Posted: 4:41 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, 2013
By Jordan Bianchi
When Ford recruited Penske Racing last season to join its NASCAR program, it was seeking to establish to counteract the harmony that both Toyota and Chevrolet shared amongst its teams.
But one of the immediate questions was how Penske, coming off a season in which it had won the Sprint Cup championship, would co-exist with Roush Fenway Racing, long Ford's flagship team.
Through the early portions of this season the results have been decidedly mixed.
The manufacturer has struggled to keep pace with Toyota and Chevy this season. On the year a Ford-backed driver has been to Victory Lane just twice and has only one ranked driver eighth or better in the standings.
Perhaps more troublesome, the lines of communication between Penske and Roush have not been as open as Ford would like.
Last week, Greg Biffle was candid in the dichotomy that exists in having two competing teams share information with one another and act as one entity.
"... Ford sparked the discussion of how can our teams elevate one another without an open book, without giving away our speed secrets," he said. "It's a delicate situation. It's hard to do. We have proprietary stuff and they do [too]. We're still racing against them for the championship and the chase spots. It is difficult."
The issue of teamwork was addressed in a closed-door meeting Ford officials had Monday with Roush and Roger Penske in an effort to spur more cooperation between the two teams.
The hope is with the season nearing the halfway point there will be a better sharing of data gathered which will increase performance and lead to Ford capturing its first manufacturers' championship since 2002.
"You can't just have an addition to a family and expect everything to operate as it did before," said Director of Ford Racing, Jamie Allison. "We really do need to just give it a little bit of time to allow for the blended, broader family to come together a little more cohesively and get comfortable with each other, and then allow for more synergy coming out of working together.
"It just takes a little time. "Those are not really the things that are the reasons for where we are where we are. There are more pragmatic, foundational platform relational elements that we are addressing."