One season after losing the Chase for the Sprint Cup in a tie-breaker, Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards suffered through a very disappointing season that saw him go winless in Sprint Cup Series competition. Where Edwards struggled, however, the rest of the team – Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Nationwide Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – shined in 2012.
Greg Biffle – Biffle was the surprise of the team, earning his best points finish (fifth) since his third-place run in 2008. Biffle led the Sprint Cup points standings from the season’s third race at Las Vegas through race #13 at Dover as well as three more weeks later in the season, capturing two wins, 21 top 10 finishes and three poles. He had the best average start (9.9) and average finish (10.2) of his career as well.
Matt Kenseth – In September, Kenseth announced he was leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the 2012 season for Joe Gibbs Racing, but Kenseth remained committed to his team throughout the Chase, earning a seventh-place finish in points. He started out the season on a high note, winning his second Daytona 500, then capturing the pole for the July event at the same track. Kenseth came into the Chase ranked seventh, but slipped back as far as 12th in the first five races of “post-season.” He earned two more wins in 2012, both during the Chase (Talladega and Kansas), and ended the season with 19 total top 10 finishes.
Carl Edwards – Edwards did not rebound well from missing out on the championship in 2011, as has been the case in previous years as well – following his third-place points finish in 2005, he finished 12th in 2006, and after a runner-up performance in 2008, he finished 11th in 2009. Edwards’ disappointing 2012 included only 13 top 10 finishes, none of which were wins, and a 15th-place finish in points, missing the Chase entirely.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Stenhouse Jr., who will be moving up to the Sprint Cup Series in 2013 as Kenseth’s replacement, won his second-straight Nationwide Series championship. Stenhouse Jr. won six times in 2012 and had 26 top 10 finishes in 33 races, along with four poles. Stenhouse Jr. struggled in his four Sprint Cup starts of the season, earning a top finish of 12th in Dover, three laps down.
Trevor Bayne – Bayne ran just six races for RFR in the Nationwide Series in 2012 due to sponsorship woes, but posted three top 10 finishes and a pole in competition. He continued his part-time ride for the Wood Brothers in the Sprint Cup Series, earning two top 10 finishes in 16 races for the team.
Paula is a freelance writer and photographer specializing in motorsports. She also covers NASCAR for Examiner.com and Skirts & Scuffs.