Jack Roush has been the one of the most dominant Ford team owners in NASCAR history. At the Cup level, he’s won 135 races. In what I still like to think of as the Busch Series, but lately known as the Xfinity Series, Jack has 137 race wins. In what’s now the Camping World Truck Series, Roush has 50 wins. You do the math. I’m better with typing words.
In the last few years, Jack Roush has had three very important drivers leave him. First was Mark Martin, who never won a Cup championship, but won tons of races for his owner in all 3 of NASCAR’s top series. After a fairly short but successful run in Rick Hendrick’s Chevrolets, Mark retired.
Next, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards successively jumped ship from Jack Roush’s team and joined Joe Gibbs Racing, where both drivers have found much success.
Greg Biffle announced he was leaving RFR after the 2016 season. Greg used to be a regular contender to win most events, but hasn’t won a race in the Cup series since 2013.
At one time, Jack Roush was the king of Ford racing. Apparently he is no more. That title has been taken over by Roger Penske, as far as Ford Racing goes.
What happened to Ford in the NASCAR series? Especially in the Cup Series? In the last few years, no Ford driver has been able to win much except the Penske teams. Roush-Fenway Racing has won no Cup races since forever. All, and I mean ALL the Ford engines are built by Roush-Yates Engines. Penske seems to be doing something with these engines. Why are not other teams?
Richard Petty Racing has had some good finishes over the last few year, but wins are scarce. The Wood Brothers have had a good 21 car with Ryan Blaney, but it still has been weak against the Penske cars.
Do I have a solution for that difference? Not really. No one gets to the top level of NASCAR racing unless they are a good race driver. Does Penske have better engine guys that the rest of the Ford teams? I think it’s a good bet that they do.
Penske has been a big factor in NASCAR as well as other series for a very long time. It’s entirely possible that Roger Penske has brought in some people from his other racing ventures to make the 2 and 22 cars maybe a little more competitive than other Ford race cars. I don’t know that, but what else explains the complete downfall of Roush-Fenway Racing?
Stewart-Haas Racing has announced that they are switching from Chevrolet, powered by Hendrick engines and such, over to Ford for next year. I have to wonder why, but then again, I don’t know for sure. I’m guessing that Ford Motor Company is giving them a better deal than Chevrolet can offer.
Will SHR build their own engines with Ford parts? Probably not. Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Tony Stewart, all present or former drivers of SHR have won NASCAR Cup championships, though only Harvick has won with SHR as an owner. Harvick seems to be fine with the change in manufacturers. I admire him. If I were him, I’d be nervous about my immediate future.
Chevy has dominated the sport for several years. This year, Toyota came along and destroyed the field on most race days. Joe Gibbs Racing probably felt like it deserved the Cup trophy because they dominated in so many races.
My question is this: Joe Gibbs Racing has some of the best talent in all of NASCAR, but did these drivers suddenly get so good in 2016 that it seemed like they were winning every week? It seemed like it to me.
Toyota gets the most wins, Ford gets a championship team away from Chevrolet, and it’s possible that Dodge may make another charge into NASCAR. Are there shenanigans going on in NASCAR?
Next year will tell. Can formerly Chevy teams win with Ford? Will Toyota’s time as the fastest brand run out? If I were Brian France, I could probably tell you. As PattyKay Lilley has told us before, follow the money.