Ford Fighting Back
January 25, 2008 | 10:35 A.M. EST
And that's exactly what the manufacturer needs to help it compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Ford won only seven of the 26 races last year in NASCAR's top division and suffered through one of its more dismal seasons in recent history.
But Edsel Ford, great grandson of Henry, vowed to end the turmoil surrounding the company both on and off the track.
"There's been a lot of talk in the Ford Motor Company in the media in the past year, much of it negative," Ford said. "People have wanted to write us off, to say we couldn't compete in the marketplace or on the race track.
"I'm here to tell you one thing today: don't underestimate our resolve."
Team owner Jack Roush, who spearheads Ford's NASCAR efforts, put much of the blame for last year's problems on himself. Roush fell behind in the COT development, an issue that Roush says stunted any possibility of success against Chevrolet, which captured 26 races in 2007.
But Roush is also quick to point out what he believes is a miscommunication from NASCAR regarding its testing policies.
“I’ve got myself up on the cross here,' Roush said. "I’ve said it was my fault and one more spear probably is not going to hurt me worse than I’m already hurt. The thing was that last year NASCAR decided that we couldn’t own the tires, and what they told me was the reason I couldn’t own the tires – for a $450 tire, if they dismounted it, if I gave it back to them and I hadn’t used it, I got $100 back, and I had to pay them $25 to take it off the wheel. So it was really $75 I got for a tire I never used. That hurt a lot."
"I believed that they were serious. I thought that they were going to stop us from testing. They said they were going to control the tests. We were all going to test the same place, and I figured it was a matter of time before the guillotine fell on the people that were testing the cars. So I wasn’t going to create a scenario initially where they said, ‘Well everybody is doing it.’ Well, everybody wasn’t doing it. We weren’t doing it."
The Roush group feels the best thing to do is put last year behind them and focus on the future, with the start of the season right around the corner.
"We’ve got a lot of new engineers and I think we’ve made big gains over the winter," said Greg Biffle. "Obviously, they had too and other teams have, so we’ll have to wait until we get to California and Vegas to see how we stack up to all the rest of the teams. Obviously, they’re a little better than us in Daytona. The Hendrick cars were the fastest there. We weren’t gonna catch up in a month-and-a-half, but given the first quarter of this season, I think that we’ll be able to close the gap to that team.”