Ford Racing is down to Two Full Time Teams and they have cut their support to the truck series. Ford will be sporting their 2010 Ford Fusion and will also be using their new FR9 Engines. Ford appears to have put all their eggs into the Roush Racing Basket, with that here is what I predict for Ford this season.
Roush Racing should be a lock for 2 teams making the chase, the 99 of Carl Edwards and the 17 of Matt Kenseth, and could very well end up with 4 to 5 cars in the chase. Greg Biffle had an impresive run in the chase last year but he is kind of a Wild Card as his aggressive driving style can get him into on track trouble and lose valuable points during the season. David Regan had a very impressive 2nd year, finishing just outside of the chase at 13th in the points, David will also be a free agent after this season so he his fighting for a job. Speaking of fighting for a job, Jamie McMurray is also in his last season under contract. With Jack having to cut back to 4 teams Jamie appears to be the odd man out. Rumor is that Jamie will move to either the Wood Brothers or Robert Yates but the question remains what has happened to this promising driver?
Outlook for Roush Racing - With Carl Edwards and his talent Roush Racing should contend for the championship, the question really is how many cars with Roush field in the Chase. This is Fords only hope in NASCAR and therefore, I see all the engineering help from Ford going to this team.
Robert Yates Racing
Last season RYR did a yeomens job in keeping two cars in the top 30 with little to no sponsors, however, it was this lack of sponsorship that lead to major changes at RYR. Paul Menard moved to RYR along with his Menard's Home Improvement sponsorship. Paul will be driving the 98 Ford but he got the points from the 28 car insuring he is in the first 5 races of the season. RYR then drew an alliance with Hall of Fame racing and their new driver Bobby Labonte replacing the 38 and getting the 38's points thereby insuring the 96 will be in the first 5 races. RYR has announced Travis Kvapil will run the 28 car for the first 5 races this season and more if sponsorship can be found. The problem is Travis will have to qualify his way into the show each of those first 5 weeks.
Outlook for Robert Yates Racing - I don't see any team from this organization competing for a spot in the chase. In fact if both cars stay in the top 25 and get the bonus money at the end of the season they will have accomplished a lot, as not only is the funding not really there but the manufacture support will be at Roush and very little if any will be passed down to RYR.
Wood Brothers Racing
It is a sad day as the Wood Brothers will not be racing a full schedule for the first time since 1973. Of course in 1973 they won a championship with a part time driver by the name of David Pearson. The Wood Brothers are scheduled to run 12 races this year with Part Time Driver Bill Elliott and possibly 20 races if sponsorship dollars can be found. The Woods have stated they are going back to old school and trying to develop their own equipment and thier own data for a future comeback into full time competitive racing in the cup series.
Outlook for Wood Brothers Racing
The Wood Brothers are at a crossroads this year. Will they survive the cutbacks and the economic down turn? Will they be able to survive only running a part time schedule? Will they be able to secure sponsorship for the future? Only the future can really tell us, here's hoping this team does survive and we will see them compete for wins again in the near future.
There you have it. Ford's best bet is Roush Racing but is that a good thing? Or should Ford try to build up other teams like RYR or WBR so they can attract more of the better drivers and all Ford teams being able to compete like the top 3 Chevy teams are able to compete against each other? You decide