Fords stepping up to challenge Jimmie

BY Jeff Hammond • May 27, 2011

You are seeing a lot of momentum out of the Roush Fenway Racing camp going into the Coca-Cola 600 (Sunday, 5:30 p.m. ET). I think they can keep it up.

Roush is definitely a contender this year. They just need to stay focused and keep the momentum going. I believe they will be one of the thorns that Jimmie Johnson will have to pull out of his side if he hopes to repeat.

I am not just talking about one car. Roush Fenway Racing has the potential to have multiple cars as contenders. Right now, you have to say Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are two of the biggest thorns in Jimmie’s side. We are also starting to see Greg Biffle and David Regan make some noise too.

Also when you say Roush Fenway Racing, you have to say Ford as a whole. There are some pretty strong cars coming out of the Richard Petty camp right now. Marcos Ambrose and teammate AJ Allmendinger are both capable of getting up there and pulling off a win this year. That naturally can come back into play come September with the importance wins will play this year in setting the 2011 Chase field. Actually with the race at Sonoma coming up in a few weeks, I am eager to see if Marcos can seal the deal at a place where he has had a couple near-misses.

The Ford camp seemed to have its act together last Saturday. With that said, remember that last weekend was a different event. It was the Sprint All-Star Race. Teams always approach that race with a different mindset. Teams experiment more. The engine guys give them motors that are a little more pumped up because it is such a short race. Now this Sunday, it is 600 miles and those motors have to be built to last.

Last Saturday was a really good test for all these teams too. The engineers all gathered valuable data. The teams will come back to Charlotte this weekend with an even better piece. I would wager to you that 90 percent of these teams held back their best car for this weekend.

I think Sunday we are going to see a few more guys stepping up and coming to the front even more than they did during the All-Star race.

 


 

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