It was a brutal day for the Roush Fenway group last week at Watkins Glen International, as they saw David Ragan get drilled into the wall several times on the final lap and Greg Biffle nearly came to blows with Boris Said, Roush Fenway is all but hoping for some “normalcy” this Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.
MIS is directly located in the backyard of team founder Jack Roush’s engineering program in Livonia, Mich., as well as being centrally located to the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn.
For years MIS has been known as “the house that Roush built”, and that comes with very little surprise. Roush Fenway has won 11 races at this prized track within the “Irish hills” of Michigan. Known as a very wide track with multiple racing grooves, Roush looks at this track as being crucial to making the Chase.
There are a total of two drivers in the Roush Fenway organization that has a pair of wins at Michigan (Edwards and Kenseth), but Greg Biffle and David Ragan are hoping to get their taste of victory Sunday.
“It drives like a big dirt track. It’s a big, slick, wide race track,” Edwards said. “You slide the car all the way around the corners. I really like Michigan. It’s fun, and our cars have been very good there.”
Out of those 11 wins, Edwards gave Roush the most recent victory, winning the second race in 2008. Since that season, four different drivers and teams have won the five Michigan races- Mark Martin (Hendrick Motorsports), Brian Vickers (Red Bull Racing), Kevin Harvick (Richard Childress Racing), and Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing).
Having said all of that, is it time to start writing off Roush Fenway at MIS? I think not, as all four Roush Fenway cars qualified well today.
“I feel like every time we go there we’ve got a chance to win,” said Edwards, who has the best average finish of any Cup driver at Michigan, an impressive 6.214. “The last race I think we were leading when the caution came out at the end and we ended up third or fifth or something, but I felt like we could have won that one. I’m ready to go back. Our cars are better now than they were and that’ll be really cool.”
The driver with the second-best average finish is Kenseth at 9.500. Kenseth, the 2003 Sprint Cup Champion, is in a prime spot this season, as he sits fifth in points with two race victories, almost guaranteeing him a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
“It’s been a really interesting year for the wild card and who knows what’s gonna happen until we get to Richmond, but I think that’s probably been one of the more exciting changes that NASCAR has made because it gives you all something else to talk about,” said Kenseth.
“You have the top 10 in points and then you have the two guys and who is gonna get the last two spots. Certainly a win is important and two wins is even better, but you still have to be in that top 20, so I think it’s been interesting to watch, especially this year with all the first-time winners – a lot of different winners, a lot of people winning this year that haven’t won in a while, so I think it’s really mixed that up and it’s been fun to follow that. I think that’s gonna be neat to follow that all the way to Richmond.”
With a Roush Fenway front row, I would expect nothing but a productive day from the Ford’s. It will just be interesting to see if they can use this race as a “launching point” for the Chase.