Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Kasey Kahne gives Ford's new FR9 engine a big thumbs up

  Kasey Kahne: the fastest of the Fords again, and now armed with the new FR9 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   BROOKLYN, Mich.
   So how is Ford's new FR9 engine looking, after two key runs, the Pocono 500 and Sunday's Michigan 400?
   Well, there is certainly something there, Kasey Kahne says.
   And Kahne should have a good perspective:
   First, he's had one of the top Fords all season. He won a Daytona 150, and he's been up front frequently.
   Second, he ran the old Ford 452 engine last week at Pocono...and this week he ran the new FR9.
   Third, since he's leaving Ford for the Chevy camp at the end of the season, he doesn't have to worry about being politically correct.
   To the point, Kahne finished a close second here Sunday to Toyota's Denny Hamlin, the Sprint Cup tour's benchmark the past two months.
   And Greg Biffle, AJ Allmendinger and Carl Edwards finished top-12. At Pocono Ford had only two in the top-12.
    This race marked the first full rollout of the new engine. Last week Kahne, though he had one of the best Fords at Pocono (though crashed while battling fellow Ford driver Allmendinger for 10th late), said he didn't feel his car had as much punch as it did this time.
   "Last week I couldn't draft," Kahne said. "I could get a run off the corner, but when I got to the straightaway, they would pull away from me.
    "That shouldn't happen. You should be able to get the draft and suck up.
    "They have been working hard on this engine, and it was nice to get it because I was able to suck up to the car in front of me...which is how it is supposed to work.
     "It was nice to get on a level playing field.
    "Now we just have to work on the car and on other things that matter to win the race."
   So was Ford at a disadvantage under the hood. Edwards has insisted no, but Kahne seems to be saying otherwise.
   "I don't know (horsepower) numbers; I didn't ask and they didn't tell me," Kahne says. "But if you can feel it as a driver -- when you are talking 800-some horsepower on a two-mile track -- when you touch it all the way down the straightaway, it has got to be a decent number.
    "It could handle heat, and it supposedly lowered weight, which is good (for handling).
    "I think Ford has made a really nice improvement, and I was happy to be the best Ford. Hopefully we can keep after it and be solid the rest of the year.
     "I didn't feel like we were at a disadvantage with the (old) engine. I can go back to my Dodge years -- Last year (with Dodge) was one of the worst years our engines ran at Richard Petty Motorsports.
   "So it felt really good in practice when I sucked up to Kyle Busch here Friday. That made me feel like we had something...which was a good feeling."
    Nevertheless Sunday here until that last caution, for debris on the backstretch, Hamlin was nine seconds ahead of Kahne and pulling away.
    Hamlin had questions about it, saying he never saw anything, but conceded "I know this is supposed to be entertainment."
    Kahne said yes there was something out there: "A big piece of debris.
   "I felt good at the time, because I thought we might have a shot. We had made gains (through the race) and tightened the car up, so I thought maybe I could hang with him.
    "I hung with him for about three laps -- running in his dirty air. But he slowly crept away.
    "Still, we were close, which was a huge improvement. So I am happy with it.
    "At Darlington, Dover and Pocono we had top-five cars and then had errors and couldn't finish.
     "It was nice to put the whole thing together."

     [Note: You can use Twitter as an easy headline service for mikemulhern.net stories, with our instant Tweets to your mobile as soon as our newest NASCAR story is filed. And mikemulhern.net is mobile-friendly for viewing. You can also use the orange RSS feed button as a quickie headline service on your laptop or home computer for mikemulhern.net stories, by creating a Live Bookmark RSS feed on your web browser's toolbar. Or you can create a Google Alert for mikemulhernnet.]



Mike -

LOOK OUT!!!!! Slow-moving traffic in front of you.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com