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Doug Yates and Jack Roush show off Ford's new NASCAR engine, though it won't run in competition until later in 2009

By Mike Mulhern

   Doug Yates and Jack Roush, who together run NASCAR's Ford engine program, unveiled the new Ford NASCAR engine Thursday during the sport's annual pre-season media tour.
   The engine comes on line in the wake of new NASCAR engines from Dodge, Toyota and Chevrolet over the past few years, and Roush had been critical of NASCAR officials for allowing such advanced engine designs, calling the situation a costly exercise.
   But then Ford's long-running engine has done quite well over the years, and Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle certainly had no problems last year matching horsepower with their rivals.
   And it is unclear just when the new engine will first be used in competition. That will likely come in the second half of the season.
   Yates did much of the development work on the new piece, which Roush described as the first completely new racing engine since the early 1970s.
   The engine, called the FR9, will have a better cooling system in the block and a better valve-train layout, and Ford racing boss Brian Wolfe said it was designed for more efficient builds.
   Roush gave Ford engineers David Simon and Mose Nowland credit for the development, along with Yates.
   Yates called it "an exciting time for us, to say the least. I've never had the opportunity to work on a NASCAR engine with a clean sheet of paper, but that's basically what we've done. And I've enjoyed every second. 
   "We feel we've got a piece that will not only be better than what we've got now but will give us room to grow.
    "With the exception of a few cylinder-head changes, we've had the same engine since 1991.
    "What's got me so excited is we've won races and championships with an engine many consider old, and this new piece is definitely a notch above. So we've got a lot to look forward to for years to come."
    By improving the engine's internal cooling system, teams will be able to more tape on the front grill to improve downforce on the nose.
    "We're not going to rush this engine into competition until we're 100 percent sure it's going to meet our strict standards," Yates said. "We don't feel a need to rush because our current engine is still strong, and that gives us the luxury to take our time."

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