Roush Fenway Racing will not have an Xfinity Series program this year, team president Steve Newmark confirmed Wednesday night.
Newmark told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio all focus and resources would go exclusively toward their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series program with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and the incoming Ryan Newman. Roush went winless in 2018 and did not have a car in the playoffs.
RFR fielded two cars last year in the Xfinity Series. Ryan Reed was a full-time contender in the No. 16 and finished 11th in points. Ford development drivers Ty Majeski, Chase Briscoe, and Austin Cindric split duties in the No. 60 car.
Reed does not have a contract for 2019 after his sponsor, Lilly Diabetes, announced in October they were ending their sponsorship at the end of the season. Briscoe and one of his sponsors, Nutri Chomps, signed with Stewart-Haas Racing while Cindric will stay in-house at Team Penske.
The door isn’t shut on RFR fielding a team again in the future, but given the circumstances stepping away, for now, makes sense. And Newmark admitted sponsorship was one factor in the decision.
“For better or worse that’s the way NASCAR is structured right now and sponsorship is the lifeblood for the teams,” Newmark said. “My hope is that at some point in time we continue to evolve to a model that moves a little bit away from that. But that was just a factor. We had a great run with Lilly Diabetes, five full seasons, we handled the Ford driver development program last year and the Xfinity Series is something that Jack [Roush, team owner] has always been passionate about.
“It’s a fantastic series, but when we look at where we are and what we needed to focus on, we just felt like that all the resources should be dedicated to Cup. We’ve always used Xfinity as a feeder series … for Cup, and when we look at our drivers, we’ve got those guys locked up, and we think that they’re going to be with us for a number of years. We look at the engineering talent, we look at our crew chiefs, and we kind of felt like we had all the pieces of the puzzle in place and so really what we need to do is go out and execute at the Cup level and we’ll see where we end up in Xfinity in the future.”
Roush first fielded an Xfinity Series car in 1993 with Mark Martin. The organization has run 1,698 races with 137 wins and five championships between Greg Biffle (2002), Carl Edwards (2007), Stenhouse (2011-12), and Chris Buescher (2015).