NASCAR is a sport where everyone evolves. It’s a game of cat and mouse. One team or one manufacturer is good in their peak, while another one struggles. Then, shortly after, the script flips. Just ask Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota.
They weren’t peaking when it counted most last season. They started out great but everyone else kind of caught up. They were slow out of the gates this season but finally finding their stride now.
Well, Ford is now in that boat.
They were down in success the last few years, but they did have a vast improvement at the start of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Ford, led 1,373 laps through the first 11 races this year. Five of those 11 races saw Ford drivers lead 100 more laps.
But, in the eight races since?
Ford drivers have combined to lead just 210 laps total in those eight races. That has some big named Ford crew chiefs questioning if they have a now aero deficiency compared to the Chevrolet and Toyota cars.
That was a big topic of conversation among those crew chiefs in the garage stalls this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Take this stat for what it’s worth. On 1.5-mile tracks earlier in the season, Ford led 313, 267 and 100 laps respectively combined at Atlanta, Texas and Kansas. At the other two 1.5-mile tracks recently since at Charlotte and Kentucky, they led 55 and 7 laps respectively.
With the playoffs having five 1.5-mile tracks in it, if Ford can’t find that advantage back again, they will be in trouble.