Today‘s Roush Fenway Racing preview continues NASCAR.com‘s countdown of team previews for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, ranked in reverse order of best finish in last year‘s owner standings.
ROUSH FENWAY RACING
Driver-crew chief pairings: Ryan Newman-Scott Graves (No. 6), Chris Buescher-Luke Lambert (No. 17)
What’s new: Apart from the newly signed sponsor in Kohler Generators for Ryan Newman, there‘s really nothing else new going on at Roush Fenway Racing. The team returns both of its drivers and their crew chiefs from 2020, as Chris Buescher continues with the No. 17 team and Newman sticks with his No. 6 crew. Other partners, such as Castrol and Guaranteed Rate, therefore extended their relationships with the organization.
Team outlook: Neither of the two Roush Fenway Racing drivers won a race or qualified for the NASCAR Playoffs in 2020. That should be the goal for 2021. A win would secure a berth, but pointing their way in would still be considered a step in the right direction.
Racing Insights’ stats break: Five of Roush Fenway Racing’s 10 top-10 finishes came in the final 14 races of the 2020 season. … Chris Buescher matched his career most top-fives in 2020 and had a career high eight top-10 finishes in his first year in the No. 17.
Ryan Newman, No. 6 Ford
Experience: 20th full season in NASCAR Cup Series
2020 stats: 25th in final standings; 0 wins, 0 top fives, 2 top 10s
2020 final Fantasy Live ranking: 25th
2021 championship odds: 250/1
Outlook: Newman missed three of the 36 races last season after a crash in the season-opening Daytona 500 sidelined him. The Indiana native hit a career low in top 10s with just two in 2020. His previous low was seven in 2006. He‘ll need to work his way back toward the front of the pack in 2021, especially if he wants to return to Victory Lane for the first time since 2017.
Chris Buescher, No. 17 Ford
Experience: Sixth full season in NASCAR Cup Series
2020 stats: 21st in final standings; 0 wins, 2 top fives, 8 top 10s
2020 final Fantasy Live ranking: 21st
2021 championship odds: 300/1
Outlook: This will mark Buescher‘s second full-time season with Roush Fenway Racing, so he should be more comfortable in the No. 17 Ford. Buescher‘s first and only career win at NASCAR‘s top level so far came in 2016 at Pocono Raceway, where the Cup Series will host a doubleheader in 2021. Hitting a new top-five high would be a good, realistic goal for the Texas native. He had a career-best eight top-10 finishes last year but only matched his two top-five peak.
NASCAR.com 2021 team previews schedule
Jan. 18: 23XI Racing
Jan. 19: Trackhouse Racing Team
Jan. 20: Live Fast Motorsports
Jan. 21: Spire Motorsports
Jan. 22: JTG Daugherty Racing
Jan. 25: Front Row Motorsports
Jan. 26: Richard Petty Motorsports
Jan. 27: Roush Fenway Racing
Jan. 28: Wood Brothers Racing
Jan. 29: Richard Childress Racing
Jan. 30: Non-chartered and teams outside the top 30
Feb. 1: Chip Ganassi Racing
Feb. 2: Stewart-Haas Racing
Feb. 3: Joe Gibbs Racing
Feb. 4: Team Penske
Feb. 5: Hendrick Motorsports