In many ways the 2019 Daytona 500 was Ford’s race to lose…and lose they did. Now, the company reversed course in their NASCAR racing efforts in Atlanta by winning the event but the Daytona situation exposed some rifts in what the company calls their One Ford racing initiative. What does that mean? Well it seems to us that it means every Ford team is supposed to look past their own ambitions in times of potential success and do whatever they can to help fellow competitors wearing the blue oval. That did not happen in Daytona as Joey Logano and Michael McDowell ran their own race rather than McDowell giving Logano a needed push in the late laps. Logano was hot about this development after the race and apparently let McDowell hear about it.
That’s when Ford stepped in.
Like some sort of a parent trying to sooth tensions between their kids, Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance got involved after the fact to try and get everyone back on the same page. Rushbrook was on the Morning Drive show that runs on the NASCAR Sirius/XM Channel and his further comments were interesting as well. “I will say that we frequently get involved,” he said. “We don’t always get involved, but certainly after Daytona, like I said, we’re a family and every family has issues. For sure we had our issues at Daytona, can’t deny that. But as a family, we talked through those issues, tried to understand what led to those issues and then how can we fix that and make it even better going forward.”
So what the hell is the conversation here? Does the Ford executive tell the teams that they need to just forget wanting to win the race on their own and to push the guy that the company wants to win? It is all well and good to sit racing drivers down and tell them how to do stuff but when you are are strapped into a car rocketing around the track at 200mph trying to win for your team and your sponsors it would seem that the game changes, right?
We’re guessing the Ford guys did a lot of talking here, the drivers did a lot of nodding, and after leaving the room did not remember a word of what got said.