Under the hood of two of the Roush-Fenway Racing entries at Talladega will be the new FR9 engine specifically designed for NASCAR racing. In simple terms the wait for Ford Racing’s new engine has ended.
In a release on Ford Racing’s website it was confirmed that cars driven by Matt Kenseth and David Ragan at Talladega will be utilizing the new FR9 engine.
Code-named FR9, this new piece is the first purpose-built NASCAR racing engine to ever come out of Ford Motor Company. Its design has been spearheaded and developed by famed engine builder Doug Yates and Ford Racing engineer David Simon.
Brian Wolfe the director of Ford North America Motor-sports stated the enthusiasm at Ford over the new engine. “All of us are anxious to see it in competition for the first time.”
He’s not alone, as fans are wondering if Ford is again going to be a player in NASCAR. Currently the sports top three positions are occupied by Hendrick powered Chevrolets, while the fourth place car is in all essence a satellite ran organization.
The highest ranking Ford in NASCAR’s top series is Greg Biffle who currently rests in 7th position. Of the 31 races won this season only 2 have been won by a Ford driver. Those two wins were a long time ago as Matt Kenseth won the first two races of the season.
The only question that remains to be asked if why are these engines only being used by Kenseth and Ragan. It’s an interesting enough question mainly because Biffle is 268 points out of first entering Martinsville. While the reasons aren’t stated publicly it’s likely that Ford doesn’t want anything engine related to happen to the two cars in the Chase (Biffle and Edwards) which will ask a bunch of questions going forward.
As for why Jamie McMuarray, Paul Menard and Bobby Labonte won’t be using the new engine your guess is as good as mine. If the engine was ready I would think that the guys at Ford would want to get as many laps on the new engines to see what they could do in an actual race. Considering that none of these drivers are competing for the right to be in the Top 35. It’s also possible that none of these drivers could be with Ford next season, with the exception of Menard whose contract situation is a bit mucky right now.