By admin | August 2, 2010
By Richard Allen
The Pocono Raceway is known for having three distinct and tricky corners. But the corner in question here is one that Ford may or may not have turned on Sunday in the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500.
Ford driver Greg Biffle put the â€˜Blue Ovalâ€™ manufacturer in victory lane for the first time in a points paying race in 2010 and the first time since last year when Jamie McMurray won the fall race in Talladega.
For the most part this season, Ford has not looked very impressive. Granted, three of their drivers are in the all important top-12 but that has come largely on the strength of consistent, yet mediocre finishes.
However, in recent weeks there have been signs of life. Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and Biffle have shown the ability to run near the front at times. But is that, combined with Biffleâ€™s win, enough to declare the manufacturer back in the game?
After all, it would be easy to argue that pit strategy during a late race caution, not strength of the new FR9 engine, is what won the race for Biffle. But, it would also be easy to argue that he pulled well away from the competition with only two new tires after that strategy was employed.
Roush Yates Engines CEO Doug Yates attributed the victory to hard work and cooperation in working on the new power plant. “This is a great victory for Ford, Roush Yates Engines, and Roush Fenway Racing. I am most proud of the teamwork that went into getting this engine ready” said Yates. “Everyone at the shop worked really hard to get all the parts to the track and the 16 team did a great job turning the car around from Indianapolis. It’s nice to see hard work pay off thanks to our continuous support from Ford.”
The scoreboard on Sunday in Pocono was overflowing with Chevrolets for much of the day. However, it was a Ford that ultimately crossed the finish line first. It remains to be seen whether that was merely a lucky fluke or if it was the start of better things to come for this brand.
Confidence and momentum mean a great deal in racing. Perhaps Ford teams gained enough of each in Pocono to make them a viable force once again.
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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.
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