Fords Luck in Nascar May be Changing

By: Anthony Fontanelle

At the beginning of the season, few people expected that Chevrolet teams will completely dominate team running Ford, Dodge and Toyota cars. But the early goings of the season saw Chevrolet almost sweeping the top ten in every race. In fact, from the first points race of the season until the Pocono 500, the fourteenth race of the season, only one non-Chevy team has won a race.

That win came at the Auto Club 500, the second points race of the season which was held at the California Speedway. Matt Kenseth driving his Number 17 Ford Fusion won the race for Roush Fenway Racing. After that win though, it was all Chevrolet and it seems that Ford as well as Dodge and Toyota are being totally dominated by Chevrolet teams.

During the past four races though it seems that Ford's luck is changing as they have won two out of the four races. Dodge has one win and Chevrolet has one. Jamie McMurray recorded Ford's third win of the season at the Pepsi 400. Aside from winning the race, five Ford drivers made it to the top twelve which means that Ford is slowly gaining on Chevrolet teams.

All three Ford wins are from teams owned by Roush Fenway Racing. Team owner Jack Roush says that the team has underperformed at the start of the season since they have misjudged the amount of time that their competitors are going to spend on testing their vehicles. NASCAR is currently studying whether their testing policies are still being observed and ensures fairness among teams.

The next race of the season will be the USG Sheetrock 400 which will be held at the Chicagoland Speedway. Going into the nineteenth race of the season slated for Sunday, Ford is finally looking as a tough competitor to the Chevrolets fielded by competing teams. Although sharing the same body structure to ensure fairness, the performance of Ford and Chevrolet NASCAR cars vary due to their setup and whatnot. The revitalized Ford teams are now fielding cars which can outrun a -equipped road bound Ford Fusion.

"The big thing that has helped us with the Car of Tomorrow is we now have a test team," said Roush explaining their recent resurgence. "We are doing the things I thought we weren't going to be allowed to do when NASCAR told us we couldn't take tires from the racetrack because they didn't want us to test. I thought they would put teeth in that, but they didn't."

"We got behind. But five weeks ago I hired six people and dedicated a tractor-trailer (for testing). We've been to Iowa, Milwaukee four times in the last month, and Road Atlanta and VIR (Virginia International Raceway)."

The three wins posted by Roush Fenway Racing came at races where the current template for cars is used. But in order for them to be a real threat to Chevrolet teams, they have to perform well at Car of Tomorrow (CoT) races. The CoT template will be the only template that will be used for the next season and Ford is still working on improving their CoT.

"We're not caught up yet," said Roush pertaining to the CoT. "But we're certainly on the path, and we'll be heard from more before the year is over."

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