(WOMR file photo)
When Matt Kenseth left Roush Fenway Racing to join Joe Gibbs Racing after the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season, it was widely hailed as a win-win for both JGR and Team Penske.
JGR improved dramatically after Kenseth replaced Joey Logano, and Penske improved a like amount by picking up Logano, who disappointed at JGR but has since become a bona fide championship threat.
Lost in that win-win narrative, in 2013, was that RFR actually got worse, with Kenseth’s departure and subsequent replacement with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. And with the news this past Sunday that Carl Edwards is leaving Roush, almost certainly to join JGR next year, RFR could take another huge hit.
In 2011, RFR drivers Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Edwards combined for four victories (David Ragan also won once in a now-defunct fourth team car), 34 top-five and 56 top-10 finishes. In 2012, the final year the three were together at RFR, Kenseth, Biffle and Edwards totaled five victories, 28 top fives and 53 top 10s.
Last year, RFR’s lineup of Biffle, Edwards, and Stenhouse had just three victories, 14 top fives and 32 top 10s. One race past the halfway point of 2014, these three have two victories (both by Edwards who is leaving RFR), 7 top fives and 17 top 10s.
By comparison, last year JGR had 12 victories, 32 top fives and 51 top 10s. And that was a season that saw Denny Hamlin injured and reduced to the role of in-race test driver for much of the second half of the season.
With a 24th-place finish in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, Stenhouse moved past girlfriend Danica Patrick to move up to 27th in the Sprint Cup points standings. Kenseth, the guy Stenhouse replaced, is fourth in points now.