Roush Fenway Racing downsizes NASCAR Cup Series team for 2017
Roush Fenway scaling back to a two-car team is among a series of restructuring moves within the organization, including farming Chris Buescher out to JTG Daugherty Racing.
Roush Fenway Racing is contracting from a three-car NASCAR Cup Series operation to two for the 2017 season, the team announced Tuesday.
Going forward Roush Fenway will only field Fords for Trevor Bayne (No. 6) and Ricky Stenhouse (No. 17) and shutter the No. 16 car previously driven by Greg Biffle, who revealed last week he’s leaving the organization after 19 years.
The third team charter Roush Fenway possessed, for what had been Biffle’s team, will be loaned to JTG Daugherty Racing for 2017, as will driver Chris Buescher, who drove for Roush Fenway affiliate Front Row Motorsports in 2016.
Roush Fenway has not won a race since 2014 and failed to have a driver qualify earn a Chase playoff berth in each of the past two years. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ranked a team-best 21st in the 2016 standings, with Bayne 22nd and Biffle 23rd.
The team also made a series of personnel moves. Crew chief Brian Pattie will shift from Biffle’s team to Stenhouse’s, while former Stenhouse crew chief Nick Sadler will now lead Roush Fenway’s engineering department. Kevin Kidd is now the competition director, replacing former general manager Robbie Reiser, who was reassigned within the organization, and Tommy Wheeler was named operations manager.
“We feel that this will continue to move us in a direction that will yield improved performance and results,” Roush Fenway co-owner Jack Roush said in a statement. “We saw improvement in our cars and made substantial gains in our performance at times last season, and we will continue to build on that by maintaining a robust engineering group in order to take the next step by consistently running up front.”
JTG Daugherty’s acquisition of a second charter allows it to expand to a two-car team. In addition to fielding a full-time entry for Buescher, AJ Allmendinger will continue driving the No. 47 Chevrolet, as he has since 2013. A car number, crew chief and sponsorship for Buescher have not been disclosed.
Buescher remains under contract to Roush Fenway, and per NASCAR rules the team must either take back its charter from JTG Daugherty in 2018 or sell it.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity and look forward to competing for a spot in the Chase,” Buescher said.