Ford Performance strong at restrictor-plate tracks

Nigel Kinrade/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

Over the past two and a half years, seven races at Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway have been won by Ford Performance.

At Talladega Superspeedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr was the last driver to go to victory lane outside of the Ford camp. At Daytona, Denny Hamlin’s Daytona 500 win from 2016 was the last time someone outside of Ford Performance went to victory lane.

Since 2015, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. hold the most wins for Ford at two each. Kurt Busch also has one win under the Ford banner.

What makes Ford Performance strong on the superspeedway’s? Some will say it is the horsepower provided by Roush Yates Engines, while some will say it is about the teamwork across all their organizations.

Logano is trying to go for his third straight fall win at Talladega. The biggest thing for Logano coming to Talladega is being able hone in on their strengths. Logano also contributes the success to working across all Ford teams in the draft.

“Right off the bat every time we come to a superspeedway like Talladega or Daytona the first thing we say is how we all work together because we need to be able to work together to win the race. So whether it’s Team Penske or Fords in general we all need to be willing to work together to be able to keep ourselves up front,” said Logano.

“I think when you look at the Daytona 500 from a couple years ago when the Toyotas worked so well together it forever changed how superspeedway racing will be, and now other manufacturers, other teams have figured that out and they’re able to break them apart, which keeps it kind of racy out there, which is a good thing, but that’s definitely something that has changed it.”

Stenhouse acknowledges the teamwork amongst their drivers, but also accredits the package Doug Yates and Roush Yates Engines provide at superspeedways.

“I think Doug’s engine package fits these race track really well.  There are some other race tracks that I feel like some of the rules have hurt our Fords a little bit.  I feel like anytime I can keep the RPMs up on our car, I feel like they seem to run a little better, so I think Doug’s got a good package.  We work hard on our cars.” said Stenhouse.

In the first practice session of the weekend at Talladega, Ford held nine of the top-10 positions in the opening practice session. Keselowski was fastest at 197.859 mph. In the best 10 lap consecutive average, Ford held the top-five positions with Ryan Blaney being the fastest at 196.829 mph.

In the second practice during single-car run, the fastest Ford was Kurt Busch in the third position at 190.257 mph.

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