The remaking of Roush Fenway Racing will continue in 2020 with Chris Buescher moving into the No. 17 Ford.
Buescher will replace Ricky Stenhouse Jr. alongside Ryan Newman on RFR’s two-car team, the team announced Wednesday. Buescher returns to the team with whom he won the 2015 Xfinity Series championship after spending the last three seasons with Front Row Motorsports and JTG Daugherty Racing.
“We are certainly excited to have Chris back in the fold at Roush Fenway Racing,” team owner Jack Roush said in a statement. “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.”
The good news for Buescher is bad news for Stenhouse, who succeeded Matt Kenseth in the No. 17 seat in 2013. Since claiming the first two wins of his career — both restrictor-plate victories — in 2017, Stenhouse has struggled to stay competitive.
“We can’t say enough about Ricky and his contributions to Roush Fenway Racing,” Roush said. “We’re proud to have been a part of Ricky’s development from ARCA to Xfinity and ultimately the (Monster Energy NASCAR) Cup Series. 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.”
Although Roush hasn’t competed for wins regularly in several years, Newman’s success in his first season in the No. 6 suggests the equipment is capable of finishing in at least the top 15, something Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne, the previous driver of the No. 6, were unable to achieve consistently.
Buescher, who has earned the reputation as a driver who outperforms his car’s ability, brings hope for the same type of turnaround in RFR’s other car next season.