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The chase may be hot again...or at least hotter...but where were the Fords Sunday at Texas?

  Matt Kenseth nearly pulled off the surprise at Texas with a late charge (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   FORT WORTH, Texas
   Until the Stealth Bomber, Matt Kenseth, nearly pulled off a late-race surprise, for which he is well-known, it wasn't much of a Sunday for Ford men.
   And that's curious, because Texas Motor Speedway is a track that team owner Jack Roush has frequently held court at over the years since it opened in 1997.
   Big case in point: Where the heck was Greg Biffle?
   Ford men led 240 of the 500 miles here in the spring.
   This time? Zero.
   So if this were the first race of 2010, given Jimmie Johnson's romp through the chase – up till the third lap of the 3-1/2-hour Texas 500 at least – well, there's work to be done in the Roush Ford camp.

   And there's work to be done down in NASCAR headquarters in Daytona too: The Nielsen overnight (big city) ratings for ABC's Sunday Texas 500 were disappointing, continuing a run of disappointments. The Texas 500 drew a 3.1 overnight TV rating (which should rise a few tenths when the final nations come in later this week, covering smaller communities); that's down almost 10 percent from last year's 3.4 rating.
   To put that in perspective – NBC's NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles posted a 14.3 overnight rating (for the show from 830 pm to 1145 pm).
   If NASCAR's not careful, ABC may again pre-empt the finish of the Phoenix race for America's Funniest Home Videos.
   And then comes this weird thing:
    Looks like more damage control over there….

   Biffle, who ran so strong here in the spring, and would have won if not for a pit stop problem late, was never a factor this time around, which was particularly telling, since Biffle has pretty much been the Roush benchmark this season.
    Biffle was perhaps the most disappointing. At least crew chief Greg Erwin played the fuel mileage game well enough to turn a 12th-place car into an eighth-place finish. The car, Biffle said "was just a handful. We couldn't get it right. We pretty much ran 10th to 15th all day, and then at the end a few guys ran out of gas so we got those spots."
   Kenseth didn't appear in the hunt Friday: "We were pretty slow when we got here. We qualified 30th, and had an uphill battle all Sunday.
   "But we would have finished about third or fourth on performance, and the way everything shook out, we still ran third, so overall I'm happy with that.
   "We were 10 laps short (of finishing without an extra pit stop). I thought when we got tires with 25 to go that we actually had a shot to win if some of those guys didn't make it.
    "But Kurt Busch (who wound up winning when dominating Kyle Busch ran out of gas with three laps to go) was real fast all day, and (crew chief) Pat Tryson is famous for calling fuel-mileage races."

   Jamie McMurray's Talladega win last week was a departing present for Roush, since McMurray will be leaving at the end of the season. Crew chief Donnie Wingo is staying, but precisely what he'll be doing in 2010 is still up in the air.
   McMurray himself faces a dilemma, it appears. The list of Cup rides in 2010 will be slimmer than even this year, with more teams simply expected to disappear. McMurray's top possibility would seem to be with car owner Chip Ganassi, where he first got his start back in 2002; and that might be a great pick, running as Juan Pablo Montoya's teammate on the Chevy operation. Ganassi would be willing to sign him, but it appears the ultimate decision will be up to sponsor Bass Pro Shops, which seems more interested in either Casey Mears or Bobby Labonte.
   Carl Edwards, last season's big winner, but way off this season and still winless, got taken out when Juan Pablo Montoya slipped in the corner and triggered a crash. However it's hard to recall just when Edwards has had a great shot at a victory this season.
   Edwards concedes this year "it's really frustrating.  I don't know how many wins we had at this point last year -- seven or something -- but we had nine wins last year, and that was an amazing year. 
   "So I've kind of tried to think of it differently -- not that we haven't had any wins this season, but rather that we've had nine wins over the last two.  That sounds a lot better.
    "But it is frustrating.  You go out and you do the very best you can…and I feel I'm doing sometimes a better job in the car and yet we're not getting the same results.
    "But that's what makes this sport tough: The good times are good…and the bad times you've just got to dig in and work.
     "2005 and 2006 were a lot like this -- where we had huge expectations.  The media is so nice to me; everybody was so pumped and voted us to win the championship.
    "But I knew in the back of my mind that things can go great or they can go bad….I know how cruel this sport can be.
    "Last year when we got our stuff right, when my car was balanced, I felt I could win almost every race.
    "This year the competition level has increased hugely. Not only are guys faster but there are more fast guys."

Where were the Fords!

I cannot believe you are shocked that they didnt run good!!!!!
They have not run good all season!

You can be sure that if Chevy was running this bad, Nascar before half of the year would change that!!!!!!!

I would love to see if Jimmy Johnson was in another brand of car! and was winning like he has the last 4 years, you would see a rule change before he had won 2 point titles!

To prove a point, Bobby Labonte when he gets out of Yates Ford and goes to backmarker Chevy he does better! Also look how fast the Montoya Chevy is! So somehow even with this cot they have a advantage!

Look Chevy has great cars and teams, but it is Nascar showing favotitism that deprives 'Car Guys" fans a even playing field!

You are only allowed to dominate with a "bowtie on the hood"

So your question should be where is Nascar!!!!!!!!

The France boys always

The France boys always favored the Chevy's. I think it was '02 when the Chevrolet's were struggling they were allowed to make mid season changes and wouldn't you know that's when Smoke went on a role and beat Mark Martin for the championship. Then in '03 the Fords were struggling and requested to make a change to the nose of the car mid season and were told they had to wait until next year. Granted, Kenseth smoked everyone for the championship that year, but only with one win.

Parity? Remember last time Fords dominated?

Last time the Fords were considered any threat to win, all the talking heads could holler was "parity" where is the "parity"?! Soon as Chevy dominates again, that word has slipped completely out of the program.

And whatever happened to the mobil dyno? Anyone care to guess the HP on the 48 car? Used to be every time a Ford kicked the Chevys in the ass, out came the dyno.! Remember? The dirty truth is that GM has "run" Nascar ever since the "New Era". Oh Nascar can't control wrecks or flats and trouble in the pits etc., If they could nothing would win except a damn Chevrolet, and then no one would watch ever.

Unless of course EARNHARDT won, but that's another popularity contest story. That hasn't been going so good lately I'm so pleased to say. It just kills dumbell fans that don't know a camshaft from a crankshaft that baby Earnhardt can't win in the best equipment! (Makes my day that he can't..LOL!)

I have been around for 61 years. Go check the history of who in what cars were allowed to win and figure it out. Prior to 1972 GM stuff was so-so, a usual backmarker, though there were years when Pontiac and Chev were succesful, but Dodge and Ford pretty much ruled.

When the "Hemi" was disallowed, and Ford couldn't use the SOHC to counter, the small block rule left GM with the only small engine competitive package, or so it seemed.

Early eighties when the Elliots showed up and killed at Daytona with a SB Ford, Nascar was so shocked they held him up for two laps over a missing headlight plate, that actually "hurt" the car. It didn't work, he kicked GM's ass anyhow so the rules changes "restricted" the 212MPH Fords...FOREVER MORE. The "flying cars" excuse is just that. The restrictor plate is why we have "flying cars" cause they can't get away from one another!

Don't take my word for it. Read the history and think about it without your bias. But then Chevy jerks can't ever admit when they are wrong.. LOL!

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