As NASCAR takes to the winding, right-turn road courses of Sonoma Raceway and Road America, Roush Fenway Racing will look to earn its 13th victory in NASCAR road course action.
“(The road courses) are a true test to your driving ability,” said Carl Edwards, who has won twice in NASCAR road course action. “You can’t make a mistake. You can’t miss a shift. You have to really temper your aggression. You can’t just go in there and dive under people and wreck them because if you don’t wreck them they will wreck you in the next corner and you will most likely wreck yourself. It is a really tough place to be fast and to not make mistakes. It is hard.”
As difficult as the task can be, Roush Fenway earned the first of its 12 NASCAR road course victories via Mark Martin’s win from the pole at Watkins Glen on August 8, 1993. The team went on to win the next three Cup races at Watkins Glen over the next three seasons.
RFR earned its first victory at Sonoma on May 4, 1997 with Martin’s dominating victory. The No. 6 Ford started the race from the pole and led 69 of 74 laps in the victory.
That same season Joe Ruttman added two more road course wins to RFR’s mantle, via the truck series, winning first at the 2.5-mile course at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas and then at Sonoma.
Of Roush Fenway’s current roster, both Greg Biffle and Edwards boast victories on road courses. Biffle won in the truck series at Portland in 1999, while Edwards has tallied Nationwide Series wins at Montreal and in NASCAR’s inaugural effort at Road America.
Still Edwards looks to the challenge of posting Roush Fenway’s first Sprint Cup win on a road course since 1997.
“The first time I went road racing with Boris (Said), about two minutes into it we were backwards in the grass,” said Edwards. “Coming (to Sonoma) was one of the most humbling experiences my first time for a test. Kasey Kahne was out there running about a second-and-a-half faster than me and that was all I had. We have been able to come (to Sonoma) a couple times and be very fast and sat on the pole at Watkins Glen two years ago which was huge for me. I won some Nationwide races, but I still have to get that Cup win on a road course. I want to be able to contend for the win every time. That is the next hurdle for me, to get that much better.”
Edwards and teammates Matt Kenseth and Biffle will have their first chance to cross that hurdle this weekend when the Sprint Cup Series fires up once again at Sonoma Raceway for this Sunday’s Sprint Cup event. The race is set for 3:00 p.m. EDT and will be televised live by TNT.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., will represent Roush Fenway in Saturday’s Nationwide action at Road America. That race is set for 3:00 p.m. EDT and will be televised live on ESPN.