Roush Fenway Racing looks for big rebound in 2015

2 Comments

It goes without saying at Roush Fenway Racing: If Jack’s not happy, no one’s happy.

Jack, of course, is team co-owner Jack Roush. And while RFR had some decent showings in 2014, qualifying Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle into the Chase for the Sprint Cup, it wasn’t a great overall season for RFR. The team’s three Fords had two wins, both by Edwards.

Roush made a number of changes during the offseason, particularly with crew chiefs. Bob Osborne moved to Trevor Bayne’s team, and Nick Sandler replaced Mike Kelley as Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s crew chief.

Kelley remains with Stenhouse as car chief, while Sandler – formerly team engineer for Edwards (who left for Joe Gibbs Racing) – will get his first opportunity as a Sprint Cup crew chief.

Greg Biffle, who is the dean of Roush Fenway Racing having joined the team in 1998, kept crew chief Matt Puccia.

Roush is confident his team will rebound in 2015.

“The glass is definitely more than half full,” Roush said. “The hole in our performance was in the mile-and-a-half and two-mile racetracks, which had typically been our strengths. I characterize our changes as tweaks, rather than revolutionary changes.

Biffle, 45, is the elder statesman of Roush Fenway Racing. He struggled through last season, failing to win while managing three top fives and 11 top-10 finishes.

“Last year was certainly a very tough season for us,” Biffle said. “This offseason, with no testing going on, we’ve really agonized over it, but I really feel like it’s been a turning point for Roush Fenway. It gave us the opportunity to step back and look at potentially where we made the wrong turn in the road.

“When you’re racing every week and trying to do this and testing and doing all these things, you’re looking at the problem down low. It wasn’t until we got up higher and really looked at the landscape and decided we made some wrong decisions back possibly over a year ago on the direction with our cars, we really feel like we’ve found some things we’ve done wrong and have righted those things.”

Trevor Bayne, who won the 2011 Daytona 500 for Wood Brothers Racing, will move into Cup full time in the No. 6 Ford and essentially take Edwards’ slot.

“I think Roush Fenway Racing is turning a corner and hopefully we turn it pretty fast here and we can go and contend for some wins this year,” Bayne said.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Here are the starting times for 2020 NTT IndyCar Series action on NBC and NBCSN

INDYCAR Photo
Leave a comment

Another important tidbit for NTT IndyCar Series fans is out as INDYCAR and NBC announced starting times for the 2020 season. The full television schedule is also included.

There are different starting times at four races in 2020 from 2019. Those include the March 15 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of the Americas on April 26, a later starting time for the Saturday night race at Iowa Speedway on July 18 on NBCSN

INDYCAR released the green flag times today for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season that features starting time shifts at four races – St. Petersburg, Circuit of The Americas, Iowa and Mid-Ohio – and the anticipated evening return to Richmond Raceway.

Those four returning races represent the only significant green flag start time changes from a year ago in the 17-race 2020 NTT IndyCar Series schedule, beginning with the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg scheduled for Sunday, March 15.

The August 16 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be moved to an earlier starting time and will be broadcast on NBC. Previously, the race was scheduled for 4:05 p.m., but has been changed to a 12:45 p.m. Eastern Time green flag.

INDYCAR’s return to Richmond Raceway on Saturday, June 27 will begin at 8:15 p.m. ET. That is the only new event on the schedule.

Detailed broadcast information for the entire season will be announced at a later date.

Here are the notable changes to the starting times on the schedule:

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which began at 1:40 p.m. ET this past season, will now have a 3:30 p.m. green flag. The race on the downtown streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., will be celebrating its 10thanniversary as the series’ season opener and be televised on NBC Sports Network.

The AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of The Americas on Sunday, April 26, will have a similar shift, moving from a 1:43 p.m. ET green flag this past season to 4:10 p.m. (3:10 p.m. local) in 2020. The permanent road course in Austin, Texas, will play host to the fourth race of the season and be broadcast on NBCSN.

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway, set for Saturday, July 18, on NBCSN, will be better accommodated for an evening race under the lights with the green flag moving from 7:15 p.m. ET to 9 p.m. (8 p.m. local).

“The return of a night race for INDYCAR at Iowa Speedway is exciting news for our race fans, sponsors, and the entire region,” Iowa Speedway President David Hyatt said. “The cars look great under the lights, and the competition should be even more fierce given what should be cooler conditions. Our track provides some of the best racing you’ll see anywhere, which will be good for attendance. This will be a can’t-miss weekend for all race fans.”

The return to a true night race at Iowa was the result of fans requesting it. The race will begin at 8:00 p.m. CT on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. And for fans and drivers, it is nostalgic, hearkening back to the first race many of them experienced … a night race on a short track.

The series hasn’t held a race that began after dusk at Iowa Speedway since 2015, and drivers and fans are welcoming it. Not only does it look more vibrant — and create sparks as cars bottom out — it also makes for better racing. Tires grip better when the track is cooler. Fans also avoid sweltering conditions during summer afternoons.

The Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday, Aug. 16, will be the only race among the four that moves to an earlier start time. The race, which had a 4:05 p.m. ET start this past season, will shift to a 12:45 p.m. green flag in 2020 and be televised on NBC.

The NTT IndyCar Series heads to Richmond Raceway – the only new addition on the 2020 schedule – for the 11th race of the season on Saturday, June 27. The field will take the green flag at 8:15 ET for the start of the first Indy car race at the .75-mile oval since 2009. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN.