Economy has Ford struggling … but their commitment to Roush, NASCAR stands
Henry Ford drove this car to victory in a 10-lap race in 1901 at the Detroit Driving Club in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
Anyone who has read the news lately knows that Ford Motor Company, as well as the rest of the automobile business, is not in the best shape right now.
Sales are down by record numbers, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian is considering selling off his millions of shares in Ford on fears it will not recover, and the company’s stock has been hanging around $2 per share.
But Ford fans got a dose of good news Wednesday when it was announced the company will extend its support of Roush’s NASCAR program in a deal that believed to be for five years.
This is a wise decision, as the effect of them pulling support from NASCAR would have only worsened their economic standing. Even in this day, the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” idea still holds true for a certain percentage of car buyers that also follow NASCAR. To put it simply, the better Roush does (and to a lesser degree, the better the Yates Racing cars do), the better news that is for Ford.
The move is not surprising, considering how deep the Ford racing connection runs. Henry Ford drove to a win in a 10-lap race at the Detroit Driving Club, a dirt oval in Grosse Pointe, Mich., in 1901 -- and based partly on that race win he was able to attract investors that would help him create Ford Motor Company two years later. Racing is not only part of Ford’s history, it helped create the company itself. (Oddly enough, that was the only race Henry Ford ever ran, so he has the greatest winning percentage in racing history. Allegedly, he was so scared by the experience that he said "once is enough")
Despite its current financial struggles, Ford appears to be in the best position of the U.S. Big 3 automakers (which could become two if the rumored GM takeover of Chrysler happens). Pulling its support of racing based on this rough spell would have been a bad decision, and I’m glad cooler heads prevailed. Roush cars may not measure up to Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson lately as far as winning titles, but they are always competitive and exciting to watch on the track, and that is good news for Ford. Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan are great spokesmen for Ford and I’m glad they will continue to be.
Red Bull latest to get caught cheating
Dipping sheet metal in acid is the latest infraction to get a team busted. Kevin Hamlin, crew chief for the #83 Red Bull Racing entry, and the team’s car chief have been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR and points were taken away from driver Brian Vickers and the team.
This is a new one for me, but it just goes to show you how innovative these guys can be when trying to beat the system. I bet a lot more of these tricks go on than we know about, even in this highly regulated era. It just goes to show that dreams of catching up with the Jimmie Johnsons of the world will drive teams to extreme measures, even ones that crew chiefs know can get them indefinitely suspended from the sport.
One of the greatest moments of my life as a NASCAR fan was when I met legendary mechanic Smokey Yunick (R.I.P.) at the Brickyard about 10 years ago. I spoke to him a little about the days when he know every trick in the book, and could usually get it by without NASCAR knowing.
I guess these guys getting busted in the modern era should have studied up with Smokey, because it looks like they’re not as good as not getting caught.
Elliot retiring after 2008 …. maybe
Bill Elliot can’t give it up, apparently. He’s going to do a few more races in the #21 this year, but left open the door of possibly helping out the Wood Brothers in some races next year, also.
Once again, I don’t get it. I know he loves to drive, but at some point you have to give it up … especially when your only option to stay in the game is to be lapped traffic for half the NASCAR season driving for a team that, although legendary in NASCAR history, is barely staying afloat.