Not surprisingly, the sudden departure of Edwards and then the leave of absence of his former crew chief Dave Rogers have been serious blows for the team. You don’t lose talent like that without an adjustment period.
The fact that JGR’s quasi-teammates at Furniture Row Racing are running competitively suggests the problem at JGR isn’t under the hood, because JGR and Furniture Row use the same engines.
Conversely, that does point to JGR potentially having issues with either aerodynamics or chassis setups. Or maybe a little of both.
Ford Motor Co. has stepped up hugely this season with the addition of Stewart-Haas and better results across the board. That’s cut into JGR’s chances at good finishes, too.
Still, if last year taught us anything, it’s that just because JGR is down now doesn’t mean they’ll be down all year.
Hendrick Motorsports was awful all summer last year and then they suddenly found enough speed for Jimmie Johnson to win another championship and the team’s other drivers to pick up their pace, too.
Will something similar happen at JGR later this year?
It’s way too early to tell.
But it’s also way too early to count them out.