NASCAR: Roush Racing Fantasy Preview

2006 Team Performance
Whoops. Could Kurt Busch really have meant that much to Roush? Probably not. Still, in 2005, when the elder Busch still toiled for Roush Racing, the team's five cars won 15 of the circuit's 36 events and Roush placed five drivers in the 10-man chase for the championship. In 2006, without Busch, suddenly-snakebitten Roush won just six events and placed only two drivers in the Chase. Matt Kenseth came close to his second points title and his four victories certainly made 2006 a fine season for him personally. Greg Biffle won twice, which sounds fine until you realize he won six times the previous season. In his Roush swan song, Mark Martin made the Chase without winning an event. But Carl Edwards, Biffle and hair-product mogul Jamie McMurray all failed to reach the top-10 in points, and using pretty much everyone but Kenseth made for a frustrating fantasy year. By the time we all realized something had gone wrong with the Roush Ford's horsepower, many of us were buried in our league's standings. Inconsistency, buzzard luck and a questionable taste in hats also did in the Roushketeers.

2007 Team Outlook
If Busch would've had rollicking success with Penske last year, the Roushketeers would be bitter. But the temper-plagued former driver of the No. 97 was terrible in 2006. Not to mention the fact that the folks at Roush don't need to worry about him yelling at traffic officers any longer. Instead, they can focus their concerns on McMurray. "The Gelled One" finished an unbelievable 25th in points last year, behind four rookies and five drivers who changed teams this offseason. That's not good. In 2007, he'll get a fresh start with new crew chief Chad Norris. Martin retired (sort of), finally turning over the keys to the precious No. 6 (okay, it doesn't really have keys) to David Ragan, who has a grand total of two Nextel Cup starts (to go with seven Busch starts and 29 Craftsman Truck starts.) Color me skeptical. Kenseth's Killer Bees will remain untouched and continue to be among the most consistently good teams around; Biffle loses Doug Richert (the guy he throws the sandwich at in those Subway ads) and takes on Martin's old crew chief, Pat Tryson; Edwards reunites with Bob Osborne who led him to all those wins in '05; and Ragan's No. 6 team will be helmed by Jimmy Fennig, McMurray's (and Busch's) old guy. Got it? Now, will all the musical chairs lead Roush back near the top? Could be. The team's horsepower issues were covered up two years ago by an advantage in aerodynamics. When that advantage disappeared in 2006 the wins went with it. It remains to be seen if Roush can recapture the magic.

6 - David Ragan
Wins: 0
Best Finish: 25th
Poles, top-5s, top-10s, DNFs: 0, 0, 0, 1