Despite Fords struggles on the racetrack in 2010, Fusions swept the top three qualifying positions for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500.
Elliott Sadler topped the chart with a lap 195.397 mph. While Sadler just missed breaking the track record of 196.235 mph set by Brian Vickers in 2006, his speed was still the fastest this season.
“It was so fast I was shaking as I crossed the line,” Sadler acknowledged.
Greg Biffle, the only Ford racer to win this season, was second quick (193.653 mph) followed by his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards (193.646 mph).
Edwards, who is currently enduring a 69-race winless drought, was encouraged by his third-place run. The driver of the No. 99 Ford tops all competitors with three Sprint Cup Series wins at Texas Motor Speedway.
“It’s too little too late for 2010,” Edwards said. “But you know how this sport goes. There really is no offseason. It’s like you keep developing and working. Right now, we’re fast — right now. We’ve been fast on average over the last couple of months, faster than we’ve been. But we still have a lot of ground to gain.
“I still feel like we need to find something. I don’t know if that means developing the FR9 (engine) a little (further) or finding something with our chassis. But we are going in the right direction and that is good. If we could get a win here in the last three races that would be great.”
It was a good day all around for the Blue Oval camp.
After a miserable qualifying effort at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend, the Roush Yates engines rebounded with four cars in the top five. All four car Richard Petty Motorsports cars were among the top 15 in time trials.
Biffle, who was fastest in first practice, credited the RPM partnership with Roush for improving the Ford performances on intermediate tracks. But Roush Fenway as a whole still must find consistency.
“Since we switched to the RPM front suspension in Chicago we have been running really well on these types of track,” said Biffle, who won at Texas in 2005. “This is a great track for us and it fits what we are doing well right now as a company. I am not really surprised that the Fords are up there. I saw practice and thought that our cars were really good, especially at these race tracks.
“What we need to do is figure out what we have to do to be better at the shorter, slower tracks. It seems like our cars run better the more speed the race track has. The faster places we are right there with them all … We just need to figure that out. We have to figure out how to get better at those places.”
Giving a champion his due
While Elliott Sadler won the pole on Friday, he credited his team and crew chief Todd Parrott for putting a fast car beneath him.
After Parrott won the 1999 Cup championship with Dale Jarrett, he was crew chief for Sadler during much of his days at Robert Yates Racing — including the Texas win in 2004. On July 6th, Richard Petty Motorsports decided to rekindle the partnership. Despite the turmoil at RPM this season, Parrott has brought stability to the No. 19 Ford.
“I can sit here and say a lot of things about myself, but Todd Parrott is the man,” Sadler said. “He has turned our program around so much. He has given me really good race cars and this is the same car that qualified second at California. We knew it could be fast, but it is really neat to get the pole.”
While Sadler is moving to Kevin Harvick Inc., where he will drive the No. 2 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series next year, Parrott’s plans are unknown for 2011 as RPM’s plans are currently still up in the air. Sadler was quick to offer his friend and crew chief a recommendation.
“What I like about Todd is his focus, his drive and his emotion,” Sadler said. “He is good with me mentally and knows how to keep me up on the wheel. His attention to detail is second to none.
“With these cars that is very important because we are in such a tight box with these NASCAR rules. He definitely does not get nowhere near the credit he deserves. He does more with less than most crew chiefs do. He has really put some great effort in the last few weeks. The car drove itself, it did a good job.”
Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin will have to battle traffic on Sunday to get to the front of the pack after qualifying 26th and 30th, respectively. Hamlin didn’t appear worried. After all, he came from 29th to win at Texas this past spring.
Elliott Sadler posted his first pole in 168 starts. His last pole came at Talladega on May 1, 2006. It’s his eighth pole in 427 career starts.
Regan Smith (eighth) was the top qualifier with a Hendrick Motorsports engine. Smith has three finishes of 13th or better in the last four races.
In his Sprint Cup debut, Trevor Bayne posted the top lap among the cars forced to qualify on time with a run of 191.090 mph.
But he wanted more:
“I should have pushed harder,” said Bayne, who is piloting the venerable No. 21 Ford this weekend. “I’m still shaking — it was so intense, so different. I have to get used to a totally different mindset.”
- NASCAR at Texas 2018: TV schedule, standings, qualifying drivers for O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
- NASCAR at Texas: Highlights, results from the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
- NASCAR at Texas: Vegas odds, key stats, sleepers, fantasy drivers to watch
- NASCAR at Texas LIVE updates, results: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch win the stages
- NASCAR at Texas results, standings: Kyle Busch wins first race of the season
- 2018 NASCAR at Texas odds, picks: Model says Joey Logano surprises at O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
- NASCAR at Texas LIVE updates, results: Kevin Harvick wins Stage 1 as Martin Truex Jr. crashes out
- O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 odds, picks 2018: Model says Joey Logano surprises NASCAR at Texas Motor Speedway
- 2018 O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Vegas picks and predictions: Fade Kyle Larson, back Ryan Blaney for NASCAR at Texas
- NASCAR starting lineup at Texas: Kurt Busch on pole as Chase Elliott, others miss qualifying
- Ford flashback: Kurt Busch wins at Martinsville in 2002
- NASCAR starting lineup at New Hampshire: Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson to start on front row
- NASCAR at Bristol: Ryan Preece wins Xfinity race, $100,000 bonus
- North Wilkesboro Speedway, a famous NASCAR ghost, brought back to life in ‘Cars 3’
- NASCAR schedule: Date, time, TV channel for every 2018 Cup Series race
- NASCAR championship races: Drivers, TV schedule, key stats, weather forecast in Homestead
- The 6 best NASCAR road trips that make race weekend more fun
- NASCAR All-Star Race: Kurt Busch expects Talladega-style racing
Fords fast again as NASCAR visits Texas have 1133 words, post on www.foxsports.com at November 5, 2010. This is cached page on Auto News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.