After a three-year stint as director of Ford Performance, Dave Pericak will leave the role Dec. 1.
Pericak will stay with Ford on its production side, serving as the engineering director for Unibody.
Pericak said Thursday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint” that his time at Ford Performance was a “heck of a ride.”
His time included Ford winning the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro class and recruiting Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford from Chevrolet.
“We can’t underestimate what it’s like to switch to a new manufacturer and all the work that goes into that,” Pericak said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We weren’t able to start until the last race last year working together in earnest. There was a short amount of time to get ready and running. I think they’ve done an amazing job. I think they’re really gaining traction right now on understanding the Ford body and everything that goes with it. We’ve given them quote a few tools that were new to them as well. Next year, I have high expectations for Stewart-Haas and I know they do too.”
If any of those drivers win the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it would be Ford’s first since Kurt Busch won the title in 2004.
“I can tell you guys, rest assured, we are doing everything in our power to make sure that we end up at Ford Championship weekend with more than one driver there and for the ability to win that race,” Pericak said. “The championship means a lot to Ford. We haven’t had a championship in a while. I know the teams have recently said to me that they have even more of an incentive now that they know I’m leaving. They want to hand me the championship before I go.”
Pericak’s tenure also included the manufacture reeling off seven consecutive wins in Cup restrictor-plate races. That was capped off by Brad Keselowski’s win Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
“I think what you’re seeing now is everything’s coming together and it’s really starting to click,” Pericak said “This team is ready to continue on. They don’t need me to do so. I’m actually going back into the mainstream now and take all the learnings and approaches that I’ve had here at Ford Performance and take it back into the bigger Ford (body) and affect a larger portion of the company.”
With his new role as engineering director for Unibody, Pericak will be responsible for the engineering on all Ford products that are not trucks.
“Anything that’s not on a frame, engineering globally I will be responsible for,” Pericak said. “It’s a really big job within the company. Several thousand people will report to me. It’s the next evolution for me and my career.”
Pericak’s last year with Ford Performance also saw its NASCAR competitors, Toyota and Chevrolet, make significant body changes and announcements. Toyota brought a new nose to the Cup Series and Chevrolet revealed it will bring the Camaro to Cup after years of use in the Xfinity Series.
Pericak was asked if Ford plans to promote the Mustang from Xfinity to Cup in the near future.
“Clearly for 2018 we’ll be running the cars that we’re running now,” Pericak said. “We’ll have to see what we do in 2019. It would be great to see the Mustang out on the track. I think it would lend itself quite well to this racing. All I’ll say guys is stay tuned.”