Roush Fenway Racing Daytona preview

Roush Fenway Racing Daytona International Speedway Daytona Beach, Fla. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: 50th Running of the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 17 NASCAR Nationwide Series: Camping World 300 Saturday, February 16 NASCAR ...

Roush Fenway Racing
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Fla.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: 50th Running of the Daytona 500
Sunday, February 17

NASCAR Nationwide Series: Camping World 300
Saturday, February 16

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Chevy Silverado 250
Friday, February 15


David Ragan

* Competed in his first Daytona 500 in 2007 finishing fifth and finished 12th in July's Pepsi 400.

* Finished second in the 2007 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year race to Juan Pablo Montoya.

* Earned two Nationwide Series poles in 2007, one at Fort Worth and another at Homestead and

completed the Nationwide season with five top-10 and four top-five finishes.

* Finished fifth in the Nationwide Series point standings in 2007.

* Won Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year in 2007 in the Nationwide Series.


Greg Biffle

* Greg Biffle took his first-ever Cup Series win at Daytona on July 5th, 2003 during his rookie season.

* Biffle also took his first-ever Cup Series pole at Daytona when he topped the speed charts during qualifying for the 2004 Daytona 500.

* In addition to Biffle's Cup win at Daytona, he also has a pair of second-place Nationwide finishes at the 2.5-mile oval.

* Other than the catch can position, Biffle's entire 2008 pit crew is new to the No.163M team.

* Had three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 31 of 35 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts in 2007

* This season Biffle has been reunited with former car chief Bobby Bakeeff who has taken over a crew leader role. Bakeeff and Biffle worked together for several years including the 2005 season during which he captured six wins.


Matt Kenseth

* Matt Kenseth enters 2008 coming off a fourth-place points finish in 2007, that included two wins and a season ending five consecutive top-five finishes which culminated in the season finale win in the Ford 400.

* The 2008 version of the "Killer Bees" (the over-the-wall crew) welcomes a new face over the wall, front-tire carrier Garret Reding, who's been with the team since 2005. Of the 22 race-day crew members on the No.17 team, 18 returned from 2007.

* Kenseth has three top fives and six top-10 finishes in the past 10 restrictor-plate races.

* Kenseth finished fifth last year in his respective race in the Gatorade Duel, marking the fourth straight season he has finished sixth or better.

* A flat tire, which occurred just a few hundred yards from taking the green flag during his solo qualifying run in 2006, had Kenseth slotted 57th out of 57 cars after qualifying.

* Kenseth will pilot the No.17 Ritz Ford Fusion, Saturday, Feb.16 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, the Camping World 300.


Jamie McMurray

* McMurray has one victory, two top-five and three top-10 finishes in his last five starts at Daytona International Speedway.

* McMurray is the defending race winner at DIS after winning by .005 seconds in the July 2007 race.

* In 10 starts, when finishing on the lead lap, McMurray has produced three top-10 finishes otherwise, McMurray has finished 31st or worst.

* McMurray will pilot the No.26 Crown Royal Cask No.16 Ford Fusion. This is a special paint scheme promoting a new blend of Crown Royal.


Carl Edwards

* Will make his seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Daytona International Speedway. In six Cup Series starts at Daytona, Edwards has one top-five, one top-10 and one top-15 finish.

* Best finish at Daytona came last July in the Pepsi 400 when he finished fourth, while pushing teammate Jamie McMurray to victory.

* Edwards has one win at Daytona International Speedway: in February 2004 he drove the No.99 Superchips F-150 to his first truck win of the season.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Series

David Ragan
Team: No.6 AAA Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
Chassis: RK-525 Brand new chassis
     RK-522 Last outing: Talladega, October '07 finished 34th

Ragan on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"I'm excited to get the season underway and I think Daytona is a pretty good place for us to start. We had two good runs here last year so hopefully we can go back and start off the year on a good foot. Our team hasn't changed all that much from last year, which is good since our pit crew really started working well together towards the second half of the season last year. It is pretty cool to be a part of the 50th running of the Daytona 500 as hopefully it will be a memorable race for our team."

Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"We had some disappointing weekends toward the end of last season, but managed to finish up in Homestead on a good note. We also plan to start on a good note in Daytona next week. David has improved a lot as a driver since his first Daytona 500. Over the off season he has been around the shop quite a bit spending time with the team and has been working with a trainer to get himself in better physical condition. We are taking a brand new car down there so we will be in good shape and can hopefully bring home another top five this year."

Greg Biffle
Team: No.163M Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Greg Erwin
Chassis: RK-528 Last outing: Backup for Talladega `07

Biffle on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"We had a decent test at Daytona last month. I'm still a little concerned with visibility issues with these new cars but we'll all be on a level playing field I guess. It should be a good race and being in the Shootout will hopefully help us because with these new cars, every bit of track time helps. Handling is more important than it's ever been at Daytona. Roush Yates engines give us the horsepower we need and we just have to find the rest. As is always the case at Daytona, if we can stay out of trouble, I think we can run up front and get a solid finish to start the season."

Crew Chief Greg Erwin on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"We're definitely going to focus on race setup from the time we get there. It seems like qualifying matters less and less every year. We decided to bring this car for the 500 because it tested a little better than the car we took to Talladega as our primary. They were both brand new cars but this one just seems better suited for Daytona. We weren't really happy with the way our cars drafted at the test so we came back and changed a few things based on the data we gathered there. I think we're all moving together as a team in the right direction and hopefully that will show at Daytona."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No.17 DEWALT Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Chip Bolin
Chassis: RK-518 Last outing: Talladega, Oct. '07 finished 26th after lap-146 wreck. Also: Tested Daytona in Jan. '08.
     RK-545 Last outing: Never race. Also: Built at end of '07; tested Daytona in Jan. `08

Kenseth on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"The Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the year. I think as anybody growing up being a stock-car racing fan, or especially aspiring to be a driver; the Daytona 500 is the biggest race. That's what you dream about as a kid, so the 50th running is obviously probably going to be the biggest Daytona 500 there's been and hopefully we'll have a chance at it.

"I'm looking forward to this season. We've got some changes, but not a lot. Our core group of guys is still in place. Chip (Bolin) is the crew chief now and we've worked together for nine years and if we can't communicate by now, we've got a major problem. We've been working together for a long time and he's been a very, very huge piece of the 17 team since its inception. Chip actually did the 500 last year, and the next three races, so he's kind of ready for it.

"It's going to be good to get back to the track this weekend and start racing again. We've done a lot work this off season and tested a lot over the past two months, so we should be ready for the season and we'll see how well our preparation pays off in the next few weeks."

Crew Chief Chip Bolin on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"The difference between last year, when I filled in for Robbie, and this year is that last year I didn't have time to get nervous. This year, it's my responsibility to do the prep work to make sure everything is loaded on the truck that we may need and that the cars are ready and that this team is ready to go to Daytona. Before, I just worried about the car.

"Calling a super-speedway race is pretty easy by comparison to other tracks, because there's not a lot of strategy involved. You pit when everyone else pits. We're fortunate enough to have four more team cars to where everyone gets pretty close to the same fuel mileage and we have enough cars that we can all pit together if necessary. We'll usually pit with teammates, or at least the ones we're running around.

"Daytona is a lot different than Talladega although both are often compared to one another. At Talladega, you just focus on getting the car trimmed down to the least drag configuration and don't worry much about handling. But, Daytona has bumps and different grooves and there's much more suspension travel, so you have to treat your setup a lot like you would on intermediate tracks."

Jamie McMurray
Team: No.26 Crown Royal Cask No.16 Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Larry Carter
Chassis: RK-542 Last outing: Brand-new Chassis; Daytona Testing Jan.2008
     RK-549 Last outing: Brand-new Chassis; Daytona Testing Jan.2008

McMurray on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"It's the Daytona 500 our biggest race of the year. It's what you think about every week during the off- season; it's what all the guys in shop prepare for weeks leading into the race. And this year, after winning the race at Daytona in July, I'm really excited to get back out there. It always seems that I'm running in the top five or 10 with less than five laps to run at Daytona and something then always happens. Last year, I think we were three laps from the end and I was caught in an accident coming out of turn four, and the year before I was caught in a wreck with just a few laps to go.

"Every year, it's my goal to finish Daytona. It would be amazing to win, but to finish the Daytona 500 for me would be an accomplishment. I know Larry (Carter) and all the guys at the shop have been working hard since Daytona testing to get these cars ready. We have a special paint scheme that we are running at Daytona it's the Crown Royal Cask No.16 Ford Fusion. It's a great looking racecar that isn't the signature Crown Royal purple; it's a black and gold car that I'm a huge fan of. Hopefully, we can go out there on Sunday, have a good showing for Crown Royal and finish the race."

Crew Chief Larry Carter on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"It's hard to believe that the off-season is over and we are getting ready for the Daytona 500. We spent three days down in Daytona last month getting our new cars ready for all three races. It's very helpful to everyone that Jamie is running in the Shootout, and then of course we have the Duels to get everything ready for the race. Our engineers and R&D guys have spent a lot of time with the new car and I think we, as a company, have come a long way with our setups and handling issues that were a challenge last season. The entire No.26 Crown Royal team is excited to get back to the track and start off the season on a good note."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Chassis: RK-529, a brand new car

Edwards on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"The Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the year and I am stoked to race my Office Depot Ford Fusion. My entire team has worked so hard in the off-season preparing for 2008 and I am excited to get started. I am confident in my team and am optimistic that we'll be competitive all year."

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"I can't wait to see the entire Roush Fenway Racing team race together in the Daytona 500. We've worked really hard in the off-season as a team to improve and develop strong Fords and I'm looking forward to seeing our work pay off. I'm sure the race, as always, will be very exciting and I hope to be able to celebrate in victory lane with my Office Depot team once the race is over."


David Ragan
Team: No.6 Discount Tire Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Mike Kelley
Chassis: RK-34 Last ran at Daytona, Jul. '07, finished 34th. Ran at Daytona, Feb. '07, finished 43rd

Ragan on racing in the Nationwide Series at Daytona:
"I am extremely focused for Daytona. I am still annoyed by our disappointing finishes here last year, so we definitely want to start off the season with a good run. We had a solid test session here and I want to really show everyone what kind of team we have. This is one of the biggest races of the year and this Discount Tire team is ready for the challenge. A win is the only thing on my mind this early in the season."

Crew Chief Mike Kelley on racing at Daytona:
"David has proved he is a threat at any restrictor-plate race. The Discount Tire team has worked hard preparing a fast racecar that sets up nicely for this track. We are confident in our speedway program and the plan we have put in place for Saturday's race. We have high expectations for our team this year. Our goal is to win races and contend for a championship. I think we left a lot on the table last year and now it is time to clean up. I am confident we have the team to pull off a memorable finish on Saturday."

Greg Biffle
Team: No.16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Eddie Pardue
Chassis: RK-541 (new chassis)

Biffle on racing in the NNS at Daytona International Speedway:
"I can't wait to get to Daytona with the CitiFinancial team. Eddie Pardue and all of the guys have been working really hard all winter to get ready for the 2008 season. Last year we had such bad luck our results definitely didn't show what we were capable of. I'm excited to get a fresh start. I'm also really excited to welcome CitiFinancial to the team. This will be their Roush Fenway Racing debut and I'm confident we'll give them a strong run."

Crew Chief Eddie Pardue on racing in the NNS at Daytona International Speedway:
"I'm excited to get back to Daytona. I was really happy with our test there a few weeks ago. We're taking a brand new car and I feel confident that Greg will keep it running up front all day. The CitiFinancial team is really looking forward to the new season and starting the year off strong. We've worked hard all winter and we're ready to go."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No.17 Ritz Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Drew Blickensderfer
Chassis: RK-334 (new chassis)

Kenseth on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"It should be fun to get back in the No.17 Ritz Ford Fusion. I really enjoy Nationwide races, especially at a place like Daytona where I've won before. Drew Blickensderfer and the guys work really hard and they always give me great cars. Going back to last year we've finished in the top five the last three races, so hopefully we can make it four in a row. I'm really excited to have Ritz on the car this weekend. Kraft is a great sponsor and I'm proud to represent the Ritz brand. I couldn't think of a better way to start the year!"

Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"I'm looking forward to getting to Daytona. We had good test there a few weeks ago. The guys have been working really hard all winter and I think we'll put a strong run together in Daytona. It's a great track for Matt, he really runs well there. If we can stay out of trouble I definitely think you'll see the Ritz Ford Fusion fighting for the win at the end."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.60 Scotts Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Pierre Kuettel
Chassis: RK-368 First run for the No.60 team

Edwards on racing in NNS at Daytona International Speedway:
"It was just awesome to get back in the car for testing a few weeks ago at Daytona. We have a very fast car and the whole team is pumped. We have Scotts back with us and we are all very excited about that. I can't wait to start racing and defend my championship. We need to stay out of the "big one" and draft well. We need to come out of Daytona with a top 10, or better, and be consistent all year. Daytona is a big race and it would just be awesome to win there. That would be a great start for the year. Racing at Daytona is always a blast and I can't wait to get started with the 2008 season. It should be a great one!"

Crew Chief Pierre Kuettel (P.K.) on racing in NNS at Daytona International Speedway:
"It's hard to believe it's Daytona already. This Scotts team is very motivated and we are ready to start defending the championship. We just need to start the year out strong and be consistent throughout. We are very excited about racing at Daytona; we just need to stay out of trouble. This year is going to be awesome."

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Colin Braun NCTS
Team: No.6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Mike Beam
Chassis: RK-52 Last outing: Finished third at Daytona in February '07 with Travis Kvapil

Braun on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"We've done a lot of testing in the off-season and now it's time to get down to business. Although we had an accident in testing, the guys have worked hard to make the truck just as good, if not better than it was. All the Roush Fenway teams showed they were fast at the test since we were 1-2-3 on the first day. I just really have to adjust to the aero of the truck. It is still something I have to consciously think about how the trucks around me affect the aero of my truck.

"Running up front at Daytona is important, but our goal is to finish the race. I want to run all the laps, and gain all the experience I can. It's easy to lose sight of the big picture when you are fast and up front. You gotta be there at the end."

Crew Chief Mike Beam on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"We should have a really good truck for Daytona. It was fast at the test, but we had to replace the right side and the front clip after the accident the first day of testing. Based on the wind tunnel data, I feel confident the truck will be every bit as good, if not better, than it was at the test. Colin is learning more about the trucks every time he takes a lap, so after the Daytona and Atlanta tests last month, I think he's ready for this challenge."

Erik Darnell
Team: No.99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Matt Puccia
Chassis: RK-31 Last outing: Talladega, October '07 finished 29th. Also: Raced as the No.50 driven by Carl Edwards at Daytona last year

Erik Darnell on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"We had a very successful test at Daytona last month, we were consistently fast over the course of the three days we were down there. Matt Puccia and all the guys on this Northern Tool + Equipment team worked really hard over the off-season to get the most they could out of these speedway trucks. I think we've got a shot at it if things go our way. Hopefully we'll be able to do what we need to do, and be there at the end."

Crew Chief Matt Puccia on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"We put quite a bit of emphasis on running well at Daytona. It's important to start out the season strong. We had a good test at Daytona last month, and we think that we've done a few things to make our F-150 even better since then. If we can stay out of the wrecks and have a clean race, we should be a factor at the end."

Joey Clanton
Team: No.09 Zaxby's Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Chad Norris
Chassis: RK-30 Last outing: Talladega, October '07 finished 26th. Also: Won at Daytona and Talladega in 2006

Joey Clanton on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"I'm looking forward to getting to Daytona and getting things off to a great start with Roush Fenway Racing. We had a great F-150 here in testing last month. It's as good if not better than it was before the wreck we were involved in down there. I think we've got a great chance to put all three Roush Fenway Fords at the front of the field on Friday night."

Crew Chief Chad Norris on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
"We had a really strong truck when we were in Daytona last month for the test, but we got caught up in a wreck early in the session. We used some of what the No.99 team learned and applied it to this truck when we hung the new body on it. We feel like we've got a great chance to run up front and lead some laps on Friday night."

-credit: rfr

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About this article
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Colin Braun , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , Joey Clanton , David Ragan , Erik Darnell , Greg Erwin , Mike Kelley , Travis Kvapil
Teams Roush Fenway Racing