Roush Fenway Racing has reached an agreement to keep a key sponsor for years to come. The NASCAR organization signed a multi-year contract extension with Fifth Third Bank, continuing a relationship that began more than 10 years ago.
RFR issued a press release on Saturday, Aug. 28, confirming that the two forces will continue to work together. Fifth Third Bank will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 17 Ford Mustang. Driver Chris Buescher will likely be the wheelman for the 2022 season, marking his third consecutive year working with Fifth Third Bank.
“For the past 10 years, Fifth Third Bank has been a true partner to Roush Fenway Racing,” said team president Steve Newmark in a press release. “On and off the track they have been there in full support of our efforts – both as our official bank helping guide our financial path and as a primary on the No. 17 Ford. The relationship with Fifth Third has grown into one of the strongest partnerships in NASCAR, and we‘re privileged to announce this multi-year renewal that will ensure Fifth Third will remain as part of the Roush Fenway family, and a key supporter of our sport, for years to come.”
Fifth Third First Became a Primary in 2012
The bank first joined Roush Fenway Racing as a primary sponsor in 2012, taking over the No. 17 of Matt Kenseth. He won three races during the season and finished in the top five 13 total times. Though his victories came with other sponsors on the No. 17 Ford.
Kenseth departed Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the 2012 season, opening up a seat in the No. 17. The organization added rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who remained a part of the team through the end of the 2019 season. This relationship resulted in two trips to Victory Lane with Fifth Third on the No. 17 — the 2017 Geico 500 and the 2017 Coke Zero 400.
Stenhouse’s time with RFR came to a surprising end after the 2019 season, making him a free agent. He signed with JTG Daugherty Racing while Chris Buescher made the move to the No. 17, kicking off a relationship that will continue into the 2022 season.
Buescher has not yet won a race since joining RFR and taking over the No. 17. However, he has a third-place finish in the 2020 Daytona 500 and a fifth-place finish in the 2020 race at the Daytona Road Course.
Fifth Third Will Provide Normalcy Amid Major Changes
When Buescher climbs into the No. 17 for the 2022 Daytona 500, he will deal with a new normal. The stock car will be different considering that the Next Gen Ford Mustang will become his new primary ride. Similarly, he will have a new teammate.
Buescher’s tenure at RFR has taken place with Ryan Newman as his teammate. The veteran has driven the No. 6 Ford Mustang since the 2019 season, but a new driver will replace him for 2022 and beyond.
Brad Keselowski, the 2012 Cup Series champion, will take over the No. 6 RFR Ford Mustang in 2022 as he becomes a driver-owner. Keselowski will remain part of the Ford family but he will race for a different Cup team for the first time in his full-time career while Newman potentially joins another team and continues his career. Though the veteran has not cemented a job just yet.