Roush teams bitten at Daytona

Roush teams bitten at Daytona

The Roush/Yates partnership, which looked so strong during the Speedweeks, began to unravel swiftly during the Daytona race weekend; the Roush teams began to experience engine problems even before the green flag fell on the event. Pace...

The Roush/Yates partnership, which looked so strong during the Speedweeks, began to unravel swiftly during the Daytona race weekend; the Roush teams began to experience engine problems even before the green flag fell on the event.

Pace laps: Greg Biffle goes at the back of the grid.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
Polesitter Greg Biffle had to change the engine in the No. 16 Roush Ford Saturday, which forced him to start at the rear of the field. The misstep put favorite son Dale Earnhardt, Jr. into the lead spot of the race.

Just seven laps into the Daytona 500, the No. 6 Roush Ford of Mark Martin lost an engine and clipped teammate Matt Kenseth.

"I couldn't see a thing," said Martin. "The spotter kept telling me to stay up, but I didn't know what up was. I thought I was gonna hit the wall any minute. It's like having a blindfold on. Somehow or another I feel cheated. We had a car that I believed all week could contend - one of the few times in my 20 times down here - and I didn't even get a chance. I feel bad for the team.

"We broke something in the engine."

A mere eighteen laps later, Martin's teammate Jeff Burton in the No. 99 Roush Ford also went up in a plume of smoke. It is bad news for Burton who is still searching for a primary sponsor for the 99 and was hoping for a good finish Sunday.

"I got nervous when I saw Mark have his problem," said Burton. "We were riding along fine, you know, running sixth or seventh, eighth, just taking our time. Something happened and it happened pretty quickly. It's unfortunate. These guys have worked really, really hard on this engine program."

Martin finished 43rd, Burton 42nd.

Kurt Busch, piloting the No. 97 Roush Ford, didn't have engine failure, but had problems of his own. He fell two laps down, due to a flat right rear tire. He managed to make up one lap, and finished 16th.

The only Roush team that looked poised for success was the No. 16 of Greg Biffle, but a late race mistake saw his hopes, too, of winning a Daytona 500 collapse like a flan in a cupboard. Biffle, during a series of pit stops at lap 168, was caught speeding on pit road and had to take a pass through penalty. The miscue sent Biffle from 3rd to 14th.

"It's just unfortunate about getting in the pits there," said Biffle. "I felt we could get a top-five finish and I kinda threw it away for my team."

Biffle finished 12th.

The only Roush car that seemingly did not experience issues was the No. 17 of the reigning Cup champion Matt Kenseth. Kenseth placed 9th.

"I'm happy with the final result," said Kenseth. "Some of our teammates had problems real early and that concerned us, and then I got banged up real early just a little bit. So to come back and finish ninth was good."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Eric Gilbert , Mark Martin