By Matt Weaver — The struggles at Roush Fenway Racing this year have been well documented but senior driver @GregBiffle believes the turnaround has already started.
Biffle finished 13th in the Brickyard 400, fifth at Pocono and eighth at Watkins Glen — all high speed venues that have given RFR employees fits this season. Even Ricky @StenhouseJr, the oft-struggling two-time Nationwide Series champion has shown additional speed in recent weeks.
Carl Edwards remains the pillar of consistency, advancing to sixth in the Sprint Cup Series championship standings.
All told, the fruit of the team’s labor is starting to pay dividends when it matters most leading up to the Chase.
“I’ve been in the shop every week and we’ve been doing a tremendous amount of work,” Biffle said during the weekly NASCAR teleconference on Wednesday. “Anyone can see it. We certainly can admit that we’re off this season as an organization. We made some choices at the beginning of the season (and) went down a road engineering-wise and car-wise that we thought to be the best — and everybody put 100 percent effort, full focus on that direction — and obviously it turned out to be a little bit of the wrong direction.
“So now we’re trying to backtrack that and see where we made mistakes and trying to back that up and refocus for the end of this season and 2015.”
That echoes the sentiment of long-time Roush driver Jeff Burton, who told Popular Speed in July that his former team likely made a misstep in its technical direction and that it’s going to take a larger amount of time to correct it.
“When you miss on something and you don’t have speed in this sport, that can be awfully hard to overcome,” Burton said. “But they’ll pull through this because they always do.
“We know it’s not the engine so look at (Team) Penske and the success they are having this year. So if it isn’t horsepower, you’ve got to look at the aero and chassis — that’s where they are losing speed. They’ve set down a path this season that hasn’t quite worked out and they are having a hard time getting out of it.”
Biffle says the team took a step back during the summer months and realized some of the mistakes they had made. He also conceded that they did not become apparent until they played itself out.
“It wasn’t blaring out,” Biffle said. “You have to pick a direction and it’s not from a lack of effort. Everybody has been working hard and these things happen to the best of race teams.”
Biffle added that Roush Fenway Racing has “never been down two years in a row” and that the team is starting to again show signs of considerable improvement
“I feel that’s going to continue to show its hand these last races whether we make the Chase or not. I think you’re going to really see our team become more and more and more competitive right up until the end of the season.”
With two wins this season, Edwards is locked into the Chase. Biffle is the first driver on the outside of the provisional Chase Grid, eight points behind Clint Bowyer for the final spot awarded to a driver without a win.
Stenhouse is 27th in the standings and a trip to Victory Lane is his only hope to make the NASCAR playoffs.