car field for the main event. Saturday started with two O-Feature races -- the top four finishers from each O-Feature event advanced to the corresponding N-Feature races. Then the top four finishers from each N-Feature race advance into the M-Feature races. The format was used all the way up to the A-Main finale, although drivers also could qualify for the A-Main throughout the week. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson , who has stayed behind the wheel all offseason, including a racing trip to Australia -- failed to advance to the championship race after making the A-Main for five consecutive years. Abreu did not make it out of the F-Feature due to a tire issue, but he received a past champion's provisional. Stenhouse, another Chili Bowl veteran, won his B-Feature to advance into the championship race. Justin Allgaier , who will drive in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for JR Motorsports in 2017, was ousted after the C-Feature. His most eventful moment of the week, though, came Friday when his car flipped on the last lap of his race.