One of the biggest announcements of the Brickyard 400 weekend was that Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards would not be returning to the stable in 2015. In my honest opinion, this was beyond unprofessional by Jack Roush, especially on the morning of the fifth and final major of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Sadly, this is not the first time Roush Fenway Racing has shot itself in the foot. On the other hand, the organization could have made this announcement later in the season, but chose not to. The organization tends to instigate conflict unnecessarily if they feel wronged. Honestly, it is just childish behavior. Perhaps I am too young, but I have not seen other organizations, big or small, pull these sort of shenanigans.
What the organization needs to do is maintain a healthy, stable relationship with all drivers, but they have not done so. Let’s face it, Jack Roush was not surprised that Kenseth wanted to leave. How long was Roush going to make Ricky Stenhouse Jr., a two-time Nationwide Series champion, wait for a ride? The Roush stable has suffered for years because they have failed to adapt to the new economic environment. Sponsors continue to leave the sport here and there, and Roush continues to see sponsors and drivers head for the exit.
Carl Edwards is Roush Fenway’s only shot to win the championship this season, but it is not going to happen. Yes, he will be in 16 car chase field, but he will be a contender. The Roush stable struggles every week regardless of the two wins Carl Edwards has this season. As a result, the loss of Edwards is a monumental loss for Roush Fenway Racing.
In 2015, Roush Fenway Racing will feature three drivers. Let’s be blunt, the driver lineup is decrepit. Greg Biffle is the strongest guy in the stable, his teammate, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., only has two-career top five finishes.
Trevor Bayne finally got the call to race full-time in the Sprint Cup Series. He has a Daytona 500 championship on his resume, but it is his only finish inside the top five to date. If tandem racing is not a lottery, I do not know what is. Two cars hook up on the race track and push each other around for a couple of hours, no sugar coating there. It does not matter who hooked up with who. James Hylton could have won the 2011 Daytona 500 had he started. With that being said, one Daytona 500 win, does not equal success in the long run.
If Roush Fenway Racing can figure out the ride height, a title run could be in the works, however, that has yet to be accomplished as a team. If poor performance continues, Roush Fenway could be the next Robert Yates Racing, a team of irrelevancy, leaving Team Penske as the only competitive Ford team.