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New Ford engine should be ready by August
Ford team owner/engine-builder Doug Yates expects Ford’s new FR9 engine to be ready by August, just in time for the season-ending, 10-race Chase for the Championship playoff. Yates, David Simon and Mose Nowland have been working on it all year, and Yates sees light at the end of the tunnel. Once it’s ready, though, which members of Team Ford Racing will get it? It likely won’t go to Roush Fenway stars Carl Edwards (fifth in points), Greg Biffle (eighth) and Matt Kenseth (10th) because they’ll almost certainly make the 12-driver championship playoff. With so much on the line, there’s some reluctance to run an engine that hasn’t been tested in competition.

Edwards has already said he’d rather wait. “I told them I don’t want it right off the bat,” he said recently. “We’ll see who’s not in the Chase and maybe start testing it that way.” Kenseth takes a “whatever” approach. “I’m under the understanding we probably won’t have it full-time this year,” he said. “I’m not sure, but it doesn’t matter to me. I have a ton of confidence in Doug Yates and the engine guys, and whatever they think is best, I’m good with that.”

The Wood Brothers with Bill Elliott are running a limited schedule, so they might get it first. (Logic dictates that an engine-related DNF for Elliott won’t be as costly as one for a Chase-eligible team). Paul Menard and Bobby Labonte of Yates Racing will focus on making the Chase, as will Roush Fenway drivers David Ragan and Jamie McMurray. The new piece is the first purpose-built NASCAR engine to come from Ford Motor Company. The three key differences between FR9 and the current engine: the cooling system has been improved to allow teams to use more tape on the grille, thus improving downforce; the valve train has been improved; and the production and assembly of FR9 will be easier than the current model.  Ford Racing

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