The flagship team for Ford Motor Company is coming off a 2012 season that saw major changes, both on the track and off. It saw new sponsors come on board, crew chiefs get swapped around, and also included a second straight Nationwide Series championship.
At the same time, it also suffered one major loss.
Their longest tenured driver, Matt Kenseth, decided to make the difficult change and leave the one team he's been with for his entire career. The No. 17 car was his home since 2000, winning Rookie of the Year in that season, and recording his first career win in the season's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600. Three years later, Kenseth would bring Roush his first championship, the final year before the Chase was included.
Now, Kenseth felt the time to move on had approached, and he made his move to Joe Gibbs Racing to take over the No. 20 Toyota.
Roush has replaced Kenseth with a new shoe in the car, and is hoping he provides the spark needed to make a championship run. Here's a look at the three-car team that Roush-Fenway Racing will have on track for 2013:
Greg Biffle: No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
Last season was one that saw a popular team in Roush get back on track after a season of struggles. Biffle did not make the Chase last season, but come 2012 he was poised to make a big run at the championship, and that he did.
Biffle would record two wins on the year, plus add in 12 top-fives and 21 top-10's. Most importantly for him, he saw the checkered flag in every race, not recording one DNF.
Biffle finished the year fifth in the standings, a very strong run for the No. 16 team.
Look for Biffle to not lose any momentum in his new Generation-6 race car. "The Biff" will be on it for the new season.
Carl Edwards: No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion
On the opposite end of the spectrum, it was a disappointing year for the guy that finished runner-up in the standings one year ago. Heading into 2012, Carl Edwards had a lot of focus on him to follow up his successful 2011 year that saw him tie for the title, only to lose out on wins.
Unfortunately for him, that didn't happen.
He saw long-time crew chief Bob Osborne step down, but even a crew chief change didn't help. In one of the more surprising seasons to date, Edwards went winless in 2012, only recording three top-fives and 13 top-10's, very sub-par statistics for one of the sport's most popular drivers.
For the new year, he's teamed up with veteran crew chief Jimmy Fennig. The relationship worked well during testing, and if that's a sign of things for the future, the No. 99 could return to prominence.
Ricky Stenhouse: No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion
The driver with the biggest shoes to fill in Roush-Fenway is no doubt it's newest Sprint Cup driver. Ricky Stenhouse has been given the reins of the car that used to be driven by Kenseth, but he's not coming in just hoping to learn.
Stenhouse has experience in Sprint Cup the last two seasons, having filled in for Trevor Bayne for a few races in 2011 when he fell ill, and fielding a fourth car for Roush at some events last year. At the same time, Stenhouse was able to pull off back-to-back Nationwide Series championships.
In last year's championship run, Stenhouse would win six races, compile 19 top-fives and 23 top-10's in just a 33-race schedule. It was a strong follow-up to his initial championship in 2011.
Stenhouse has a big challenge ahead of him, but all things are pointing to a successful year.
Next Preview: Joe Gibbs Racing