Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, met with media members ahead of the trip to Michigan International Speedway. He explained that the teams have had different strengths at different tracks but that the Next Gen cars are far more sensitive. It’s common for teams to have similar setups but very different spots on the leaderboard.
“Four wins is not enough. It’s not acceptable,” Rushbrook said during his media availability. “We need to get more wins. We need to have drivers further up the standings and hopefully, at least four if not more drivers into the playoffs.
“It’s certainly going to be hard with where we are with only having four regular-season races left. It’s been a struggle with the new car, the new package, with getting our head around it, and how to set it up properly going to the track and optimizing it.”
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Joey Logano Leads Ford Drivers With His Wins
The Ford Performance drivers have combined for four trips to Victory Lane in 2022. Austin Cindric won the Daytona 500 while Chase Briscoe captured his first career Cup Series win at Phoenix Raceway. Joey Logano leads the way with wins at Darlington Raceway and World Wide Technology Raceway.
These three drivers currently have spots in the playoffs while Ryan Blaney has a tentative hold on another spot by virtue of accruing the second-most points in the series. Meanwhile, fellow winless drivers Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola are both top-16 in points despite sitting below the playoff cutline. They have all been strong at times, but they haven’t been able to capture the all-important wins.
“We’ve seen a lot of success with speed at different tracks where we have understood it, but we still didn’t bring the win home,” Rushbrook added. “So, there’s a lot of work to do, but that’s racing. We always need to make all elements of the car better — the engine, the aerodynamics, the chassis, the setup, the tire model, our simulator model — and that’s what we’re working on. We have a lot of meetings and advancements with our teams to try and do better every week.”
A Ford Streak Is on the Line at Michigan International Speedway
Rushbrook has the goal of securing more wins, especially at Michigan International Speedway. This will be a “home” race for the Michigan-based company, and it has been the site of recent success by Ford Performance drivers.
Ford has celebrated in Victory Lane eight times in the past 11 trips to Michigan International Speedway. This run includes seven straight wins between 2018 and 2021. Harvick has achieved the most success with four of these wins while Blaney has the most recent.
Both winless drivers will aim to keep this streak alive while fighting for a spot in the playoffs. Harvick is in a must-win situation while Blaney can still secure a spot in the 16-driver field with enough points. Though he would need no more than one new winner in the remaining four regular-season races.