By admin | August 13, 2009
By Richard Allen
Ford has three drivers currently placed within the top-12 of the Sprint Cup standings. Two of those drivers, Greg Biffle in 10th and Matt Kenseth in 12th, are far from being locked into the Chase for the Championship.
With only four races remaining, now is the time for a move to be made that will either lock a driver into the Chase or at least put distance between each driver and his closest Chase rivals.
The Ford teams currently in the running for the Chase have come to the right place to make the moves they need to make. The Michigan International Speedway has long been a place for Ford Motor Company to strut its stuff.
Since the year 2000, Ford drivers have won nine times at MIS. That is a good bit ahead of Dodge, the next closest rival, which has won six races in the same time frame. Ford’s domination of the track actually goes back even further. The 1980s and 1990s were fruitful times for the ‘blue oval’ on the track located close to Detroit.
Of the three Ford drivers still in championship contention, Kenseth is in the greatest need of a good finish. He currently sits 12th in the standings and is only 58 points up on 13th place Kyle Busch. He has won twice on the 2-mile track and has a very impressive average career finish of 9.6.
Biffle currently ranks 10th in the standings, 91 points ahead of 13th place. He also has had two wins on the track and has a career average finish of 12.5.
Carl Edwards is in the safest position of the Ford drivers within the Chase standings. He currently ranks 6th overall and is 203 points ahead of 13th place. Like his teammates, Edwards has won two times at Michigan and has an incredible average finish of 6.3.
Aside from securing a spot in the Chase, Ford drivers have one other consideration coming into this weekend. Of those three drivers, only Kenseth has won a race this season.
After the points of those in the top-12 are reset at the end of the 26th race in Richmond, drivers are given a ten point bonus for each win. Provided they each make it, only Kenseth would have any bonus points as of right now. He won the first two races of the season which would provide him with 20 extra Chase points. Biffle and Edwards would start the Chase with the bottom number of 5,000 points.
Running well and scoring points is very important for Ford drivers this weekend. This is a track on which they have proven they can do just that. But also, winning and securing bonus points for later is every bit as important.
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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