Roush Fenway Racing announced Wednesday they would part ways with 2-time Xfinity Series champ Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at the end of the 2019 season. The team also announced Chris Buescher would take over the #17 car in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020.
This was a bombshell no one expected today. Just a casual Wednesday trying to eat my lunch and all of sudden all hell break loose on the internet. Roush pulled a Wood Brothers and dropped a shock announcement. It’s an old school approach, no leaks, no sources, straight from the source and everyone says “didn’t see that coming.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse was signed to Roush through 2021 but obviously something changed along the way. Just last season the two sides signed the extension for the Mississippi native who has been with Roush since 2009.
During his time at Roush Stenhouse claimed 2 Xfinity Championships, 8 Xfinity wins, and 2 Cup Series wins. His back to back Xfinity titles aren’t a small feat, it’s one of the more impressive accomplishments for a young driver. However, when Stenhouse moved up to the Cup series the same results didn’t follow. Partly due to Roush’s equipment and partly due to Stenhouse’s inability to stop wrecking/putting himself in bad positions.
Stenhouse was supposed to be the face of RFR. The driver to bring them back to prominence and while he is their most recent winner the success never followed him from Xfinity to Cup. In his 7th full season in the Cup Series, he only has 2 Top-10’s to show for this season.
The writing was on the wall for Stenhouse this season after RFR hired Ryan Newman to drive the #6 car. After a year of turmoil with the #6 Newman has turned that program around and put them squarely in the playoffs. Newman sits 9th in the standings with 1 race to go in the first round, meanwhile Stenhouse is 23rd and showing no signs of improvement.
It’s an unfortunate end for Stenhouse at Roush. Unfortunately, his time will be remembered for his multitude of wrecks and “1776 we are the champs.”
For Buescher this is huge. He won an Xfinity title with Roush before moving to Front Row Motorsports on loan from Roush where he won at Pocono. He then moved to JTG Daugherty Racing where he has steadily been very consistent and probably out driving his equipment. Now he moves up a little on the competitive ladder to Roush. The thinking inside of RFR has to be that they’re turning the corner and Buescher is the guy that can help them build off the momentum Newman has built.
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