The future of Ford Motor Co.’s NASCAR Sprint Cup teams beyond its flagship Roush Fenway Racing organization remained somewhat uncertain as practice opened Friday at Talladega Superspeedway.
All four Richard Petty Motorsports Ford Fusions were at Talladega on Friday, and the team has its Texas cars for next week, a team spokesperson confirmed.
Another source close to RPM said lenders had taken back the team from majority owner George Gillett and had approved a plan for Richard Petty to manage the team’s day-to-day operations, but official team sources would neither confirm nor deny that, nor say who was currently running the team or if Gillett was gone.
“It’s business as usual,” a team spokesperson said, declining to answer specific questions about RPM management or operations.
Meanwhile, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates continues to mull a decision whether to leave Chevrolet and move to Ford next year. Ford Motor Co. is courting EGR, looking to shore up its lineup and give the automaker more depth in the Cup ranks. Sources familiar with the deal said a decision from EGR could be forthcoming as early as this weekend.
Roush Fenway Racing drivers Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle said Friday that they would welcome another frontline team into the Ford camp.
“The more teams we can have running Fords, the better off we’d be,” Edwards said Friday at Talladega. “If the Ganassi guys want to switch to Fords, that would be huge for us. I would love to be able to work with Jamie (McMurray, EGR driver and a former Roush teammate) and Juan (Pablo Montoya) and their engineers, and all the people over there. They’ve made some really big gains and their cars are really fast, so that would be huge for us to be able to work with them. The more the merrier.”
Edwards said he’d like to have EGR to work with next season and beyond.
“If those guys were able to come over and able to be part of our group and they had things that were working better than us, that’s definitely good for us,” Edwards said. “Hopefully, we could learn from them. ... If you could have people like that, that are close and competitive, that are close to you, that would be great.”
“I think it would be great for Ford to have more teams in the sport,” said Biffle. “That being said, I don’t believe there would be a technology alliance between them and us. It would purely be them (EGR) using the (Ford) engine. There would be no communication between the teams at that point, similar to what Hendrick does with other Chevy teams. They pretty much keep their information to themselves.”
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.