This Week in Ford Racing
Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing,
took time to talk about the upcoming Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship and what it means on an organizational level. Allison, who has overseen a NASCAR program that has 17 wins combined in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series’ this season, talked about the success of the program now and moving forward.
YOU MUST BE PLEASED TO HAVE TWO DRIVERS, CARL EDWARDS AND MATT KENSETH, IN THE CHASE AND BOTH RUNNING WELL RIGHT NOW. “I tell you what; it is very thrilling and exciting. The Chase format really makes for a lot of excitement heading into the last few weeks. We had an opportunity to get another Ford driver in, but all it takes is one to win the championship. We are very proud and we congratulate Matt and Carl and Roush Fenway for putting two Ford drivers in the Chase and going for a NASCAR championship.”
A LOT OF DRIVERS WERE ASKED ABOUT HOW ORGANIZATIONS AND TEAMS APPROACH THESE CHASE RACES AND IF SPECIAL EFFORTS WILL BE MADE TO HELP THOSE CHASE GUYS MORE THAN THE REST OF THE FIELD. WHERE DOES FORD RACING STAND ON THAT CONCEPT? “On any given weekend for the next 10 weeks, every Ford team is out there to win the race. Certainly there are preparations that each individual team undertakes, united by the ‘One Ford’ preparation and technical support, but ultimately it is each team going out with the best preparation to go out and win the race. Now, we have two drivers who are eligible to win the Chase. The organization is putting additional efforts to ensure that those guys in the Chase have all that they need, in terms of access to tools and resources to ensure their ability to go and win these races and culminate with the Chase being fulfilled. Ultimately you have to win races. You don’t just want to get to the Chase, you want to win races. Our focus is on winning races, but not just for the two guys that are in the Chase. We have that goal for all of our Ford drivers over these last 10 races. I am sure that each team will place extra emphasis on this because this is a special time of the year, but we as an organization, as Ford Racing, want all of our Ford cars out on the track to do as well as they possibly can over these next 10 races.”
ON PAPER, THIS LOOKS TO BE THE BEST CHANCE FOR FORD TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP IN A FEW YEARS AND CERTAINLY IN YOUR TENURE AS DIRECTOR. HOW EXCITING IS THAT FOR YOU TO LOOK AHEAD TO FORD CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND WITH TWO CARS THAT HAVE A REAL GOOD SHOT TO WIN THIS THING? “You know, they don’t count them until the end but there is certainly a lot of excitement and confidence in the fact that the Ford teams have really performed so well coming into the season. We performed well most recently on the short track at Richmond and have performed well as we traditionally do at intermediate tracks. It is exciting, but the fact is that it has to be taken one week at a time and you have to focus on going on there and preparing for the race and then at the end of 10 weeks, you hope you have put together a string of 10 great races, culminating with the championship. We are confident and excited and believe we have a great chance, but you still have to race your way into that championship.”
CARL AND MATT WERE BOTH VERY EXCITED ABOUT HOW WELL THE FORD CARS RAN AT RICHMOND BECAUSE SHORT TRACKS HAVE BEEN A PIT-FALL IN RECENT YEARS. HOW HAS THE ORGANIZATON TURNED THAT AROUND? “The sport has progressed to such a level that you can’t leave anything on the table, you can’t write off a track. And it is never just one thing that advances the performance of a team. It is the culmination of a lot of details. It starts with the heart and soul of every car, which is our FR9 engine, so hats off to the team at Roush Yates for providing us a strong motor that gives our drivers the ability to go out and complete. You also have these cars that are prepared in the best condition possible. These are fast cars that our teams show up with on any given weekend. There is no testing at these tracks, so consequently, the team that can show up and unload well on Thursday or Friday and have great practice and qualifying times, it shows the strength of the simulations that is needed. In the race, it is great pit crews, great calls by the crew chiefs and obviously the driver with the maturity and experience to go out and just perform. You see, it is a culmination of all these factors that all go together and allow any team, any driver to go out and compete at any track. Yes, we have had favorable circumstances at intermediate tracks, but we have put in extra efforts at road courses and short tracks to make sure we leave nothing on the table. In the Chase, 10 races at different tracks, our preparation will have us ready to go out and give it our best.” Back to Top
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, and Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, will represent Ford Racing in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Car owner Jack Roush, who has two NSCS championships to his credit, spoke to Ford Racing on Monday about the prospects of increasing that number at season’s end.
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – Roush Fenway Racing
HOW DO YOU FEEL MATT AND CARL ARE LINED UP AS FAR AS MAKING A RUN AT THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “We’ve never had faster cars relative to competition. You can say, ‘Well, you’re not a lot faster than the competition. You’ve won only four races,’ and that’s true, but we missed winning on Saturday night. We should have won Saturday night at Richmond, and we missed a couple others that Harvick won where he didn’t lead a lap until the last lap. W got caught up in either not stopping, or taking four tires, or doing something that was just enough different than what he did and he was able to snatch victory from obscurity.”
THE CHASE STARTS AT CHICAGO AS OPPOSED TO LOUDON FOR THE FIRST TIME. HOW DOES THAT SUIT YOUR DRIVERS? “We haven’t won as many on the mile-and-a-half and two-mile race tracks as we should have this year, but that’s where we’ve traditionally been at our best. I think that if we can go there and have a good result, it will certainly bully everybody’s confidence when they get back to Loudon. I look forward to going to Loudon for the first time in recent years because I think Jimmy was up at Milwaukee trying six new simulation driven setups to see if he could find something better. I won’t know if he found something better until the guys have a chance to take it apart when they get the data back at the shop, but Bob Osborne was a little bit different on some of the setup parameters last weekend. He wanted to be different just to see if he could make it work and Carl was a large margin better than he had ever been at Richmond.”
YOU MENTIONED BOB GOING A DIFFERENT DIRECTION LAST WEEK. HAVE MATT AND CARL BEEN TRYING THINGS SINCE THEY WERE LOCKED INTO THE CHASE SO EARLY? “Jimmy is really secretive and it’s a little hard to know what Jimmy is up to because he’s like Leonard Wood, just the same way Matt is like David Pearson. Leonard always kept everything very close to his vest. I think that they have been, but I don’t know that with a certainty that I know what Bob’s been doing because I’ve been closer to Bob both on the pit box as my frame of reference for the teams. To benchmark myself I’ve been with them on their pit box, but Bob has definitely been ghosting around as he was at Richmond. If he would have been running for the Chase, he would not have been as far afield as he was with the things he did in setup, but he found some setup things that were outside the box of what we’d normally do. It still looked like they were realistic prospects on the simulator evaluator, but they weren’t compelling. I don’t know that we’ll be better at Chicago than we would have been for the things that they tried at Michigan and the rest of it, but it’s possible there as well. We’re for sure going to be better at Phoenix and at Loudon than we would have been if Bob hadn’t been experimenting. There was nothing borderline revolutionary, it’s just an evolution of the setups in terms of the race parameters that you adjust for with a wrench and with a pry bar.”
THE EMPHASIS ALL YEAR HAS BEEN TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP. IS THERE MORE PRESSURE THAN PAST YEAR’S TO GET THAT DONE? “It’s business as usual. Except for the situations where you’d say we were trying some things that were outside the box to try and get smarter, every race you take your best game. You take your A-game. You’ve got your A-game going for your pit stop. You’ve got your A-game going for the judgments that you make on pit road. You’ve got your A-game going for your tire information and your car information. There’s no way that somebody could put an additional incentive or threat of any kind that would really make any difference in what we’re doing. We’ve got our game up as high as it can go and if luck will be on our side, and if we’re as wise as we should be given the opportunity that Ford has given us with the technology it helps us with, if we do what we should do, we should certainly be in the running.”