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Friday, June 17, 2011

Fords continue resurgence at MIS; Hamlin weighs in on oil pan issue

Oakland Press photo/MATT MYFTIU
Driver A.J. Allmendinger and the #43 Ford have a legitimate shot to win the pole for Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway.


BROOKLYN, Mich. -- A year ago, the Ford camp was in trouble. Everyone wondered why they simply were not competitive.

Well, that’s no longer a problem, and their success had Carl Edwards in the points lead, and David Ragan and A.J. Allmendinger put up the fastest two laps in the first Friday practice at MIS in their Fords.

Even the competition is taking notice, including a guy they call “5-time”
“When we go even back to last year’s Chase, we knew and I made comments then and at the start of the season that Carl (Edwards) was going to be the guy to really focus on and he has lived up to that. We saw them even stronger and better and I admired Carl and Bob’s (Osborne, crew chief) mentality, at least from what I saw in the garage area and how they worked through a tough time. They handled themselves about as good as you could. I know from experience that when you work through a tough time and haven’t killed each other and you come out on the other side with success, you’re a very strong race team at that point. Roush as a whole has done a very good job to turn things around so I look at the other teams that are out there – I think that Roush has kind of set the mark. The other teams have been knocking on the door and trying to get stronger.”

Roush driver Matt kenseth said that while many people are focusing on the FR9 engine’s role in the Ford resurgence, it’s much more than that.

“It is the entire package. The engines certainly improved over the winter and the cars are greatly improved from last year. I think we still have some work to do but we have been very competitive this season showing up to the track and being pretty fast every week which makes it a lot more fun to come to the track.”

Ragan said his car is fast at MIS this weekend and he expectes to compete for his first victory.

“Our UPS Ford is fast. We expect it to be fast when we come here to Michigan,” he said.

Hamlin weighs in on oil pan issue
After the oil pan-gate broke Friday at MIS, Denny Hamlin weighed in, saying:
"I don't know a whole lot about it to be honest with you. We continue to evolve our cars and things like that through the course of a season. It's just, all teams do. And usually when you have something new -- a new part -- sometimes you submit it and sometimes you don't and I feel like this is probably one of the parts NASCAR wants you to submit. That's probably the biggest issue they had with it is that you showed up at the prom with a different date."

He said it seemed to him that nothing illegal was done on purpose by the Gibbs team.
"I think that's more of a kind of a thing that the crew chiefs and the engineers for the team they talk to NASCAR throughout the weeks and things like that. When they have something new, I believe that really they sometimes submit it and it's fine and sometimes they don't submit it and it's fine. It's just one of those instances where they were just kind of caught off guard I think."

A NASCAR legend weighs in on current affairs
NASCAR Hall of Famer Bud Moore was in attendance at MIS on Friday, and he offered a take on his time in the military and the country’s current military conflicts.

I’ll let his words speak for themself.

“When I was in the Army and going through what I did in World War II, I was with General Patton the whole time I was over there and when we fought the war over there, we sort of knew who we were fighting and who we didn’t. I know the young men now are going to Afghanistan and Iraq and all over there now, they don’t know who they’re fighting or anything else on this part. That’s what makes it real bad – a guy can be two or three standing there and a guy walks up and blows himself up and kill three or four of them and they don’t even know this is going to happen. What we did in World War II – we killed everything that moved. If it was a cow or a bird or dog or what – it didn’t make any difference. These guys have to do a little different situation and I feel for them because I wouldn’t want to be over there going through what they’re going through and not knowing just who we’re fighting and who we’re not and who’s going to walk up and who’s going to shoot you and who’s not. It’s real bad and you have to give them boys a big honor right now because for them to go over there and do what they’re doing and the job they’ve been doing and they’ve done a heck of a job over there and I’m looking forward to seeing them bringing them home, which they should do right now. I don’t think we have all that much business to be over there because what are we going to gain so we need to bring them guys home and let them start doing a little something else.”

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