HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Brad Keselowski felt he didn't have the equipment of the top two cars, the Toyotas of champion Martin Truex Jr. and runner-up Kyle Busch.
Toyota won 16 Cup races this year, while Ford and Chevrolet won 10 apiece. Toyota has led 54.4 percent of the laps, while Ford has led just 23 percent.
"When that car rolled out at Daytona, and I think we all got to see it for the first time, I think there was two reactions: One, we couldn't believe NASCAR approved it; and two, we were impressed by the design team over there," Keselowski said. "I don't think anyone was really, ever had a shot this year the second that thing got put on the race track and approved."
All three manufacturers go to a wind tunnel test as new car designs are developed. Chevrolet will come out with a new Camaro to race next year, while Ford has no plans for a new car.
Kevin Harvick finished fourth Sunday in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, while the Penske teammates of Joey Logano and Keselowski finished sixth and seventh.
"It kind of felt like Formula 1, where you had one car that made it through the gates heads and tails above everyone, and your hands are tied because you're not allowed to do anything to the cars in those categories that NASCAR approves to really catch up," Keselowski said.
"As to what will happen for 2018, I don't know," he said. "I would assume that Chevrolet will be allowed to design a car the same way that Toyota was for this one, but Ford doesn't have any current plans for that. If that's the case, we're going to take a drubbing next year."
Keselowski said before the start of the playoffs that NASCAR's enforcing of rules in the wheel-well area is where Ford lost some of its advantage.
"The smaller spoiler and the rules enforcement on the rear-wheel openings hurt the Ford more than it did the other manufacturers," Keselowski said in September.
"When those rules came out, one at the start of the season and the other, right about that Richmond time, both of those were kind of a 1-2 punch to the Fords aerodynamically that we haven't been able to recover from at the moment."