Roush Fenway Remains One of the Best

by Whitney Bates on March 25, 2008 @ 13:34:03 PDT

 


As the 2008 racing season moves forward, legendary car owner Jack Roush, aka "The Cat in the Hat," has to be pleased with the overall start of his five teams. The Roush Fenway Racing (RFR) organization, which is one of NASCAR's largest premier racing teams, has a history of winning. They won back-to-back Sprint Cup championships in 2003 and 2004 while consistently fielding at least two drivers in the Chase standings over the last few years. Another solid season appears to be in the books, but what does the future really hold for RFR's Sprint Cup drivers: Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray and David Ragan?

Table: 2008 Sprint Cup Standings vs. 2007 Standings (First Five Races)

Driver
2008
2007
2
16
16
10
11
4
36
18
21
22

Biffle is in a much stronger position than he was in 2007, while Edwards, Kenseth and McMurray are behind from where they were a year ago. Ragan's position in the standings is virtually unchanged from last season. Roush Fenway can claim success with Biffle's second-place position in the points standings and Ragan's consistency, but are the rest of the teams driving below their potential?

While the majority of results from the first five races are below their '07 results, the numbers don't point exclusively to a losing season for any of the Roush Fenway drivers. In contrast, they have had considerable success in the first five races, battling back from rain delays, minor accidents, a points infraction for the No. 99 team and equipment issues.

Table: 2008 Race Results

Race
Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway
10th
19th
36th
26th
42nd
Auto Club 500, Auto Club Speedway
15th
1st
5th
22nd
14th
UAW-Dodge 400, Las Vegas Motor Speedway
3rd
1st
20th
25th
7th
Kobalt Tools 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway
4th
42nd
8th
40th
23rd
Food City 500, Bristol Motor Speedway
4th
16th
10th
43rd
21st

Greg Biffle

In 191 career starts, Biffle has racked up 12 wins, four poles and 38 top-five finishes. This talented driver from Vancouver, Wash., who is arguably having his best start to a Sprint Cup season, has registered three consecutive top-five finishes. Biffle also leads the Sprint Cup Series in quality passes, making 312 of them since the start of the season. Quality passes are defined as a pass of a car running in the top 15 while under green-flag conditions. 

Look for Biffle's success to continue, as he carries the momentum of his early season gains throughout the season. His current success should make the No. 16 car a solid play, especially at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he has won three times in six starts.

Carl Edwards

In 2005, Edwards drove to Victory Lane twice in one weekend, making history as the first driver to win both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series events in the same weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He also became the only driver in NASCAR history to garner both of his first wins in each series the same weekend. Edwards, who celebrates victories with back flips off of his car, continues to have reasons to celebrate. He has made the Chase twice in three years and more recently won back to back races this season. Even though Edwards is not currently in the top 10, he has won two of the five races; he is a solid play on intermediate tracks and road courses. Look for the No. 99 team to be especially successful at Texas Motor Speedway, where Edwards has won in the past and where Roush Fenway drivers are among the best contenders.

Matt Kenseth

From his Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award in 2000, to Roush Fenway's first Sprint Cup championship in 2003, Kenseth enters his ninth full season in the Cup Series with 297 starts, 16 wins, 80 top-five finishes and 145 top-10 finishes. In 2008, Kenseth led one lap in the Daytona 500 and has three top-10 finishes. Even though Kenseth hasn't taken the checkered flag this season on the Cup circuit, he picked up a win in the Nationwide Series in Atlanta. Look for Kenseth's experience to make the No. 17 team a strong fantasy pick throughout the remainder of the season. 

Jamie McMurray

McMurray won the second race he ran in Sprint Cup racing in 2002, and he went on to win the 2007 Pepsi 400 by .005 of a second. Those two wins are the only ones he has produced to this point and has been nothing more than average outside of those two wins. While McMurray's 2008 season has gotten off to a rough start with equipment issues and unfavorable track conditions, the No. 26 team may look to the Roush Fenway stable of teams to help pick up their season. Until McMurray can gain any kind of momentum, the No. 26 team is not an ideal pick for fantasy play. 

David Ragan

Ragan, the 2007 runner-up for Rookie of the Year, is showing great promise as a young driver for Roush Fenway. Based on his proven consistency, and his seventh-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Ragan makes the No. 6 team a solid option for fantasy play on a weekly basis.

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About Whitney Bates

Bates has been a KFFL contributor since January 2008.

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