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Are you sure about that switich to Ford, Mr. Penske?

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.

Topics: Articles |

10 Responses to “Are you sure about that switich to Ford, Mr. Penske?”

  1. Tony Geinzer Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 6:27 am

    I feel it is sadder for Dodge as I wished they’d stay in our sport, not have to deal with the loonies from Fiat, Rich.

  2. Sue Rarick Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I don’t think Penske will have any problems.

    I would venture to say that most of Brad’s wins have been gas mileage wins and that brings to mind the early days of junior johnson when his chevy was way underpowered and yet he kept up with the big boys by disovering drafting. I think what Wolfe has figured out is that you can run in the top ten even if you cut back on horsepower.

    Look at the times for a Nationwide car that has around 650HP and a Sprint car that has around 850HP, maybe a second a lap during qualifying. During a race less. A Sprint car gets around 4.5 MPG and a Nationwide car gets around 6 MPG. All Wolfe really has to do was reduce horsepower enough to gain MPG and they can still stay in a top ten position. We’re not talking about a drastic drop, somewhere between 90 and 95% of top power.

    I give then credit for figuring this out and it has worked well for them.

    My problem is I hate gas mileage racing along with points racing. This seems to happen more often in Nascar and as a result I watch less and less.

  3. RC Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Penske setups will help keep them in winning form. I also think Penske will help in the engine deptartment too. Roush is great but adding Penske to the fold will be a BIG plus. Roush enigines are not the weak link. I believe the chassis set up is. I look for RPM, Roush and Penske to do very well or flat out dominate in 2013 .

  4. holdin5aces Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 10:57 am

    The Chevy camp was full up with prima donnas and Toyota apparently had no interest. So Ford it is. Perhaps with one more bright light to complement Jack Roush, Ford can re-emerge as a contender.

  5. Henry Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Bravo Ms. Rarrick, good for you!! Relating history to our modern? NASCAR. They seem to race everything but cars, pit crews, fuel mileage, racing and bumping leaving pit road. Most of Brad’s wins stink to high heaven! Nice guy running 90 miles an hour legally? on pit road, so sad to say the least. Good thing the big golf tournament was on during the race Sunday! What is NASCAR concerned with? The top 35 welfare program, and testing cars here, there, and yonder. They should make it like Darrell Waltrip’s mythical “It’s just like Saturday night racing”, no practice, draw out of a hat, and then line up and race!!!

  6. Jim Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Wow, is lightning going to strike the same place twice. Does anyone remember when ole Rusty was driving a Pontiac and won like 7 or 8 races in the last season doing so? What brand did they switch to the next season? Lets see, wasn’t it a Ford? If memory serves me they couldn’t get it to fall out of a tree that year. It took them quite some time before they even came close to their winning ways. Once again that greener grass might already be turning brown.

  7. RacingFan Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I seem to remember reading not so long ago that the Penske Dodge cup engines were the strongest of anyone in NASCAR. If so, that goes against the reasoning in Ms. Rarrick’s comments.
    I have been following NASCAR for a long time. One factor that I eventually became convinced of over the years is that a stronger engine is a big advantage.
    Brad may be winning on fuel mileage, but his car runs better overall than the Roush cars.
    I used to think that Jack’s teams were treated unfairly by NASCAR compared to the smooth, winsome Hendrick and his teams. But now I am wondering if Jack’s personality isn’t a major reason that his teams, though generally successful, have underperformed most of the time. An example is the inability to get Mark Martin a title, but it is not the only one.
    I find it hard to believe that Penske will work well with Roush. When Penske sees Ford engineers learning from his teams what works and sharing that information with Roush, that will be the beginning of the end of the relationship.
    Penske needs to lure another manufacturer in, or go back to Dodge.
    Multiple car teams and sharing information between top level teams is killing NASCAR anyway.

  8. Phil Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Doesnt anybody remember ryan newman getting good fuel mileage with penske? werent they running a size smaller jet in the carb or shorter linkage on the carb. They cant do that now because of efi but apparently somebody has it figured out there.

  9. Blue Oval Ranch Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Rusty won 8 races in 94 in a Ford sounds like a very bad decision to switch

  10. Russ Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Are the guys in the Roush shop still having to save the breakaway rings from pop rivets to use as washers? At one time it was worth your job to get caught discarding them.

    Whats the point? Think about it.