Friday, September 14, 2012
Jack Roush: Changing chiefs unlikely
By David Newton
JOLIET, Ill. -- Don't look for Roush Fenway Racing's Sprint Cup crew chief lineup to change in 2013.
Team owner Jack Roush said on Friday at Chicagoland Speedway that he anticipates Jimmy Fennig remaining the crew chief for the No. 17 team with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. when he replaces Matt Kenseth.
Kenseth is leaving the organization to drive the No. 20 at Joe Gibbs Racing next year.
Roush also expects Chad Norris, who replaced Bob Osborne in mid-July due to unspecified health issues, to remain with Carl Edwards. Greg Biffle and crew chief Matt Puccia, who led the standings before they were reshuffled to reflect wins for Sunday's Chase opener, also are staying together.
"Bob, his health is still a question mark,'' Roush said. "Chad Norris has done a great job. The team has rallied around Chad. There is no reason for me to believe from what I've seen so far that Chad won't be able to build that team to carry forward in 2013.''
Roush gave a similar evaluation of Fennig staying with Stenhouse.
"From what I've seen right now that is very likely, but I stop short of saying that is what we'll end up deciding,'' he said.
RFR announced on Friday that Best Buy, Fifth Third Bank and Zest will increase their sponsorship roles with the organization in 2013. Best Buy will be on Stenhouse's car for 12 races and Edwards' car for four, an increase of three races.
Team president Steve Newmark said the No. 17 is 70 percent sponsored for next year, calling it a good sign since this time a year ago there was 100 percent availability for 2012 with Kenseth.
Newmark said RFR's goal is to return to four cars in 2014. The organization shrank to three teams this season due to lack of sponsorship for the No. 6 car.
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.