Through the early weeks of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the Chevrolets have more often than not been the fastest and strongest cars. The "Bowtie Brigade" has three wins in five races, while Team Penske’s Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski have given Ford a pair of victories.
Not surprisingly, Chevrolets ruled Friday at Martinsville Speedway, leading practice and grabbing nine of the top 12 spots in the final round of qualifying.
However, it was Logano’s Ford that put down the fastest lap of the final qualifying round and will start Sunday’s STP 500 from the pole.
"We had a fast race car and obviously a good motor and it all kind of worked out well," Logano said after his pole-winning run.
While Logano and Keselowski have taken Ford to Victory Lane already in 2015, Daytona 500 champion Logano said it’s not surprising the Chevrolets have been fast each weekend.
"I think we’ve seen all year that the Chevys have been fast, but you can look and see why," he said. "They have great race car drivers. They have great race teams. They have a lot of cars out there.
"For us, there are only a few of us Fords out there. We don’t have a huge fleet, so the chances of us winning is not as great because there aren’t as many out there, but we do a great job to make sure to get the ‘Blue Oval’ out there and trying to win every time we can. Team Penske has done a great job working with Ford with the Roush Yates motors."
Ford and Team Penske have also worked hard at improving at tracks where they have struggled in the past, including Martinsville. The last time a Ford went to Victory Lane at the .526-mile short track was 12 years ago when Kurt Busch won for team owner Jack Roush.
"This has been a racetrack for Ford that has been challenging for them, so I feel like over the last few years we’ve identified where we’re weak, and then you can start working on it," Logano said. "That’s the big thing — just understanding where you’re not good before you try to start trying to fix it."
Despite being essentially locked into the Chase for the Sprint Cup with his Daytona 500 victory, Logano is not treating Sunday’s race as merely a test for October’s Chase race. He wants to take Ford back to Victory Lane here.
Logano believes Martinsville has "been an OK track" for him in recent years, but points to former Martinsville winners Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin as those to beat, once again, on Sunday.
"Those guys are consistently fast at this racetrack, and we’ve made progress, we’re getting closer," Logano said. "I feel like Todd (Gordon, crew chief) and I have really looked into what that next step is and what that feel is that I need to look for, and it’s just a matter of finding it and getting it. I feel like we’re making progress. Obviously in qualifying we have a fast car; we just have to make sure it lasts for 500 laps."