Roush to field two cars in premier series for 2017 – Nascar

RELATED: Buescher joins second JTG team


Roush Fenway Racing announced Tuesday a restructuring plan that will pare its racing operations to a two-car effort in NASCAR’s premier series next year.


Trevor Bayne will return for a third season driving the team’s No. 6 Ford, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be back for a fifth year in RFR’s No. 17 Ford.


The organization announced last week that it had parted ways with veteran driver Greg Biffle, who had driven team owner Jack Roush’s No. 16 Ford full-time since 2003. Tuesday, Roush Fenway announced that it was leasing its No. 16 team charter and the services of driver Chris Buescher to JTG Daugherty Racing for next season.


Roush Fenway also announced several personnel moves as the team seeks to regain its footing after two winless seasons.


“We have been able to shore up our plans for 2017 and we feel that this will continue to move us in a direction that will yield improved performance and results,” Roush said in a news release provided by the team. “We saw improvement in our cars and made substantial gains in our performance at times last season, and we will continue to build on that by maintaining a robust engineering group in order to take the next step by consistently running up front.”


Buescher qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs last season as a rookie driver for Front Row Motorsports, a Roush Fenway-affiliated organization. Though he finished last among the 16 Chase qualifiers, the 24-year-old driver was the only Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate to win a race, prevailing in August at Pocono Raceway.


Roush Fenway Racing announced two promotions in the restructuring of its competition department. Kevin Kidd takes over the role of competition director after serving as Roush Fenway’s team manager the last two seasons. Tommy Wheeler was named operations director, shifting from his role of production director with oversight of the team’s car-building efforts.


Roush Fenway also firmed up its crew chief lineup for 2017 with Matt Puccia returning to oversee Bayne’s performance in the No. 6 and Brian Pattie moving to work with Stenhouse and the No. 17 after being paired with Biffle last season. Nick Sandler, formerly Stenhouse’s crew chief, has been assigned the role of director of engineering.


Roush Fenway indicated that former general manager Robbie Reiser will remain with the team in a “yet to be determined position.”


Buescher’s departure leaves an opening for Front Row’s No. 34 Ford team. The Bob Jenkins-owned organization also fields the No. 38 Ford driven by Landon Cassill.


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