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Penske to run Roush Yates engines; Mustang World Challenge protest

August 6, 2012

Monday is sure a news day in the racing business. A press release just arrived from Roush Yates Engines stating they’ll be providing the Ford FR9 engines that Penske Racing will use when the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season gets underway with pre-season testing.

Penske Racing announced earlier this year it’s moving from Dodge back to Ford NASCAR power in the 2013 season. The team previously used Ford engines from 1991 through the 2002 Cup season.

What this means for the Penske Racing engine-building concern is anyone’s guess. That group have been building Dodge engines for Penske’s two Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series competitors for the past few years. Earlier this summer Penske Racing president Tim Cindric tweeted that the use of the engine shop is still TBA and there’s been no comment from their camp.

Cindric did make all the appropriate comments about working with RYE: “Ford has been consistent in its belief that we will be stronger with one engine specification rather than continuing with an independent approach,” he said. “Roush Yates has a proven record and we are looking forward to many successes together.”

Anne Proffit photo

Cindric told USA Today’s Nate Ryan that the team will “explore avenues to keep all 63 employees” and that options would include “moving staff to Roush Yates, reassigning in Penske Racing and building engines in other series,” he told Nate.

As expected, RYE CEO Doug Yates said it was “an honor to provide Penske Racing with Roush Yates Ford engines. I have always admired Roger Penske as a team owner and a respected businessman in our sport and beyond. I am look forward to many wins, championships and other successes in supporting the Penske organization.”

Ford Racing photo – Jamie Allison

Ford Racing’s Jamie Allison noted that the decision by Penske Racing effectively reinforces the “One Ford” approach. “This aligns with the spirit of One Ford; having a unified One Ford engine program in NASCAR allows us to apply all of our technical resources into one program benefiting all Ford teams.”

There was more Ford news on this Monday afternoon after this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) saw the fleet of Ford Mustang 302 GTS racers parking rather than racing after SCCA further emasculated the cars. Driver (and television reporter) Justin Bell got on the soapbox about the lack of parity in PWC. This is nothing new for SCCA, which has always seemed to have problems with parity. Watch Bell’s comments here and let SCCA know how you feel about their heavy-handed manner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLsUAk-lnDc&feature=youtu.be

Ford Racing did produce a statement on the protest of its teams in the World Challenge race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car course. While the statement wasn’t attributed to anyone Ford did say it is “very proud of the Boss 302S and all the privateer teams that choose to campaign this production-based race car in SCCA World Challenge and other race series.

Anne Proffit photo

“Competitiveness is critical to the success of any racing series. The actions taken by the individual Ford teams on Sunday highlight the difficult that World Challenge has had establishing and maintaining parity in the GTS class throughout the season and the resulting frustration of the competitors. We understand and share the Ford teams’ concerns over the competitiveness and the resulting rules changes that have hurt them on track.”

Still Ford Racing is committed to working with the rules-makers at SCCA and its Pro Series, together with the Boss 302S owners. All involved are hoping to find some middle ground with a rules package that will “allow all vehicle makes to be competitive in the existing GTS class.”

As expected, the PWC had its own take on the Mustang fracas noting, “The Mustang Boss 302 is currently among the fastest GTS cars in acceleration and top speed; it has at times demonstrated lateral capabilities on par with the best in the class, yet it appears to require further development under braking.” Not sure what that has to do with handicapping the cars to the point where everyone running a Ford Mustang Boss 302 had to pull out???

With a single race remaining at the end of the month on the Raceway in Sonoma, the Mustang has two wins, seven podiums and 15 top-five finishes. “As we have done all year, the data garnered from each of the cars at Mid-Ohio will be evaluated in the 72 hours after the event,” SCCA’s PWC statement said. All competitors have to use a data logger supplied by PWC.

“Any positive or negative adjustments to enhance parity in each of the classes will be made at least seven days prior to the 2012 season finale in Sonoma,” SCCA concluded.

I’ll update this posting as more news comes in, but it’s interesting to look at the results and see retirements for all of the Boss 302 entries in Sunday morning’s rain impacted race.

By Anne Proffit

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