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« Doesn’t look like Johnson and Knaus were just winging it | Main | If you could attend one more race, which would it be? »

Not exactly the run Ford FR9 teams were looking for

By admin | May 23, 2010


By Richard Allen

Pretty much every Ford team was running the much anticipated FR9 engine in the Sprint All Star Challenge in Charlotte this past weekend. The results showed the engine apparently helped very little.

Matt Kenseth in 8th place was the highest finishing of the four Ford Fusion drivers in the race. Even that finish exaggerates just how poorly he and the other Fords ran. The #17 car was able to gain a number of spots late after crashes and other attrition removed several competitors.

Greg Biffle, who placed 2nd in the qualifying race run just prior to the main event, finished one spot behind Kenseth. Kasey Kahne was 15th after crashing when Kyle Busch blew a tire and made contact with the #9 car. And finally, Carl Edwards crashed and ended up last after being voted into the feature race by the fans.

At no point did any of these drivers look like a serious contender to win.

These results can be interpreted in a couple of ways. First, it could be that the new engine is no better than its predecessor. If so, a lot of time, effort and money have been wasted for no real gain. This would be a very disappointing realization for Ford teams and fans if it is indeed the case.

The other way to look at it is that the engine may well be an improvement over the previous power plant but the teams may simply need some time to get used to it. Word has it that the weight properties of the new engine are different from the old piece and will thus cause teams to adjust set ups to take full advantage of what they now have.

Matt Kenseth is among several drivers I listen to during races on the NASCAR.com TrackPass feature. I did not hear him complain about a lack of power during the All Star event. His worries concerned the fact that his car was so tight it was virtually impossible to handle. If the balance is off then the engine could well be doing its job. It may just take drivers, crew chiefs and engineers a while to get cars to handle better.

The second of those possibilities is far better for Ford teams. Those involved will be able to adapt if the engine is indeed providing more horsepower.

For Ford teams, the new FR9 engine did not have a glorious night as teams prepare to put the new piece into full time use. Time will tell whether there will be any significant improvement for the only manufacturer to not have a win so far this year.

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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

3 Responses to “Not exactly the run Ford FR9 teams were looking for”

  1. Larry Says:
    May 24th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Roush has said that the old engine was competitive and made comparable horsepower to the other makes. I don’t think horsepower is Ford’s Problem right now. I think it’s more of a handling issue than power. The new engine may indeed make more power but I think they are behind in other areas and fifty extra horsepower can not make up for poor handling.

  2. gopapa Says:
    May 24th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I’m no expert, first of all, this is just what I’m thinking. My understanding is that the new engine runs cooler, which will allow more tape to be used on the front end, giving more front down force. My feeling is that this will show up more during the day races, particularly during the heat of the summer when temps are much higher. I think the Fords will show up when the heat is on. The night races won’t afford much of a temperature disparity.

  3. Ray (ford fan) Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 5:24 am

    my guess is that all ford are running on seven cyl
    or to heavy or ..or ..or..
    it’s a shame for FORD