Looking forlorn, not necessarily stunned, Roush Fenway Racing crew members slowly pushed the team's three Fords from pit road through the Richmond International Raceway garage late Saturday night and loaded them into the haulers for an unprecedented competitive detour from NASCAR's post-season. There will not be a RFR car eligible for the championship for the first time since NASCAR instituted its Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff in 2004 – a season Kurt Busch hoisted the championship trophy for RFR. The veteran of the 2015 Roush team, Greg Biffle , came closest to maintaining RFR's streak of title eligibility. His best and last chance of making the 16-driver Chase field was a victory in Richmond but he was never close, starting 38th and finishing 31st. Teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr .'s 16th-place showing Saturday was actually the best RFR effort in the regular season finale, but the fact it was only his first top-20 since early July speaks to the struggles this storied and championship team has endured this year. Biffle, 45, has only three top-10s in 26 races – a career low – and his 20.6 average finish in the No. 16 Ford is also on track to be a career worst. Stenhouse, 31, the 2013 Sunoco Rookie of the Year and a two-time XFINITY Series champion, has only one top 10 – a fourth place at Bristol in April. Similarly his 26.0 average finish is a low-water mark. Teammate Trevor Bayne , 24, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, is still looking for his first top-five finish in his first full-time Cup season. His average finish is 25.8, and he is yet to break into the top 25 in the points standings. It's been one tough season for one of NASCAR's most respected and accomplished organizations. Roush Fenway Racing won back-to-back Cup championships with Matt Kenseth and Busch in 2003-04 and has finished championship runner-up four more times since, most recently with Carl Edwards in 2011. Edwards, who left RFR for Joe Gibbs Racing this year, is the last driver to pull a Roush Ford into Victory Lane, doing it twice last year at Bristol and Sonoma . This year, he has a pair of wins with JGR – including the Bojangles' Southern 500 – and is seeded eighth in the Chase, which begins Sunday in Chicago. It's hard for Edwards to imagine a Chase without his former team. "Yes, I am surprised at that just because I know how good those guys are and how hard they work," Edwards said over the weekend in Richmond. "It's like I said before, I would expect at any moment those guys are going to turn the corner. They really do work hard, they're racers and I see Jimmy Fennig here every week and everybody working hard and I'm sure they'll get stronger.” Earlier this season Biffle conceded the group hadn't quite adapted to new technical specifications. "Since the ride height rule changed from 2013 to '14 has really affected us on the Cup level," he explained. "If you look at that change, which we were excited about and thought getting our cars on the track and what-not, that's the way the Nationwide (now XFINITY ) cars still are. They still have that minimum ride height, and really we've kind of struggled when that ride height rule came in. "We've sort of struggled a little bit with that, so we're still working through figuring that out." Biffle does have victories in five (Texas, Dover, Kansas, Loudon and Homestead) of the 10 Chase venues, including three straight at Homestead-Miami Speedway from 2004-06. Stenhouse told reporters Saturday night that he remained optimistic about the rest of the season and the team is focused on improvement this year while others go after the big trophy. "We really needed this finish after the past couple of weekends," Stenhouse said. "We have 10 races remaining and hopefully we can get a win.”
Driver set to compete in NASCAR XFINITY Series Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr., third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final standings this past season and a graduate of NASCAR Next and Drive for Diversity initiatives, will compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015 for Roush Fenway Racing , according to RFR officials. Wallace, 21, will join drivers Chris Buescher , Ryan Reed and Elliott Sadler in the RFR lineup. Wallace will pilot the organization's No. 6 Ford Mustang previously driven by Trevor Bayne . Additional team personnel and sponsorship will be announced at a later date. "I've had a remarkable journey over the last few years thanks to people who have put me in a position to win the races that I have," Wallace said. "When I first joined the sport, many said I would never compete with the real drivers. Now, as I join the winningest (XFINITY) team in NASCAR history, I take that as a responsibility to add more wins to the team's legacy and help tear down the barriers for the next generation of NASCAR drivers." Wallace won five races from 2013-14 while competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports, scoring four this past season. RELATED: Bubba done with KBM as team announces 2015 lineup In 2013, he became the first African American driver to win a NASCAR national series event in 50 years when he won his first Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway . This past year, he successfully defended his title while driving an entry whose paint scheme and number 34 paid tribute to NASCAR's first African American winner, Wendell Scott. Wallace made six career Nationwide (soon to be XFINITY ) Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing , with whom he was under contract, between 2012-14. He finished in the top 10 in four of those starts, with a best finish of seventh at Iowa (in 2012) and Daytona (2014). However, without sponsorship to remain at KBM, and with no funding for him at JGR in the XFINITY Series, Wallace asked for and was granted his release earlier this month. RFR president Steve Newmark said Wallace "is viewed in industry circles as one of the brightest young drivers." "He has a charismatic personality and at the same time has exhibited the ability to win on the race track," Newmark said. "We are looking forward to getting him in our race cars next season." In addition to the four XFINITY Series teams, Roush Fenway also fields teams in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series for drivers Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and Greg Biffle . Bayne, who is making the move up to compete full time in the Sprint Cup Series in 2015, finished sixth in the Nationwide Series this past season, while Buescher, who won once, was seventh and Reed ninth. Sadler spent the previous two seasons at JGR, finishing fourth in 2013 and third this past year. RELATED: Wallace Jr. receives release from JGR Roush Fenway Racing's XFINITY Series program is the winningest in NASCAR, having earned 133 victories. Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (2011-12), Carl Edwards (2007) and Biffle (2002) have won series championships for the group. "We are certainly pleased to have Bubba Wallace come on board," team co-owner Jack Roush said. "He is certainly a great young talent and I feel it will be mutually beneficial for us to be able to put him into a team environment with a veteran driver like Elliott (Sadler) and the young guys Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed . "We have had a great deal of history in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and we are happy to have Bubba as the latest piece of that rich legacy." The addition of Wallace to the Ford camp is a boost for the automaker as well. "We're thrilled to have Bubba Wallace be part of our Ford Mustang racing efforts," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing . "His winning performances since becoming part of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program have certainly made him one of the drivers in the sport to watch in the future, and we think he can bring a lot to Roush Fenway and Ford, both on and off the track." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Roush Fenway Racing unveiled a 2015 lineup that features Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne. All three drivers describe the struggles of the team in 2014 and talk about what they are working on to make the upcoming season a success.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Even in the moments Chris Buescher was celebrating his NASCAR XFINITY Series title Saturday night, his team owner Jack Roush was suggesting that the newly-crowned champion might end up in the Sprint Cup Series in 2016. The only question seemed to be whether it would be a full-time ride or a part-time gig. "We're still not sure what his arrangement is going to be next year,'' Roush said. "He will be involved in a Cup car to some extent, but whether it's a part ‑ time program or a full program, we're still in the midst of finalizing the conditions today. "We've got a number of possibilities, but we're not ready to announce that today." While Roush is still securing details, it was all news to Buescher. Reporters told Buescher of Roush's comments -- made before the driver came into the deadline media room at Homestead-Miami Speedway -- but the newly crowned champ wasn't ready to confirm a change beyond his intent to run a full XFINITY schedule in 2016. Buescher made six Cup starts this season in the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford with a best finish of 20th at Fontana. "So I've been clear, I'm not in a rush,'' Buescher, 23, said Saturday after celebrating his XFINITY Series title. "If it comes around -- and that's the first I've heard of that, by the way -- so it's kind of like the radio interview where Jack said something four months ago and I found out from my dad. "But you know, if that's what it brings, then I'll do my best to prepare for it and be ready, and if not, we'll go try and double up on these XFINITY championships. "Right now we're living in the moment, and that's a big weight off our shoulders. We get to calm down a little bit, get to celebrate, get to enjoy the banquet, going to do some offshore fishing while we're down here in Florida, and get ready for 2016."
After rejecting 'easy' decision to leave, veteran embraces team's new outlook Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For all the change that Roush Fenway Racing has undergone entering the 2015 NASCAR season, Greg Biffle remains the organization's constant, a cornerstone driver who first started his career with team owner Jack Roush in the Camping World Truck Series in 1998. But with the team firmly in rebuilding mode after its recent slide toward substandard performance, Biffle shed light on just how close he came to following the path of two prominent former teammates out the door. Biffle plumbed the depths of the company's recent low points Wednesday during the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, saying that he had fielded offers from "great teams" to drive elsewhere. Ultimately, the 45-year-old driver made the choice to stay, in an effort to help lead the team out of its dark days. "You know, loyalty in this world only goes so far," Biffle said. "… I felt like I had to wrestle with the decision on whether I leave or not. It makes it easy to leave, it's easy to kick a guy when he's down, right? So we were having tremendous trouble last year, and I've been there through three of these cycles, and we're not going to sugar-coat it -- last year, we were at the bottom of the heap compared to the teams. We just were, and no light at the end of the tunnel, and so it would've been an easy way for me to leave at that point. "But knowing that the stock is at the lowest price that it's been at, sometimes that's the opportunity. It's going to go up. It doesn't have to, but logic says it's going to go up, and so I wrestled with it and sat long and hard about it and said, 'I want to be the guy that brings this organization back out of where we're at. We're in a bad place. I could jump ship right now.' And I decided I didn't want to do that. I was going to give it another opportunity." Biffle's tenure with Roush Fenway includes an enviable collection of career highlights -- 19 victories in the top-level Sprint Cup Series and championships in both the XFINITY Series (2002) and the truck circuit (2000). Even though he managed to qualify for last season's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, his losing streak stretched to 57 -- nearing the longest dry spell of his career. Only Carl Edwards won races at the Sprint Cup level for RFR last year, and he departed in the offseason to restart his career at Joe Gibbs Racing . That move followed a similar career shift by Matt Kenseth -- another longtime Roush Fenway competitor -- just two years earlier. Biffle could've been the third domino to fall, but even with all the frayed emotions, the connections he'd established over the years kept him from severing those ties. "I stayed for relationships and things that I had built for a long period of time that I really cared about, and that was one of my decisions that really weighed on me to stay," Biffle said. "After I elected to stay, other people didn't and so I was left holding the bag a little bit, but I can't say enough about the partnerships that we've created since then. "I can talk forever about what's gone on, and I hate to keep -- so to speak, the cliché -- beat the dead horse. We all recognized the position we were in last year. We were drowning and we were trying to get to the surface, and it was difficult on all of us. All the relationships were all taxed, between me and my crew chief, the other drivers, the team engineers, the simulation group, and then fabrication, the guys hanging the (car) bodies. We were all taxed because we were not performing." Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark admitted that the offseason mission of rebuilding the team's stature in the sport had come with some soul searching. The organization has made plenty of offseason strides to meet the goals -- primarily through digging to the root cause of what went wrong in 2014 and closing the gap on its rivals in the technology department. But it's also revamped its mindset in more subtle ways, freshening the look of the shop and bringing it up to more state-of-the-art standards. Even though the overhaul has been dramatic, Newmark said losing Biffle was a change the team couldn't afford to withstand. "It was critical," Newmark said. "Greg and I spent a lot of time talking. He was solicited by a lot of teams, which I would expect with a driver of that caliber. After a lot of the discussions, I think he felt like Roush was the right fit for him and the right place, and he and Jack had some unfinished business. But he brings an element that we wouldn't have had without him. We have a lot of other talented drivers, but none of them has had the history with both our organization and the championships, so he's been fantastic." Though Biffle cracked in his opening remarks that Jack Roush , 72, had been racing Ford products since 1901, it's clear the team has begun to skew younger as it enters its 28th year in NASCAR. Biffle will race alongside third-year driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., 27, and 23-year-old Trevor Bayne , promoted to his first full season in the Sprint Cup Series. Change isn't all bad, as Biffle was quick to mention the championship fruits of the first-year partnership between Kevin Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing last season. Taken a step further, Biffle said Roush Fenway's expectations equal those of the title-winning No. 4 team. "We're all that confident," Biffle said. "We all feel that good that that's the position we're in now. Everyone's so excited about the way our company looks, about how everybody's getting along and how excited everybody is to work together again, and on a common goal. We all feel really good." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Team hires Mark McArdle and Kevin Kidd to senior positions RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Seeking to bolster its Sprint Cup Series performance in 2015, Roush Fenway Racing announced the hirings of Mark McArdle and Kevin Kidd to senior competition positions with the organization. McArdle will oversee engineering for the organization's Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series teams as the team's engineering director, while Kidd will serve as the Sprint Cup Series team manager, supervising at-track operations. Kidd will move into his new role at the conclusion of the 2014 season. "I'm confident that having Mark and Kevin in two key positions will make our organization even stronger next season," team co-owner Jack Roush said in a team release. "Mark has a pedigree in racing that spans multiple platforms and speaks for itself in terms of results. He has a reputation not only for success, but as a great manager and motivator. "Kevin is recognized in the garage area as one of the brightest minds in our sport," Roush said. "He has acquired invaluable experience working with both veteran and drivers, and will be a great asset to our Sprint Cup program week in and week out at the race track. We look forward to bringing both Mark and Kevin on board and welcoming them into the fold." McArdle has spent the past 15 years working in NASCAR, most recently working as the director of racing operation at Richard Childress Racing . He is also known for his work in the IndyCar circuit and as an engine builder. He boasts three victories in the Indianapolis 500 with Penske Racing in 1991, 1993 and 1994. Kidd has served as the crew chief for Joe Gibbs Racing 's No. 20 Nationwide Series car since 2010. In that time, he has three wins atop the pit box. Roush Fenway's race teams will look a little different next season as previously announced. On the Sprint Cup side, Trevor Bayne will make the move to a full-time Cup ride with the No. 6 car, while Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr . will remain in the No. 16 and No. 17 cars respectively. In the XFINITY Series, Ryan Reed (No. 16) and Chris Buescher (No. 60) will be joined by veteran driver Elliott Sadler , who will pilot the No. 1 Ford. Sadler's move was announced last weekend. Roush Fenway has one driver left in the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in Carl Edwards , who is heading to Joe Gibbs Racing next season. Edwards is currently sixth in the standings but just one point out of the final transfer spot to the Championship Round heading into Sunday's Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Phoenix International Raceway . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Widespread changes ahead for Roush Fenway Racing in 2015 MORE: See who is on the move for 2015 Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief Bob Osborne will return to the pit box in 2015, as Roush Fenway Racing officials have announced their 2015 driver/crew chief lineup for the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series. Osborne, who guided former RFR driver Carl Edwards to 18 Sprint Cup victories between 2004 and 2012, will serve as crew chief for Trevor Bayne and the No. 6 RFR Ford team in the Sprint Cup Series. The move was one of two lineup changes announced involving RFR Sprint Cup teams. In addition to the return of Osborne, Nick Sandler, former lead engineer under Jimmy Fennig on the No. 99 team of Edwards, has been named crew chief for Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and the No. 17 team. He replaces Mike Kelley, who will serve as car chief for the Stenhouse team. Veteran driver Greg Biffle will once again be teamed with crew chief Greg Puccia. In a release announcing the changes, team co-owner Jack Roush said the organization was excited about the 2015 crew chief lineup. "Much like our driver lineup, our crew chief assembly features a quality mix of veteran leadership and youthful insight," Roush said. "We feel this lineup, combined with the addition of Kevin Kidd to oversee our Sprint Cup efforts, is a big step forward in the direction of placing our teams up front and contending week-in and week-out." Osborne, 40, helped guide Edwards to four top-five points finishes during his previous tenure with the team, including runner-up finishes in 2008 and '11. In July of 2012, he stepped down from his role due to health reasons but has remained an important part of the RFR engineering team. "Bob Osborne is a proven commodity," Roush said. "He will bring a strong veteran presence to the No. 6 … team, as Trevor Bayne makes the transition to full-time Sprint Cup racing ." Bayne finished sixth in points in the XFINITY Series in 2013-14 with RFR, while also running a limited Sprint Cup Series schedule with Wood Brothers Racing . The Knoxville, Tennessee native won the 2011 Daytona 500 while paired with the Wood Brothers. Stenhouse Jr., twice a NASCAR Nationwide (now XFINITY ) Series champion, has struggled since making the move to Sprint Cup in 2013. Initially paired with crew chief Scott Graves, he finished 19th in points. Kelley, who steered Stenhouse Jr. to the two titles, was brought on board for 2014, but Stenhouse fell to 27th in points. Sandler, a native of Asheville, North Carolina, "has a strong engineering background with the company," said Roush , "and his time working hand-in-hand with Jimmy Fennig over the past few seasons will prove invaluable as the takes the helm of the No. 17." Fennig, the long-time crew chief who stepped down at the end of '14, has been named research and development coordinator for RFR. Fennig was the 2004 championship-winning crew chief with driver Kurt Busch . Included among his 40 career wins as a crew chief are two Daytona 500 victories -- in 1988 with NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bobby Allison and in 2012 with Matt Kenseth . "Jimmy's experience is unparalleled in our sport and I anticipate his input in this new role will have a major influence in a positive direction across the board with all of our teams going forward," Roush said. For the XFINITY Series, the driver/crew chief pairings of Ryan Reed and Seth Barbour, Chris Buescher and Scott Graves will remain unchanged. Elliott Sadler , who made the move from Joe Gibbs Racing to RFR during the offseason, will be paired with Phil Gould, former crew chief for Brian Scott at Richard Childress Racing . And Darrell Wallace Jr ., third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings last season with Kyle Busch Motorsports, will be paired with crew chief Chad Norris as he runs an XFINITY Series slate for the organization. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Veteran to pilot No. 1 Ford in XFINITY Series RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Elliott Sadler will join Roush Fenway Racing in 2015 to compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, according to the organization and sponsor OneMain Financial. Sadler, currently competing for Joe Gibbs Racing , will pilot the No. 1 RFR Ford. A 10-time winner in the series, he is fourth in points heading into Saturday’s O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET). "It's an honor to remain with OneMain Financial next year," Sadler said. "I’m thrilled for the opportunity to race under the OneMain Financial banner and team up with Roush Fenway Racing to compete for the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship in 2015." The 39-year-old Sadler has 260 career starts in the series with 16 poles and 128 top-10 finishes. He is also a three-time winner in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. He is one of 24 drivers to win at least one race in each of NASCAR’s three national series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series). OneMain, previously CitiFinancial, has a prior sponsor relationship with RFR. "They are a first-class organization from top to bottom," said Steve Newmark, president of RFR. "We enjoyed a great partnership in the past and we look forward to reigniting that relationship moving forward next season. "(Elliott) is a seasoned veteran and a winner on the track. He brings a reputation as a fierce competitor and I know that our entire organization … will benefit from his experience next season." Sadler will join current RFR drivers Ryan Reed and Chris Buescher . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Roush Fenway Racing is the only organization Biffle has competed for in the Cup Series
Trio of Roush drivers aims to improve in 2014