Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 | 2:40 p.m.
Finally, there’s some good news out of Detroit. The Ford Motor Company, the only Detroit manufacturer that didn’t accept federal bailout money, announced Thursday a surprising profit of $2.7 billion for 2009. This was the first profit for the company in four years.
So, naturally, the first question that came to my mind was what, if anything, would this mean for Ford’s involvement in NASCAR? Would Ford be willing to support more teams in Cup racing? Could we see Ford increase its financial commitment to the existing teams?
I put these questions to Kevin Kennedy, the communications director for Ford Racing. Kevin responded that there are no plans to add more Ford teams for 2010. Ford’s racing budget for 2010 is decided in advance and is unchanged from the amount the company spent on their racing program in 2009. Since the budget is unchanged, that also means that there won’t be an increase in funding to existing teams.
Kevin mentioned that the company is happy with the current stable of Cup teams and, as would be expected, is excited about Richard Petty Racing’s move to Ford and with the company’s involvement with Front Row Motorsports. The manufacturer will have a larger presence in the sport next year due to the addition of Richard Petty Racing, but that was a deal that was decided last year before the announcement of Ford’s financial gain. For 2010, Ford will have 12 to 13 teams in the Sprint Cup Series. Chevrolet will have around 14 and Dodge will have four.
I like the fact that Ford and Chevy will be so evenly represented on the track, and I hope that we can see rivalries between manufacturers as well as drivers this season.