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Roush points to Dover as key moment in Chase

September 25, 2013, Kenny Bruce,

Edwards and Biffle hope to come out of Dover with positive movement in the standings

Team co-owner Jack Roush said he remains "guardedly optimistic" about his drivers' chances as the third week of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup prepares to unfold.

Roush Fenway Racing drivers Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle head to Dover, site of this weekend's AAA 400, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the standings.

Edwards, twice a winner this season (at Phoenix and Richmond), trails leader Matt Kenseth by 36 points while Biffle, a winner at Michigan in June, is 38 out of the lead.

Kenseth, the former RFR driver, has won both Chase races and a career-best seven for the season. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch has been runner-up to Kenseth the past two weekends while five-time champion Jimmie Johnson sits third.

Can Dover serve as a launching point for Roush Fenway as it attempts to put itself back in the thick of the Chase battle? Both Edwards and Biffle have won previously on the high-banked concrete track, and it has historically been one of the better tracks for the pair.

It is, the veteran owner noted, "a good track for us."

"We weren't as good and were a little disappointed in our performance in the spring there, because it wasn't up to our standard," Roush said of top-15 finishes by Edwards, Biffle and teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

"But the improvements we’ve made and the things we now understand about the new car that we didn’t understand when we were there before, I think, will come to bear.

"The guys have got great expectations.  … We think that we’re preparing to win and have good top-five finishes with all three of our cars.  We’ll see how practice unfolds, but I’m very optimistic about Dover and feel that we can get ourselves on track and close some of the gap on the 18, the 20 and the 48.” 

It's been a long season, and Roush admitted his group's focus in the development of the new car and the changes it required might have been initially misplaced. But, he said, "we’ve covered enough of the car now to feel like we’re not really lacking in any area.

"We’ve had a significant improvement in the downforce based on some things we did, and we’ve got enough time with those modifications to adequately understand what the aero-balance is and to be able to use it to our best advantage."

Beyond Dover lie the mile-and-a-half tracks of Kansas, Charlotte, Texas and Homestead, with Talladega, Martinsville and Phoenix scattered in between.

While Kenseth and Busch have been dominant on the 1.5-mile tracks this year, winning six of seven, Roush said he expects the strength of his own organization to … "manifest itself on the mile-and-a-half race tracks."

As for elsewhere …

"You always hope for the best when you go to Martinsville and you hope for the best when you go to Talladega, knowing those are places that there could be a crash on any lap," he said. "Carl won at Phoenix earlier and we’re certainly going to build on that with the improvements we’ve made in the car since then, so I’m guardedly optimistic."


WATCH: Preview Show
for Dover's AAA 400

READ: Dover's Top 10
Monstrous moments

WATCH: Throwback:
Dale Jr. wins, Sept. 2011

READ: Paint Scheme
Preview; see Kenseth's wrap