By admin | March 23, 2009
By Richard Allen
Sunday’s Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway is an event the teams who race Fords would like to forget, quickly. To say the race was a disaster for the ‘Blue Oval’ brigade would be an epic understatement.
The highest finishing Ford was that driven by Carl Edwards who came to the checkered flag in 15th. Edwards was the only Ford driver to finish on the lead lap. Ford drivers did not lead a single lap all day.
Those numbers are about as bad as they could have possibly been.
Nothing went well for either Yates Racing or Roush Fenway Racing all day. Yates drivers Travis Kvapil, Bobby Labonte and Paul Menard finished 18th, 22nd and 25th respectively.
Aside from Edwards’ 15th, the RFR drivers fared even worse than those of Yates Racing. David Ragan was 27th. Two time winner in 2009 and two time BMS winner, Matt Kenseth, languished after an early brush with the wall and settled for a very disappointing 33rd. Jamie McMurray came home 37th after two spins and Greg Biffle had mechanical problems that relegated him to 39th.
Perhaps the strangest thing of all for the Ford teams is that Bristol had, until Sunday, become somewhat of a Ford track. Ford drivers had won 19 of the last 36 races on the high banked half-mile, with Edwards having won the most recent BMS race back in August of 2008.
Yates has now had two of its teams, #28 and #98, fall outside the all important Top 35 in owner points. A team has to be in the Top 35 to be guaranteed a starting spot this coming week in Martinsville. Rumor has it the #28 team may not even make the trip to Martinsville at all.
Each of the RFR teams are inside the Top 35 but only Edwards and Kenseth are now inside the Top 12 of the driver standings.
The season could hardly have started any better for Ford Racing with Kenseth winning the season opening Daytona 500 and following that up with a win the next week in California. However, things can change in a hurry in the racing world. It would be hard to imagine a day being any worse than the one Ford had on Sunday.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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