The race team manager says – The Oakland Press

Ford drivers on their way to the Michigan International Highway.

The same can’t be said for what they did in the NASCAR Cup Series season.

Four wins are not enough. “It’s unacceptable,” said Mark Rashbrook, Ford Performance Motorsports global director.

“We need to make more gains. We need to increase the number of drivers in the standings and hopefully at least four if not more drivers will take part in qualifying.”

Austin Cendrick, Chase Briscoe and Joey Logano took the wins for Ford, who had two in the first season for the next-generation race car.

Those three drivers are likely to represent Ford in qualifying, which begins after the next four races that begin at the FireKeepers 400 Casino at MIS on Sunday.

“It’s definitely going to be tough with what we’re up to as there are only four races left for the regular season, so it’s been a struggle with the new car, the new package with having our head spinning and how to properly prepare it to go to the racetrack,” Rashbrook said.

“We’ve had a lot of success with speed at different tracks where we understood, but we still didn’t win. So, there is a lot of work to be done, but this is racing.”

Ford’s primary teams are Team Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing and Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing. The Blue Oval is also the manufacturer of Wood Brothers Racing, Front Row Motorsports and Rick Ware Racing.

“We have different strengths across the different cars on the different tracks,” Rashbrook said. “I think that’s part of the struggle because this car is so sensitive that even when one team takes four or two cars to the track with very small differences, you’ll see one near the top of the board and two, three or four down at the other end of the board. So, That’s part of it and just understanding how sensitive it is and making sure we can really find the perfect place to run these cars.

“We always need to improve all the elements of the car: the engine, the aerodynamics, the chassis, the setup, the tire model, our simulation model, and that’s what we’re working on. We have a lot of meetings and progress with our teams to try to do better every week.”

Ford has won the last seven races at MIS. And four wins were by Stuart Haas Kevin Harvick, who earned 96 points from the 16th and final supplement berth.

“Every NASCAR race weekend is a big weekend, but especially Michigan as our race of home, as our manufacturer, with our employees, families and CEOs,” Rushbrook said. “There’s a lot of pressure on us to win every race, but especially here in Michigan in front of all these people. It’s important for our teams as well. They know that too, so (we) are looking forward to having everyone out there and putting on a good race.”

Penske’s Ryan Blaney won the 2021 race in the #12 Mustang. Harvick swept both races in 2020; Harvick and Logano won in 2019, Harvick and Clint Bowyer won in 2018.

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