Ford exec wants to get Ford back winning in NASCAR
As the new director of Ford motorsports in North America, Jamie Allison’s first priority might appear to be to get Ford’s new NASCAR engine on the track, but he says that's just one of several priorities this season.
Allison will attempt to lead Ford from a three-win 2009 campaign back into the Sprint Cup elite. He oversees a revamped program for 2010 that includes Richard Petty Motorsports, which joins the fold as part of a merger with Yates Racing. Front Row Motorsports joins the blue oval as well to go along with staples Roush Fenway Racing and Wood Brothers Racing.
The engine is just one piece of the puzzle as Ford tries to catch Hendrick Motorsports, which has given Chevrolet four consecutive Cup titles (five if you include non-Hendrick driver Tony Stewart while he was at Joe Gibbs Racing). Chevrolet teams won 18 of the 36 points races last year.
Improved simulation software and an improved attitude will help Ford reach the pinnacle, Allison said.
“Hendrick is a four-time winner, but if you stare at that for too long, you lose sight of what you can do,” he said. “This is a sport where you’ve got to have an obsession to win. We will find a way to win. We’ve got tools. We’ve got experts. There’s improvement in the tools because you just can’t do it on a talk.
“There’s an improvement in the tools, coupled with the adding of teams and a spirit of winning. Simulations, modeling, will get us there.”
Allison, who replaced Brian Wolfe as the head of motorsports at Ford, has experience in sports cars racing but is relatively new to NASCAR.
“Our role as a manufacturer is primarily to support these great teams that we have with tools, resources and anything they need,” Allison said. “What are we going to do to get back on the winning track? We’re going to have the right tools; we’re going to put all the resources [to the teams]. We really have great teams – the addition of RPM is gong to add [a lot] – and the reminder that the spirit of winning has to prevail. … Our mantra is going to be, we will win.”
As far as the new engine is concerned, the Wood Brothers will run a partial schedule and will use the new motor in each of its races. The other teams will use the engine for practice and qualifying races at Daytona but will use an old engine for the Daytona 500, teams are allowed to change engines after the qualifying races. The rollout of the new engine in Roush Fenway, RPM and Front Row cars likely won’t come until May or June when the old stock of engines has been used and parts for all new engines have been made. Scene Daily