By admin | August 29, 2012
By Richard Allen
Growing up in the household I grew up in, I had little choice as to which auto manufacturer I would root for on NASCAR race days. Even though I was named after Richard Petty by my dad, it was Ford that was the brand of choice among our family.
As the proprietor of this website, I tend now to root for the best possible stories but there is a part of me that still keeps an eye on the Ford teams. So as somewhat of a ‘Blue Oval’ fan, one of my biggest concerns about the brand is that their efforts have been too much centered around one organization. But that may be about to change.
Early in the season, it was announced that Penske Racing would terminate its relationship with Dodge at the end of the year and begin campaigning with Fords in the 2013 season. And just a few short weeks ago, it was further announced that Penske would employ the tried and true Roush Yates Engines rather than build their own power plants.
So, at least in terms of the engine deal, it looked initially as if Penske planned to play along with Ford’s long time banner carrier, Roush Fenway Racing.
Penske has an opening in their #22 car due to the suspension of driver A.J. Allmendinger and speculation has been rampant as to who might be picked to take that seat. And that speculation, at least for a short time, had to have caused a stir within the offices of RFR when Carl Edwards was rumored to be considering a move from his #99 ride to the Shell/Pennzoil sponsored car.
Word on the street had it that Edwards has an out in his RFR contract should he fail to make the Chase for the Championship. As it stands right now, this driver who lost the Sprint Cup title in a tie-breaker scenario with Tony Stewart in 2011 will not make the playoff this season.
In a mid-week media availability, Edwards denied any move to Penske’s open seat but also employed some interesting language while discussing his contract, seeming to go out of his way to point out that he could not discuss any particulars in his agreement with RFR. The driver just signed a renewal of his contract last year.
Even if Edwards does not bolt from his current ride, which he likely will not, it would seem as though there was at least some discussion of the move. The #99 team’s struggles(0 wins and 12th in points) this season have resulted in a crew chief change which has provided little improvement.
It would be hard to imagine anything causing a bigger uproar inside the Ford camp than for Penske Racing to step right into the brand and at the same time take one of RFR’s top drivers. Although it does not appear as though it will happen, the speculation of the Edwards move likely got the attention of owner Jack Roush, who claimed he lost Matt Kenseth because he did not realize that driver was considering a departure.
At the most, there might have actually been an attempt by one soon-to-be Ford team to take a big name driver from another Ford team. At the least, the speculation of such a move would seem to indicate that Penske Racing has little intention of sitting in the background and playing second fiddle to Roush Fenway Racing within the Ford camp.
Topics: Articles |