Monday, April 2, 2012

Roush Fenway Rewind: The "Paper Clip" decided to be kind to the Roush Fenway drivers for once


Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR

The drivers that are part of Roush Fenway Racing will be the first people to tell you that Martinsville Speedway isn’t their strongest track as a company. When being interviewed by the media earlier in the week, the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion driver Greg Biffle admitted that the track known as the “paper clip” intimidated him the most, especially during qualifying efforts. Prior to the race, No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion driver Carl Edwards was quoted as saying, “If just one of us had a good run going, we’d have a measuring stick. But, all of us scratch our heads here.”

The Roush Fenway Racing drivers all started the race in the middle of the pack, with No. 17 Stephen Siller Tunnel  to Towers Foundation/Gary Sinise Foundation Ford Fusion driver Matt Kenseth starting 21st, Biffle starting 26th, and Edwards starting 28th.  

Despite some air pressure adjustments for the 99 team, the three drivers were all in the top-20 after a little more than 100 laps into the race. Kenseth had raced his way to 9th position, with Biffle in 16th and Edwards in 18th. Unfortunately, Kenseth would be the only RFR driver to stay on the lead lap the entire race. Edwards fell a lap down by Lap 200, followed by Biffle on lap 225.

Several of the seven cautions of the day proved helpful to Edwards, who often pitted for new tires and more track bar or air pressure adjustments. Biffle often stayed out, allowing him to be the recipient of the “Lucky Dog” wave-around on the 4th caution on Lap 315. It would take Edwards until the seventh caution on the final lap to get his wave-around, allowing all RFR drivers to finish on the lead lap.

Despite being a lap down and dealing with handling issues the entire race, Edwards spirits ran high. During the fourth caution, Edwards solemnly told his crew that he thought the transmission broke on the car. After everyone began to panic, especially crew chief Bob Osborne, Edwards called out “April Fools!” Osborne didn’t seem quite as amused as he told Edwards that he was going to give him a heart attack.

Kenseth ran well the entire race, maintaining a top-10 position for most of the race. His car’s handling never seemed to be much of an issue and he handled the car quite well on the track.  Biffle maintained a position in the top-15  for most of the race, despite being a lap down at times, with Edwards often right behind him.

Due to an incident where the No. 10 car of David Reutimann stalled on the track, a caution would come out with four laps to go in the race. On the restart, the No. 39 of Ryan Newman got into the No. 15 of Clint Bowyer, forcing another caution and a green-white-checker to end the race.

Ryan Newman took the checkered flag, for his first win of the year, and Stewart-Haas Racing’s third team win. Kenseth would finish in a respectable 4th place finish, while Edwards would finish 11th, with Biffle not far behind in 13th.

It looks like the Roush Fenway Racing camp will have some new information to take home to North Carolina, in preparation for the next Martinsville race. Despite reservations mentioned earlier, all three drivers finished well and either maintained or increased their points standings.

Heading into Texas Motor Speedway following an off-week for Easter, Biffle will start the Samsung Mobile 500 still in the points lead. He has a six-point lead over Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who is now 2nd in points. Kenseth is in 5th place, twelve points behind Biffle. Edwards remains in 12th, 47 points behind the leader.

From the Roush Fenway Rewind, I would like to wish you a happy week off and a great holiday weekend. See you at Texas!


Top Tweets of the Week:

Greg Biffle (@gbiffle):
(In response to a fan asking if someone won the lottery and wanted to buy a race team, what would they be in for?) “A lot of work!! And a lot of money!”

Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth):
(Following today’s race): “Great day for team 17 at Martinsville, I’m not mad at anybody, I don’t think anyone is mad at me, and we got a great finish to boot!”

Carl Edwards
Carl remains #TwitterlessCarl

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