Roush Fenway Racing is among the top NASCAR XFINITY Series teams in the history of the series. RFR has won five championships with Greg Biffle (2002), Carl Edwards (2007), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011 and 2012), and Chris Buescher (2015). Also, they’ve won 137 times with 501 top five finishes and 863 top 10’s in 1,698 starts. But, for the first time since they’ve started a team in the series in 1993, they won’t field a car for 2019.
The organization confirmed the move on Wednesday night on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio when team president Steve Newmark said that due to the lack of sponsorship money and the way the team needs to redistribute their resources to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series side, it was best that they not field a car in the XFINITY Series for 2019.
They had five drivers race among their two cars in 2018. Ryan Reed was the lone full time driver in the No. 16 Ford but he lost his sponsorship funding from Lilly Diabetes. After six years with the organization, five being full-time, Reed is out of a seat.
The No. 60 Ford had four drivers in it last year. Conor Daly was a one-off at Road America and doesn’t have the funding to return. His original deal with Lilly Diabetes but that fell through on an embarrassing PR stunt by the Indianapolis based company back in August.
Ty Majeski drove in 12 races but he doesn’t have a ton of funding for any more than that for 2019. Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe also made appearances in that ride but Cindric will race full time in the No. 22 Ford with Team Penske while Briscoe moves over to a full time seat with Stewart Haas Racing in the No. 98 Ford himself. The other prospects looking for seats don’t have full time funding. So, why would a team run a car part time when they can take a step back and regroup, put all their focus on the Cup side and come back to the XFINITY Series when the time is right?
RFR has struggled across the board in NASCAR lately. They used to be a powerhouse in both Cup and XFINITY, but that has since waned. Since 2013, they have seven total victories in the top feeder series in NASCAR. Since 2015, they have just 29 top five finishes in total. By comparison, Stenhouse Jr. had 19 alone in this championship winning year of 2012.
While this is a sign of the times, it’s one that can hopefully allow RFR the find the right resources to get the Cup team back on track and get the XFINITY Series side improved and hit the ground running in a possible return for 2020 or beyond.