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Ford rolling out new FR9 engine with its big guns at Pocono: will it change the NASCAR dynamic?

  Greg Biffle: ready to win again. Been dry too long. Will the new FR9 engine help? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   POCONO, Pa.
   It looks like Sunday will be a red-letter day for Ford's new FR9 engine, with Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and AJ Allmendinger all set to run it in this weekend's Pocono 500.
   The engine, which has been used only occasionally since it was first rolled out almost 18 months ago, has been something of a mystery, apparently even to most of the Ford drivers. 
   This month has been targeted since January by Ford racing boss Jamie Allison as the point for the full rollout of the new motor, which is not only a new design but with all new parts throughout.
    Ford teams have been struggling this spring, and now drivers will see if the new engine can change that dynamic.
    However it probably won't be any panacea, because Ford's current engine has been one of the best in the sport, and drivers have complained more about how their don't seem to handle as well as rivals'.
    The new engine was designed in part to run cooler and more efficiently, which should allow teams better nose-aerodynamics, which in turn should make the cars turn better.
    That, rather than simply more horsepower.
    Biffle says at Michigan next weekend all nine Ford teams will be using the FR9, "but it will hop-scotch after that due to parts supply and how things go.
   "When you are trying to build engines for nine teams, that is 18 engines a week. It takes awhile to ramp up and handle that amount of pistons and rings and all the other parts.
    "That is a lot of pieces to have on the shelf...and you don't want to go out and buy all that stuff until you know you have the right part.
    "It is kind of a double-edged sword: You can't go buy the stuff until you know what you need. When you know what you need, you have to guy buy it, but they have to make it. 
     "It takes a long time to integrate all new stuff.
     "It is a lot of pressure on the engine shop, though. They still have to build the old engines, and now they have to build the new engines. They are having a tough time, but they are working very hard."
    Ironically perhaps this 500 and next weekend's 400 are frequently gas mileage races. "We don't have a lot of fuel mileage history with the new engine yet," Biffle concedes.
    "Certainly at Michigan we know that it takes a good engine with a lot of power.
     "It is a big race track, so having the new engine will be good for us. We will just have to wait and see about fuel mileage."
    And fuel mileage is a sensitive point for Biffle, who says his cars have "been the worst fuel mileage for about the last six or eight races.
    "We are going into Pocono and Michigan -- both fuel mileage events -- so I was asking guys for help on fuel mileage."



    Carl Edwards: nine tour wins in 2008...but winless since. Will the new engine help him? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

     Teammate Edwards isn't sure what the new engine might provide: "I try really hard not to think about the engine.
    "I am hoping it is an advantage. It seems to be running really well...but our old engine ran so well that it is hard to see a big advantage.
    "Hopefully it will evolve, and we can find some gains in horsepower.
     "As long as we don’t have any teething problems then it will be good."
     "I don't think that is where we are struggling," Edwards says. "It is 'the center of the corner,' 'the balance of the race car,' things like that."
    Fortunately, he says "The driver can make a big difference here. It isn't a place like Charlotte, where the car goes into the corner the same way every time.
    "I look at this race as the type of race where one or two of our cars has a chance to go really fast...and this may be a really good chance for us."
    "Here is the deal," Edwards says. "Roush Fenway and the Ford race cars are not as fast as we need to be right now.
    "Ford as a company is doing great. I feel we can all be proud of Ford as an American company, and what they are producing, and the jobs they are providing, especially the products they are producing.
    "What we need to do is just be faster.
     "People ask me all different ways about that -- but the point is we just aren't fast enough.
     "We all know that.
    "And, yes, it is very important for everyone to stay upbeat and keep working and do the best you can. We can't let the frustration snowball and make things worse.
     "That is probably one of the toughest things as a human -- when things aren't going well, to keep your head up and press on. 
    "But Matt ran really well last week; Greg has been running really well.
    "The bottom line is we have to be faster...and being upbeat is the way to go.
     "Keeping your head down and kicking the gravel isn't going to do anything."

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Its nothing to do with Ford as a company, its Nascar and Roush.

Ford is run by businessmen who are interested in the companies, and therefore their own success. Remember Nascar promised to downsize the engines in 2010 which would have made the FR9 immediately obsolete and useless! Thus Ford is not willing, AND THEY SHOULDNT be!!, as a company to spend a lot of money on a engine that is just an engineering exercise. They are doing that all the time around the world for far less money. They cant use these engines anywhere else. They dont make money on Nascar so why do it. Which would have made spending money on the FR9 even dumber.

As I understand it Ford is the manufacturer most determined that there be some relevance to Nascar racing, or.....

Remenber GM's biggest stockholder is the taxpayer,Ford's isnt.

GM stockholder?

Apparenty keeping up with the news is too hard for some...GM paid back it's loan in full over a month ago. Spelling lessons would be nice as well!

Ed. note: The U.S. government

Ed. note: The U.S. government still owns 60 percent of GM.

After seeing "Ford Ending

After seeing "Ford Ending Mercury" doesnt supprise me that their Nascar program is not doing good!!!!!

I am proud of Ford for not taking bailout money!!!!!!

But seems they are more interested in saving money than building up the products!!!!

This nickel and dime approach to the new FR9 engine tells the real story!!

When GMintroduced SB2 and RO7 engines they were ready!!!! Ford will keep messing around and I have heard parts supply issues enough for about 1.5 years!!!!!! That's enough!!!!!!

Ford's biggest mistake in NASCAR was when they got Richard Petty Motorsports, which at the time had its own engine dept, Ford would have been wise to keep this team and not merge with Roush!!!!!

Competition and another separate team would have helped Ford!!! Say what they want, it might not be the engine that is hurting Ford, but the RPM crowd so far has run better with Dodge than Ford!!!!!!!

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