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« Hamlin may hope for engine change sooner rather than later | Main | Boris Said aside, Biffle needs a win in Michigan to keep Chase hopes alive »

Michigan not the Ford track it once was

By admin | August 17, 2011

By Richard Allen

Coming off their first road course win since 1996, the Ford Motor Company should seemingly feel pretty confident about picking up a second straight win in Michigan. However, a look at recent statistics does not necessarily bear that out.

Between 1984 and 2008 Ford dominated NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at the Michigan International Speedway. The ‘blue ovals’ won thirty races during that 24 year time span.

However, no Ford driver has collected a checkered flag at the track located closest to the home of American auto manufacturing in almost three full years. Carl Edwards won the second visit to MIS in 2008 but since then there have been two Chevrolet and three Toyota victories just outside of Detroit.

The advent of the FR9 engine has provided Ford with an up to date piece that has brought the company’s racers back into a more competitive position. But at the same, those teams seem to have lost the key to their most often visited victory lane.

That is not to say the make isn’t still a powerful force at the track. Just this past spring, Denny Hamlin won in a Toyota but Ford drivers Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth combined to lead well over half the race’s 200 laps although they each fell short in the end.

Perhaps one cause for the recent troubles at Michigan might be the fact that so many races now seem to boil down to fuel mileage. For whatever advantages the FR9 has over the competition, be it horsepower or weight or whatever, fuel mileage is not one of those advantages.

In seemingly every race this year, Ford teams are among the first to call their drivers to pit road. And very often, their cars have to hit pit road for a splash of fuel near the end of events when others stretch their mileage to beyond the finish line.

The Michigan International Speedway may well still be a Ford track, but the current style of fuel mileage stretching is not a Ford style of racing. Should caution flags work out in such a way as to eliminate the fuel stretch, there could very well be a Ford in victory lane for the second weekend in a row. However, if the race does turn out to have gas as a central theme, Ford may well be on the outside looking in at the end of the day.

Topics: Articles |

One Response to “Michigan not the Ford track it once was”

  1. Charles Says:
    August 18th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Richard

    Lets be clear, the FR9 doesnt have any advantage over the competition!

    The Chevy RO7 Engine which the press never brings out has lead more laps won more races, 75% of Talledaga and Daytona 500s, and point titles! This one engine has had the advantage and nobody starts talking about the advantages it has the past decade! I think Ford drivers would trade a Michigan for some wins at the bigger profile races!

    As for the FR9 lets go the horsepower tracks this year, Pocono, Indy as of late, how many laps did it lead?

    If the truth is known, Dodges sudden increase in power and wins has probably come for a silent “engine upgrade” which I agree they needed, but seems the attention is on Fords FR9!

    If one didnt follow Nascar they would have thought this engine had competely dominated Nascar and really has won only a handful of races!

    And seemly Ford drivers who have been underpowered with the same powerplant since 91, now that they are getting on even power that Toyota and Chevy the NASCAR press seems to showcase this as a big advantage, then here come rule changes!

    If Jimmy Johnson wins the 6 point title in a row, and I quit counting Chevys manufacturers title, not one comment will be about Chevys Engine Advantage! But if he was driving any other brand, Dodge, Ford, Toyota, the press would be talking a advantage other than the driver!

    If we are going to talk engines, lets talk about the ones that have a past history of domination, not the ones with potential!