After debuting in the Ford Fusions of Matt Kenseth and David Ragan last fall at Talladega Superspeedway, the FR9 engine is back in action during Daytona Speedweeks. Below are some notes on which teams have the FR9, and what the plan is for the ...
After debuting in the Ford Fusions of Matt Kenseth and David Ragan last fall at Talladega Superspeedway, the FR9 engine is back in action during Daytona Speedweeks. Below are some notes on which teams have the FR9, and what the plan is for the engine throughout the rest of this week.
* All teams under the Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, and Wood Brothers Racing banner ran the FR9 in practice and Daytona 500 qualifying last week, and will use it in Thursday's Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying races.
* The only Ford team that will run FR9 exclusively all season is Wood Brothers Racing and driver Bill Elliott, who is running a limited schedule in 2010. A determination on if any other Fords, besides the 21 car, will run the FR9 in the Daytona 500 will be made after the Duels.
* Front Row Motorsports and the Latitude 43 team of Boris Said will run the 452 engine (previous engine) throughout 2010.
* All five Fords that competed in the Budweiser Shootout DID NOT have the FR9.
Doug Yates of Roush Yates Engines spoke between practice sessions on Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway about the plan for FR9 and how he feels the engine has performed to this point.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW THE FR9 HAS PERFORMED SO FAR HERE AT DAYTONA? "We ran the FR9 last fall at Talladega and were really pleased. Matt was running second until the end when we ran out of gas, so we had a shot to win the race, but, so far, I think we're pretty pleased. The Wood Brothers had a great qualifying run and qualified fourth. They put a lot of effort into qualifying, so that's what we use as our barometer for how the engine is and how it's doing. Saturday night in the Shootout, the guys did not race the FR9. They raced the 452 (old engine) and they looked really strong, and today in the first practice for the qualifying races tomorrow the engines and cars looked real good. We're really optimistic about what we've seen so far. Of course, we'd like to come down here and sit on the front row, but that's behind us and now it's time to go see if we can't win another Daytona 500 like we did last year with Matt."
WHY NOT RUN THE FR9 IN THE SHOOTOUT? "Part supply is one thing. It takes time to build up an inventory and that's something we've been trying to really be smart about. There are economic concerns there and financial things you have to work through as well, but the other thing is that the 452 engine -- which some refer to as the old engine -- runs really well. We had a shot to win the race with Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne, and Carl led the whole first segment, so we're in a really good position to be able to go back and forth between the two engines and try to take our time and make sure that when we do release it and run it across the board that it is 100 percent bulletproof and will get the job done."
IS SPEEDWEEKS A LUXURY IN THE SENSE YOU CAN RUN BOTH ENGINES IF YOU WANT? "At Speedweeks you really get two races. NASCAR allows you to run two engines and by the time the 150s are over, you'll have about 400 miles on that engine, so that's almost like running a short race like down here in the summer. We'll take those engines back home and diagnose how they look and dissect them to make sure everything is good. We're gonna get a chance to run the 500 with the Wood Brothers and get a full race on it. Right now, we're sitting on the fence on whether to pull the trigger on racing a couple more or not, but we'll make that decision after the 150s."
YOU'VE BEEN COMING HERE A LONG TIME. WHAT'S THE FIRST THING THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND WHEN YOU DRIVE THROUGH THAT TUNNEL EVERY YEAR? "The first thought is what a privilege it is to be here. This is an historic place. It's the birthplace of NASCAR and where the France family had the vision to build this place. We're all honored to walk in the gates and from being here as a young boy with my dad, and watching him build the engine that won Richard Petty's 200th race, and watching Richard Petty beat Cale Yarborough to the line here in July. I didn't get to go because I was young, but my dad got to eat lunch that day with President Reagan, and that was so special for him. I'll never forget that the guys who owned Petty's team at the time, they were so excited they let us stay in their suite down on the beach. For us, we're kind of at the back of the station wagon, so that was a really special moment."
YOU WON SOME RACES HERE WITH YOUR DAD AS WELL. "Those Daytona 500s that my dad and I have won here are really special. In '92 with Davey, '96 with Dale and 2000 with Dale, those are all special times and there for a while it was every election year we got a 500 win. It came harder, but it also came often and now I kind of forgot how that tasted until last year with Matt. To be in Victory Lane with Jack Roush for his first 500 win was something really special, and I'll never forget him telling me, 'Wow, I didn't realize how big of a deal that was and now I do. Thank you.' That was really cool because since my dad isn't here at the race track, Jack kind of fills that role for me and I really want to see him have a lot of success and see us together have a lot of success. I love this place. It's one of those tracks where when you come away you can be so frustrated, but you can't wait to have another shot at it. It is the Daytona 500. It is our Super Bowl, and I think people need to realize how special it is."
WHILE YOU HAVE ALL THESE ENGINES IN THE RACE ON SUNDAY, YOU ALSO HAVE THE YATES RACING NAME ASSOCIATED WITH A TEAM AGAIN IN FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS. WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN THAT ORGANIZATION? "First of all, it was nice to see what Max Jones and I did with Yates Racing to be able to carry on the 96 and 98 points could go to Front Row Motorsports and Bob Jenkins. What a great story. NASCAR is really an opportunity, just like my dad had an opportunity to come in and own a team Bob Jenkins is getting that now. He has three cars in the race and there are 13 Fords in the race, and I think that's the largest car count Ford has had in quite some time. It's nice to see those Fusions out there on the race track and Ford doing so well as a company, but as far as Bob's role -- first and foremost, I'm the engine builder. If he needs any advice or wants to bounce anything off me, of course I'm there, but primarily it's Bob's ship and I'm there when he needs me."
-source: ford racing