Motorsports editor Luke Krmpotich and NASCAR lead writer Sam Salo are wrapping up the task of evaluating last year’s performances by the major teams and drivers from the Sprint Cup garage. Today’s edition features the Fords of Roush Fenway Racing.
Roush Fenway Racing
Sam’s grade: B
Luke’s grade: B-
A bit of yin and a dose of yang colored the Roush tones in 2012. While Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle enjoyed turns atop the points throne all throughout the regular season, 2011 cup runner-up Carl Edwards never even contended strongly for a Chase spot.
#16: Greg Biffle
Sam’s grade: A Characteristic inconsistency, albeit a bit less of it, sunk Biffle’s title hopes. However, the fact that Biffle turned around a winless 2011 into a title-contending 2012 is encouraging enough.
Luke’s grade: A- In 2012, Da Biff did just what he always does in even-numbered years: win exactly two races. Now the question becomes, will his performance take a turn for the better, or for the worse, in 2013? Team 16 is hoping for the former.
#17: Matt Kenseth
Sam’s grade: A Kenseth stumbled out of the gates in the Chase, the only sour stretch for what was generally a valliant run at the title. Complete domination at restrictor plate races (two wins and an average finish of 2.0) highlighted his 2012 tour.
Luke’s grade: B+ Mr. Consistency put together a fine season, especially considering his impending move to JGR. But I have to wonder just how strong he’ll be in 2013 without the significant advantage of Roush-Yates engine power at the superspeedways. And as far as the No. 17 team is concerned, it will be very interesting to see how two-time Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. does in his first full season at the Cup level.
#99: Carl Edwards
Sam’s grade: C- After a title fight for the ages in 2011, Edwards went from 2nd in the points in 2011 to a lamentable, and winless, 15th in 2012. Expect a comeback season, at least to some degree, in 2013.
Luke’s grade: D Given the complete lack of championship contention, Edwards probably deserves an D for his lousy performance after entering the year as a championship favorite. Given the fact that his teammates rocked in 2012, a D- is the best I can manage for Edwards. And given the fact that the No. 99 missed the Chase and whiffed in the “W” column…
Luke’s revised grade for Edwards: F
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