Tough times for Roush-Fenway, Gordon poised for a win and more
"Here comes the boss," called out one of my fellow writers. We parted, letting the RFR patriarch through as he disappeared behind the tinted glass doors of Edwards' hauler.
There's little doubt that "The Cat in the Hat" remains a racing icon. But his continued standing as track royalty has been one of the few things that have consistently worked in Roush's favor of late.
That's not to say that this year hasn't had its overwhelming positives after RFR took a major step back in 2009.
It's a different existence altogether from the end of '08, when RFR and Edwards appeared to have positioned themselves as the most logical challengers for Hendrick's and
The catalyst that was supposed to launch Roush Fenway into the next stratosphere was the FR9 engine, which Roush himself unveiled at an '09 preseason media event. But the development of the team's new weapon has been painstakingly slow, with last Sunday at Talladega marking the first points race in which the majority of the Ford Fusions were running the FR9.
Roush Fenway is expected to switch to the engine beginning with the July return to Daytona, though it won't be using it at Bristol and Watkins Glen. So even after its arrival, RFR will continue to be in a position where it's trying to maximize what it can get out of its current engine, all the while trying to figure out a new foundation that it can't fully wrap its head around because of NASCAR's rule prohibiting testing on any series track.
The team will benefit from its information-sharing relationship with
It's a bizarre set of circumstances that Ford has created for Roush Fenway, and while it may eventually pay off, in the meantime it could potentially take the wind out of the sails of a franchise that's already trying to work its way back.
Seeing the Aaron's 499 turn into the Aaron's 532 may irk some fans who'll say that the overtime attempts, of which there were three at 'Dega, fabricate excitement and kill race strategy, but who can refute the end result: that Talladega gave us one of the best finishes in years?
Drivers' views on OT will change weekly with how it affects their finishes, but at the end of the day, let's not forget who this rule was instituted for: the fans. And it's hard to deny that we're the ones making out by avoiding the three worst words in racing: won under caution. Even the purists can't argue with that.
In the latest video entry, I talk to Bowyer about his golf course punking of notorious prankster