Ford will try to secure more young drivers

Dave Pericak
Dave Pericak

The head of Ford Performance says that the manufacturer will be more active in seeking and securing young drivers.

"We need to have more involvement going forward," Dave Pericak, director Ford Performance, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday.

"We have to make sure that we constantly have a good lineup of drivers across the board that are ready to fill the seats when it's time."

The need to find young talent is because manufacturers have gotten more aggressive about keeping such drivers under contract in recent years. Toyota had Kyle Larson in its camp before he went to Chevrolet-affiliated Chip Ganassi Racing. Ford lost Jeff Gordon to Chevy and once sued Kasey Kahne for breach of contract when he signed with Ray Evernham's Dodge team.

Pericak's comments come as the sport cycles toward more young racers with a group of drivers retiring or closing in on that point. Toyota has stockpiled young drivers in NASCAR's feeder series. Eighteen-year-old William Byron leads the Camping World Truck Series standings after his fourth series victory last weekend at Kentucky, 24-year-old Daniel Suarez leads the Xfinity standings and 20-year-old Erik Jones has won two Xfinity races this season.

Toyota also has 19-year-old Ben Rhodes, 19-year-old Cameron Hayley, 21-year-old Christopher Bell and 24-year-old Rico Abreu competing for its teams in the Camping World Truck Series.

Ford has the youngest lineup of drivers in the Sprint Cup Series among the three manufacturers.

Ford has seven Cup drivers in their 20s: Ryan Blaney (22), Chris Buescher (23), Trevor Bayne (25), Joey Logano (26), Landon Cassill (27), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (28) and Brian Scott (28). NBC Sports

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