They have been successful over the years and won their first two championships in consecutive years before Jimmie Johnson’s dominance took over the sport in 2006. In 2003, Matt Kenseth won the championship and in 2004 Kurt Busch, driving for Roush Fenway Racing at the time, won the second one.
Roush Fenway Racing has put together an impressive team of drivers with the big three being Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle who will be working hard to dethrone Jimmie Johnson and bring a championship back to Roush Fenway Racing. This is a prime crew of drives to choose from for fantasy racing.
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Car Number: 99
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Carl Edwards hopes to get to do his trademark back flip this year with the Sprint Cup Championship this year. He has been close over the years finishing in the Top 5 of the point standings three times in the past six years. This past season he finished fourth and rebounded nicely from a frustrating year in 2009 when he finished 11th and was not able to win one race.
There was no driver who finished 2010 stronger than Carl Edwards who won the last two races of the season. He was able to win the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Speedway as well as the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He also had more Top 5 finishes (9) and Top 10 finishes (19) than in 2009. He also had the second highest average finish of his career at 11.5 as well as the second highest average start at 15.2.
Last season, he had his best average finish on the short tracks at 8.9 and finished in the Top 10 in five out of the six races last season. However, he won his two races on intermediate size tracks and had 11 Top 10 finishes in 24 races and has shown to be a strong driver on these types of tracks over the past three years. In 72 races he has 10 wins, with 43 Top 10 finishes and an average finish of 11.5.
2011 Outlook: Carl Edwards is one of the top drivers in NASCAR right now and should be one of Jimmie Johnson’s top competitors for the championship down the stretch. He won nine races back in 2008 and after a down year in 2009 looked to have regained some confidence in 2010. I expect Edwards to finish around the Top 5 in the points standings in 2011 and if a certain things fall in his favor, there is no reason he can’t finish with a championship.
He doesn’t necessarily have a type of track that he is a sure bet but he has seen most of his success on the intermediate tracks. Over the past three years his two top tracks have been Homestead-Miami Speedway, where his average finish is 3.0 in three races and Michigan International Speedway where he has an average finish of 5.2 in six races.
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Car Number: 17
Crew Chief: Drew Blickensderfer
The 2003 Champion had struggled for a few years until rebounding nicely in 2010 and now has his sights set on trying to win a second championship in 2011. After missing the chase in 2008 and finishing 11th in 2009, he was able to finish 5th this past season and did so without winning a race last year. If Matt Kenseth wants to win his second championship, he will definitely need to find a way into the winner circle a couple of times next year.
Last year, Kenseth had an average start of 19.4 which is not very good but he did drive well and had an average finish of 12.8. Kenseth should improve on that average start and if he does it will only help him improve where he finishes the race as he won’t have to work as much to get to the front of the pack. His best finishes came at the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta and the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, where he finished second both times.
Matt Kenseth had six Top 5 finishes and 15 Top 10 finishes but saw most of his success on the intermediate tracks last year. In 24 races on these tracks he had five of his six Top 5 finishes and 12 of his Top 10 finishes. Also over the past three years he has had an average finish of 13.3 on intermediate tracks, which is his best average finish of all the tracks.
2011 Outlook: Matt Kenseth had a good bounce back year in 2010 and hopes to build on that in 2011. I am sure he wants to go out and win his second championship but I don’t see that happening this year. He will be competitive and will finish in the points standings somewhere between fifth and tenth but will need to find a way to win more races in 2011 to move up in the standings. Matt Kenseth best chance of winning some races will come at Dover International Speedway, where he has an average finish of 5.7 and has finished in the Top 5 five times in six races. He also has had success at Texas Motor Speedway where he has finished in the Top 10 five times in six races and has had an average finish of 8.0.
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Car Number: 16
Crew Chief: Greg Erwin
Another driver who will be in discussions for the Championship in 2011 is Greg Biffle who finished sixth in the points standings last year. Biffle had a very up and down year but did qualify for the Chase for the third straight year. He had two wins this past season, the first coming at the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono and the second win taking place at the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway.
He had nine Top 5 finishes and 19 Top 10 finishes but ended the year with an average finish of 15.4 which is surprising since he did have as many wins and top finishes. This means that Biffle had an up and down year because when he was good he was good but when he was having an off race he was really bad. There were seven races last year that he finished below 25th. If Biffle wants to compete for a championship next year he will need to do a better job of finishing as well as he can when he might not have the best day.
2011 Outlook: Greg Biffle has won championships before both at the Nationwide level and in the Camping World Truck Series, so he knows what it takes to win. He has been close to getting the championship at the NASCAR level finishing second in 2005 and third in 2008. He will need to become more consistent if he wants to challenge and this season I see him finishing once again somewhere between fifth and tenth in the points standings like Kenseth. Biffle has been very successful over the past three years at Kansas Speedway with 3 Top 5 finishes and 1 win. Another race track to use Biffle next year is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he has finished in the Top 10 in all three races and has an average finish of 5.0.