SPARTA, Ky. (July 7, 2011) – Roush Fenway Racing has always exhibited a knack for quick adaptation at new tracks and inaugural events and the team will look to continue that success this weekend when the Sprint Cup Series makes its first ever start at the 1.5 mile tri-oval at Kentucky Speedway.
“We’ve had great success in inaugural events,” said team co-owner Jack Roush. “We had success at Las Vegas and Texas, and we had success at Loudon initially. Early on we’ve had a run of being really productive at first time appearances at race tracks. That has to do with the depth of the organization and how strong we are. If you look at going to a new race track that you haven’t been to before, you need to consider how it is similar to other tracks, how it’s different. It’s really about the people’s resilience and their ability to adapt as they arrive there.”
In 1997 the organization swept both the Cup and the Nationwide Series’ inaugural events at Texas Motor Speedway. The following year, the organization won the inaugural Sprint Cup event at Las Vegas in 1998. The organization also has inaugural wins in the Nationwide Series at Nashville (2001) and Elkhart Lake (2010).
Ironically, Roush Fenway won the first ever NASCAR event at Kentucky Speedway, via Greg Biffle’s 2000 win in the truck series. Biffle came close to repeating the feat a year later in the first Nationwide race at Kentucky in 2001, finishing second.
“We’ve had better than average success at inaugural races and I look forward to having that type of success at Kentucky,” added Roush.
“We’ve won there in the Nationwide cars and we’ve won there with our trucks, so it’s not a foreign race track to us, but it does have some unique challenges that we haven’t met yet with our Sprint Cup car in competition, so we’ll have to see how that works.”
There has been other success stories at well. Roush Fenway finished second after winning the pole in the first Sprint Cup race at Loudon in 1993. The team placed two cars inside the top five in the inaugural Cup race at Homestead in 1999 and came up just short of victory and fuel in the first Cup race at California Speedway in 1997. In addition, Roush Fenway placed three cars in the top 10 in the first Cup race at Chicagoland in 2001.
Roush will also look to enjoy added success at what could be considered his ‘true’ home track.
“I was born about 50 miles from Sparta there in the Cincinnati suburb of Covinginton,” said Roush. “I’ve got more friends and family going to this race than probably any place I’ve ever raced, including Michigan where I have been since I got out of school.”
Roush also noted that he hopes the track’s makeup will play into the strengths of his organization.
“The track is hard on tires. It’s a little worn out, which some of our guys like,” said Roush. “It’s going to be a place where you really have to manage our tires. It will be hot and slick and the guys who can drive the race cars that are sliding the best and manage their tires will have the best chance. I think I have some drivers that are good in low adhesive situations, so our hope would be that will play into our advantage.”
1997 – Jeff Burton, Texas – Cup
1997 – Mark Martin, Texas – Nationwide
1998 – Mark Martin, Las Vegas – Cup
2000 – Greg Biffle, Kentucky – Trucks
2001 – Greg Biffle, Nashville – Nationwide
2010 – Carl Edwards, Elkhart Lake – Nationwide
Saturday night’s (July 9) inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky is set for 7:30 p.m. EDT and will be televised live on TNT.
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating seven motorsports teams. Four in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; and three in the Nationwide Series with Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Trevor Bayne. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com (http://www.roushfenway.com/ ). Become a fan of Roush Fenway Racing on Facebook by going to http://www.facebook.com/roushfenway and follow us on Twitter @roushfenway. For sponsorship inquiries please contact Robin Johnson at 704.720.4645.