Wednesday saw another change to the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series lineup. Roush Fenway Racing announced that they have parted ways with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and plan to replace him with former Xfinity Series Champion Chris Buescher, who drove for Roush Fenway during that title run.
Stenhouse Jr. Out
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been driving in the top level of racing for Roush Fenway Racing since Matt Kenseth’s departure heading into the 2013 season. Stenhouse Jr. won two Xfinity Series titles for the organization in 2011 and 2012 before making the jump to the 17 car in 2013.
Spurts of success have been hindered by the back luck and dismal performances for the Olive Branch, Mississippi native. In 2017, Stenhouse raced his way into the Playoffs by winning at Talledega and then again at Daytona in July. Each of the four restrictor plate races Stenhouse was a name near the top. Outside of those events his best finish would be a 2nd place at Bristol. He finished a career high of 13th in points in 2017 and would not qualify for the Playoffs again. Stenhouse had an average finish to date of 20.4 and average start of 18.2.
Roush Fenway Racing released a statement to make the announcement on Wednesday stating that Stenhouse would be out at the end of the 2019 season and Buescher will be his replacement for 2020.
“We can’t say enough about Ricky and his contributions to Roush Fenway Racing,” Co-Owner Jack Roush said in the release. “He has served as a great representative to our partners, while helping to accumulate numerous accolades, wins and multiple championships on the racetrack. We wish him well as he enters the next chapter of his career.”
Jack Roush in the only car owner that Stenhouse has ever had. Stenhouse is currently 23rd in NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series points
With Stenhouse’s departure, Roush Fenway resorted to a familiar face to pilot the 17 Ford Mustang in 2020, Chris Buescher. Buescher, Prosper, Texas native, won the 2015 Xfinity Series Championship driving for Roush Fenway Racing as a development driver before moving to Front Row Motorsports in 2016.
Buescher qualified for the Playoffs in his first season at Front Row via the win at Pocono that season. In 2017, Buescher made the move to JTG Daughtry Racing to drive the second entry for the team in the 37 car where he has been for the past three seasons. He was unable to make the Playoffs for JTG Daughtry Racing during his tenure.
Buescher’s best finish in the points came during that 2016 season where he finished 16th in final points.
“We are certainly excited to have Chris back in the fold at Roush Fenway Racing,” said Roush. “He has a long history with our organization and we’ve always been a big fan of Chris and his racing style. We have watched his progress with great interest over the last couple of seasons and we are looking forward to having him in the No. 17 as we continue to grow our program next season.”
Buescher is currently 20th in NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series points.
The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series hits the track again this weekend when the series takes to the twists and turns of the Charlotte Roval for the Bank of America Roval 400 on Sunday at 2:30pm ET.