All three Roush Fenway Racing cars battled for much-needed solid finishes in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. In the closing laps, RFR drivers Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Greg Biffle all had good track position, running in the top 10.
Bayne finished fifth for his first top five since winning the 2011 Daytona 500. After being stuck in the bottom lane on late restarts, Biffle and Stenhouse Jr. got shuffled back to 12th and 16th place finishes, respectively.
“Every restart we were on the bottom,” Stenhouse Jr. said. “I thought we had a top-five car there at the end with speed, but we just couldn’t break out.”
Biffle said the advantage on restarts was in the top lane.
“We were up in sixth, and those last two restarts we started on the bottom and that just killed us,” Biffle said. “But I will say that all day long I started on the top. Those last two were the only ones where I didn’t, and that’s just luck. You’re not gonna get the top every time and the last two I didn’t get it.”
Bayne had the preferred top lane for the final three restarts, and it pushed the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford to its fifth-place result.
“We had a really good race car,” Bayne said. “That’s what paid off. You can’t come back if you don’t have good race cars and we’ve got that now.”
Last August at Bristol, RFR’s best finish among the trio was Bayne’s 15th-place showing. Stenhouse Jr. and Biffle finished 21st and 25th respectively, so Sunday’s race marked an improvement in the team’s overall performance at the half-mile track.
This season is shaping up better than 2015 as well. RFR cars compiled a total of only four top-five finishes in 36 races last year, and Biffle was the only driver with an average finish in the top 20. Through the first eight races of 2016 though, the organization has two top fives and two drivers have improved their average overall showing: Bayne’s average is up from 25.8 in 2015 to 19.6 this year, and Stenhouse Jr.’s average has improved from 24.3 in 2015 to 18.8.
John Haverlin is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
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