NASCAR Mailbag: Will transitioning to the Mustang slow Ford down?

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NASCAR Mailbag: Will transitioning to the Mustang slow Ford down?
Jun 13, 2018, 3:46 PM

Will Ford be able to transition to the Mustang next year without the issues that Chevrolet teams seem to have with the Camaro this season?

Dale Earnhardt in car before qualifying
Richard Petty
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Lowe's for Pros
Ford Mustang Pace Car
Race action
Cole Custer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Code 3 Associates
2019 Ford Mustang NASCAR
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil and Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Haas 30 Years of the VF1
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Red White & Blue and Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Credit One Bank
Race action
Start action

We now have three drivers with a total of seven titles. I am more impressed with Dale Earnhardt's seven because he did it with three different crew chiefs. Petty and Johnson did it with one for all seven titles. What do you think? - From Sal

Sal, you can look at it both ways. Of course, the more variables you change on a team, the more difficult it is to maintain that same level of championship performance. In that respect, what Earnhardt was able to accomplish certainly differentiates himself from Petty and Johnson. At the same time, it is extremely difficult in NASCAR, and especially the Cup series, to maintain consistent success year after year and when that doesn't happen, that usually means changes (many times the crew chief) are made to those teams to spark a change. The fact that Johnson and Petty both were able to keep a long-term and productive relationship with their respective crew chiefs is also remarkable. And remember, Johnson won five in a row at one point - that level of consistency has not been matched in NASCAR, and it may never be again. - Jim Utter

Wouldn’t Martinsville be a good candidate to try the traction compound, as used by certain tracks? - From Myron

Hey Myron, I wouldn't touch Martinsville. That's the mistake they made with Bristol, trying to fix something that wasn't broken. Martinsville is unique and I'd rather they kept it the way it is. Traction compound is fine for these intermediate tracks that need some help with the racing, but I see no reason to use it at a track that already puts on great shows every year. - Nick DeGroot

Do you think that the Ford teams will have the same problem next year with the new Mustang that the Chevy teams have this year with the Camaro? - From James

James, it should certainly be a concern and the question has been raised recently to several of the winning Ford drivers. Just as they seem to have tapped the full potential of their current car, they will move on to a new model next season. They claim they would not make the change without believing performance will only get better. But with very limited testing, simulation work is going to be the primary means by which the car will be prepared for competition. I, for one, believe you really never know what you have until you race it with 35-plus other cars with you on the track. - Jim Utter

Why are the Toyota's always seeming to be better than the other manufacturers? - From Brendan

Brendan. Toyota and Ford are neck and neck in Cup wins this year, Brendan, so I think it’s incorrect to say Toyotas “always” seem to be better. In ’16 and ’17 they did win more races in than Chevrolet or Ford - but won only one of two championships. Their recent success is more than just the result of having the best hardware, though – it’s also due to an incredibly talented group of people from shop to track. - Kenny Bruce

I was wondering if with NASCAR acquiring ARCA that we would see more tracks after the agreement is up in 2019? – Sam

Sam, NASCAR isn’t going to increase the number of races on the schedule so possibly adding ARCA venues would require current Cup tracks to “give up” a date. And I don’t think that will happen. The two groups already compete on several of the same tracks across all three of NASCAR’s national series. – Kenny Bruce

Do you have a question?

Fans submit your questions each week to NASCARmailbag@motorsport.com. Responses will be reported generally once a week during the NASCAR season (Usually on Thursdays) Please submit your questions to the above email address.

You can also reach Jim Utter, Nick DeGroot and Tim Southers on Twitter at @jim_utter, @ndegroot89 and @TimSouthers, respectively. Use the hashtags #AskJim, #AskNick or #AskTim when submitting a question through Twitter. 

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson
Teams Hendrick Motorsports
Article type Special feature