By admin | October 1, 2012
By Richard Allen
The 2012 season could hardly have begun any better for the Ford Motor Company. Matt Kenseth sailed to victory in the Daytona 500 and one of the sport’s power teams announced that it was switching from rival Dodge to the ‘Blue Oval’ at the end of the current season. But since then, there hasn’t been very much to cheer about in Dearborn, Michigan.
Greg Biffle and Marcos Ambrose added a combined total of three more wins for Ford but the manufacturer’s only two representatives in the Chase for the Championship(Kenseth and Biffle) have been a major disappointment after three playoff races.
Meanwhile, the team that announced it would leave Dodge in favor of Ford in 2013 has one of its drivers leading the current Sprint Cup standings. Brad Keselowski took the lead in points after his win in Dover this past Sunday and is on a roll having won two of the first three Chase races.
With Ford’s recent collapse and the Penske surge while running equipment they intend to ditch in seven more weeks, one has to wonder if the thought has crept into the mind of owner Roger Penske that he may have made a mistake.
Granted, ‘The Captain’ did not reach billionaire status in the racing and business worlds by making mistakes, but the results are hard to ignore.
Of course, it could be argued that the addition of the Penske organization will not only add greater depth to the Ford lineup but also provide greater capabilities in engineering. That could cure Ford’s ills quickly and put the brand back in contention in 2013.
When asked about Ford’s lack of performance during MRN’s pre-race radio coverage of the Dover race, Roush Fenway Racing driver Greg Biffle declared, “It’s not Ford, it’s our race teams.” That statement would give rise to the hope that a new team could aid the manufacturer by providing fresh ideas.
However, the Jack Roush led organization has developed a reputation over the years of not always getting along well with other teams who operate under the same banner as them.
To possibly indicate that RFR’s mentality toward other Ford teams has not changed, Dr. Jerry Punch indicated during his weekly appearance on Knoxville’s WNML radio that Penske had initially wanted to use their current engine facilities to build their own power plants next season. According to the ESPN pit reporter, the team was told that they had to use Roush Yates Engines if they intended to run Fords.
Whether there will be a spirit of cooperation or not, Penske Racing is clearly moving to a manufacturer that is not keeping pace with their current Dodges as of right now. Time will tell if the move proves beneficial to both team and auto maker.
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