July 22, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Roush Fenway Racing looking for renewal of fortunes at MIS

Carl Edwards, shown here in Loudon, New Hampshire, finished 23rd in June at Michigan International Speedway. (Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images)

Brooklyn, Mich. — Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. didn’t have the best of days at Michigan International Speedway in June.

In fact, the best showing came from Biffle — 20th.

So the trio, members of Roush Fenway Racing, decided to test their Ford Fusion at ... MIS?

“That was really a low point for us in a number of ways,” Edwards said of the June race, which saw him finish 23rd and Stenhouse 27th. “We didn’t expect to come here and to perform that poorly. We truly believed we were going to come here and this was going to be a track where we could turn things around.

“It showed us ... No. 1, that we have some things to work on, and No. 2, that you can’t rely on past performance. My average finish might be great here, but it sure doesn’t matter now. We have to keep innovating and moving forward. ... That’s why we’re here, we’re working to get better, specifically at this track, and hopefully it will carry over to others.”

With Sprint Cup officials putting a greater emphasis on winning to earn a spot in the 16-car Chase field, Edwards sits comfortably in the Chase with two victories, putting him fourth in points.

Biffle and Stenhouse still are searching for Victory Lane — Biffle is five points behind rookie Kyle Larson for the final Chase spot, Stenhouse is 28th — with seven races left before the cut-off.

Edwards said seeing the Penske team succeed — Rochester Hills’ Brad Keselowski is the points leader with three wins while Joey Logano is fifth with two victories — gives the Roush Fenway team hope.

“We have to figure out what part or parts we are missing so that we can perform the way some of these other teams are performing, specifically the Penske cars,” Edwards said. “It rules out some of things we could blame our struggles on. It rules out the Ford Fusion body. ... It rules out the engines because we have the same engine.”

Biffle said the Roush Fenway cars were a half-second off the pace in the June race at MIS. But he believes they have found some of that speed during the two-day test that started Monday.

“It’s little bits and pieces all over the place,” Biffle said. “We find a half a tenth here, a half of tenth there, a tenth there and you’re nit-picking around the car and you find three- or four-tenths of speed, which is huge.”

Contract talk

Biffle has been with Roush since 2002 while Edwards has been with the team since 2004. They are both in their contract year with speculation Edwards could move to Joe Gibbs Racing.

Of course, there were rumors he’d do that in 2011 — and didn’t.

“I want to stay at Roush-Fenway, that’s where I want to drive,” Biffle said. “I want to get these cars competitive and win races again.”

Said Edwards: “As far as my contract, I’ve just chosen not to talk about that publicly.”

Race weekend

When/where: Friday, Aug. 15-Sunday, Aug. 17, Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.

Tickets: Start at $30 (kids 12-under free with an adult-paid ticket)

Details: mispeedway.com or (800) 354-1010

FRIDAY

Noon-1:30 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice

1:40-2:30 p.m.: Truck practice

3-4:25 p.m.: Truck practice

4:35 p.m.: Sprint Cup qualifying

SATURDAY

8:30-9:25 a.m.: Sprint Cup practice

9:35 a.m.: Truck qualifying

11-11:55 a.m.: Sprint Cup practice

12:30 p.m.: Truck Careers for Veterans 200

SUNDAY

1 p.m.: Sprint CupPure Michigan 400

david.goricki@detroitnews.com
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