As Fords struggle, Roush Fenway team hoping for a win at Michigan Speedway, where it has been dominant in the past
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- There is no need to exaggerate -- the numbers show that Michigan native Jack Roush knows how to build winning cars at MIS.
A win on Sunday would be extra special, as Ford has a total of 999 overall NASCAR victories (No. 999 was Trevor Bayne at Iowa last weekend) and a win this weekend would give them an even 1,000 -- quite the feat. And considering how poorly the Fords have started the year, it would be even more sweet.
Roush Fenway cars have won 12 Cup races, more than any other team, so it's not a stretch to imagine it happening again this week, especially with the folks in Dearborn eagerly looking on and hoping for some good news to spread around the office on Monday. Greg Biffle took the checkered flag last August at MIS, and is fresh off a second-place run at Pocono, so he is likely the best bet to do it again this week. (Note: Roush also has five Nationwide wins at MIS and 5 Truck series wins as well)
Biffle said he is aware of how much pressure there is for the team to perform here in the shadow of Ford's headquarters:
“We feel like we’ve learned a few things last week that we can apply here today with the amount of practice we have. Hopefully, we can continue to learn and make our cars a little bit better, which we need to continue to do. This is one of my favorite places – a fourth and a win here last year – so we can hopefully do at least the same this year, if not better," he said. "There are a lot of things on the line for us as far as that win. One, it would be our first of the season; two, it would propel us towards the Chase; and three, the 1,000th win for Ford Racing in NASCAR. That’s a huge deal, so there’s a tremendous amount on the line.”
Martin always a threatOne driver who contributed four of those Ford wins is Mark Martin, who now drives a Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. Martin won five total races at MIS in his career so far, the last coming for Hendrick Motorsports in 2009 when Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle ran out of gas and he inherited the lead. Look for Mark to be a threat as always, and hopefully he can avoid the bad luck he had last year when he wrecked in a scary fashion on pit road and nearly took out a crew in the process. Martin has 31 top-10 finishes at MIS in his 55 starts at the track.
Kyle Busch on adapting to new MISKyle Busch has won at MIS in the past, but he struggled last year on the repaved MIS, and he's hoping for a better result this Sunday. (side note: he's racing Saturday too -- good chance he'll win if Nationwide history this season is any indication)
"I'm hoping it's aged a bit and widened out a little bit more," Busch said. "We struggled on the repaved tracks last season, but we were much improved at Pocono last weekend than we were there last year, so that gives me hope that we can do the same at Michigan this week. We just have to keep working hard and chip away at it like last week. I'm hoping we can learn enough in practice that we can have a good run."