Kevin Harvick’s come-from-behind triumph Saturday night at Kansas Speedway gives Ford seven wins in the first 12 races of the season, leaving the manufacturer three victories shy of last season’s win total.
The seven victories match the number of Cup races Ford won in 2015 and is more than Ford won in a season in four of the previous nine years.
Preseason exceptions weren’t as high because Ford had the oldest body of the manufacturers. (Ford announced in April it will switch to the Mustang in 2019).
With Ford’s success this season, some have pointed to a comment Brad Keselowski made after the 2018 season finale in Miami that forecasted potential challenges for Ford teams this year.
After Saturday’s race, Keselowski was asked on Twitter to explain his comment from last year.
Keselowski responded on Twitter:
After the 2017 season finale, Keselowski was asked: “Toyota is one‑two. I know that’s been sort of a theme this season and you’ve been outspoken about Chevy gets a new car next year. Does Ford get any help for 2018?’’
Keselowski responded: “I sure hope so. When that (Toyota) car rolled out at Daytona, and I think we all got to see it for the first time, I think there was two reactions: One, we couldn’t believe NASCAR approved it; and two, we were impressed by the design team over there. You know, with that said, I don’t think anyone was really ‑‑ ever had a shot this year the second that thing got put on the racetrack and approved.
“It kind of felt like Formula 1 where you had one car that made it through the gates heads and tails above everyone and your hands are tied because you’re not allowed to do anything to the cars in those categories that NASCAR approves to really catch up.
“As to what will happen for 2018, you know, I don’t know. I would assume that Chevrolet will be allowed to design a car the same way that Toyota was for this one, but Ford doesn’t have any current plans for that. If that’s the case, we’re going to take a drubbing next year, so we’ll have to see.’’
Ford drivers were hopeful before the season that NASCAR’s new inspection process, the Optical Scanning Station, would keep the manufacturers close. One of the most impactful changes has been the move to a common splitter, something NASCAR announced in Oct. 2017.
After 12 races — one third of the season — Ford has seven wins, Toyota has four and Chevrolet has one with its new Camaro body. Ford’s seven wins have come from Harvick (five), Clint Bowyer (one) and Joey Logano (one).