Roush Fenway Looks to Ride a Wave of Change into 2020
CONCORD, N.C. (Jan. 3, 2019) – As the clock winds down on this decade, the new year and the 2020 NASCAR Season looks to bring quite a few changes for Roush Fenway Racing. The New Year brings a rearranged schedule, another shot at a NASCAR Cup Series championship and a familiar face in Chris Buescher.
Buescher first joined Roush Fenway as a development driver in 2009, winning the 2012 ARCA Series championship in a partnership with Roulo Brothers Racing, before making his NXS debut for Roush Fenway in relief of Trevor Bayne in 2011. He moved to full time in the NXS in 2014, and in 2015 brought home Jack Roush’s eighth NASCAR Championship; dominating the series while leading the NXS standings for 24 consecutive weeks.
After moving up to the NASCAR Cup Series with another team, Buescher now returns to Roush Fenway to pilot the No. 17 Ford in 2020. A move he says feels like coming home.
“Jack was the one that gave me my initial break,” Buescher said. “For him to agree to take someone in that really didn’t have a whole lot of merit outside of short track racing nor the checkbook to do so – he really took a chance on me and helped me build my career up. It’s cool to be able to come back in house to do what I always planned on doing. Now it’s just time to live up to it and get the job done.”
Luke Lambert will serve as crew chief of the No. 17 NASCAR Cup Series program in 2010. The crew chief spent the last eight seasons atop the pit box as a crew chief for Richard Childress Racing where he helped lead current Roush Fenway driver Ryan Newman to three NASCAR Cup Series playoff berths – including a runner-up finish in the 2014 Cup standings – and a victory at Phoenix two seasons ago. The addition of Lambert to the team makes for a certain synergy, as both team drivers and crew chiefs have worked together once before.
“I have a little bit of knowledge about Luke and Ryan from an RCR alliance that we had a couple of years back,” Buescher explained. “I’ve worked with Scott (Graves) for several years. There are no strangers on this team, which should help everyone be acclimated pretty quickly. I think the way we’re doing it should ease that time period and shorten it so that we can really hit the ground running.”
With a new crew chief, advice from his veteran teammate, notes from last season and the momentum from his 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Championship, Buescher plans to do just that.
“After watching Ryan and Scott last year, I learned that consistency is really key,” Buescher said. “Finishing strong at the end of these races is where it comes into play. Honestly, the attitude really is still the same as it was in 2015 – by the end of the race you better be putting your best foot forward.”
For the newly formed No. 17 team, the goal is very simple; win races, earn plenty of top-five finishes and top-10’s and secure a playoff berth. The mantra goes as such.
“Do not give up, do not give in, do not ease up at any point in the race,” Buescher said. “The end is the only time it truly matters. At the end of the day, you have to finish these races and you have to finish them strong.”