Lagging behind: What’s wrong with Roush Fenway Racing?
This weekend we are at the 2-mile track in Michigan. A lot of teams have tested there and everyone agrees that joint is going to be nothing short of bad-fast. The combination of the Gen-6 car with the 2014 rules package is going to make for some blistering laps in practice, qualifying and the race. Think about this — in 14 races, we have already set nine new track records.
To be honest, I really didn’t expect them to set a new track record last weekend at Pocono, but they did. I am again not expecting one this weekend at Michigan, while at the same time, I won’t be surprised if they do. Similar to what we saw at Pocono, Michigan will be about more of the same.
It’s all about horsepower. It’s about handling. It can turn into, and I hate saying it, but it can turn into a fuel-mileage race. We’ve seen it happen too many times in the past to discount that as a possibility Sunday. I also look for the same crowd that was strong last Sunday to be equally as strong this Sunday.
So what does that mean? It means look for the Penske Fords of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano to be strong. Then naturally you have the organization that has literally dominated Victory Lane this past month and that’s Hendrick Motorsports. Remember as a team, Hendrick has won the last four NASCAR Sprint Cup point races. Their engine program has actually won the last five races in a row with Jamie McMurray winning the Sprint All-Star Race for car owner Chip Ganassi with Hendrick power under the hood of his Chevrolet.
Last Saturday at Pocono, there was a point in practice where of the top 10 fastest cars, nine of them had Hendrick engines. So obviously they are cranking out some serious horsepower and, like I mentioned earlier, that’s something you want as much of as you can get when it comes to racing at Michigan.
Joe Gibbs Racing is one group I am going to be watching closely this weekend. Unfortunately, Matt Kenseth and that No. 20 simply don’t have it right now. They are definitely struggling. Kyle Busch was just okay at Pocono. Denny Hamlin sat on the pole and finished fourth, so maybe that’s a little sign of hope of there.
The other group I am also keeping an eye on will be the Roush Fenway Fords, particularly the No. 16 of Greg Biffle. As of late, Michigan has been Greg’s personal playground. Unfortunately, last Sunday at Pocono they were a non-factor and finished back in 16th. You just have to believe it is driving Greg and all of them on the No. 16 car absolutely nuts.
You just know as an organization, too, that Roush Fenway Racing has to be pulling their hair out when they look across the garage area each week and see those Penske Fords up front week in and week out. Both camps have the same cars and engine packages, yet Penske is clearly head and shoulders ahead of the Roush camp.
Don’t get me wrong, Roush Fenway has great people over there, but I just don’t know if they have done enough to bring in fresh people with fresh ideas as of late. I just think until they do that, they will continue to simply struggle as an organization.