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via Getty

via Getty

In a surprising turn of events, Ford’s resurgence in the NASCAR Cup Series has set the stage for an intense championship battle, leaving Chevrolet and Toyota scrambling to maintain their positions at the top. During a candid conversation on The Dale Jr. Download podcast, the Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr and his co-host Mike Davis delved into the recent developments that have brought Ford back into the limelight. 

NASCAR’s decision to allow manufacturers to adjust their front-end and cooling packages initially favored Chevrolet and Toyota. Still, Ford has found solutions and adapted to the changes, showing remarkable determination and resilience. As the playoffs draw nearer, Ford drivers are stepping up their game, and recent successes have caught the attention of fans and experts alike.

Dale Earnhardt Jr makes championship picks: Can Ford drivers upset the predictions?

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Ford is slowly but steadily turning around its 2023 NASCAR Cup season. While Chevrolet started the season with four straight victories, Toyota caught up and has secured seven wins. Ford struggled with just two victories in the first 20 races. But with six of the top ten positions in the recent race at Richmond occupied by Fords, the manufacturer has sent a clear message to its competitors. The road to the championship trophy will be tough, and the Fords are determined to claim it.

During his conversation with Mike Davis regarding Ford’s resurgence, Dale Earnhardt Jr stated, “Some of the Chevys have struggled here lately. The Fords are now—you know if they can keep this going, I think they’ll be extremely impressive.

“And what it does is it launches new players into that championship conversation. A guy like Joey Logano, who basically snuck into the championship race last year, and won the championship. Ryan Blaney, who has struggled over the last several weeks, who came out of the box fast, and I still have him pegged as my championship driver this year, who, I’m not going to—it’s who I picked—I’m not gonna jump ship middle of the season.

“But as the Fords are getting stronger, this certainly pushes some of the Ford drivers back into the conversation of who can win the championship. Six of the top ten in the race at Richmond were Fords.” 

What seemed like a two-horse race between Chevrolets and Joe Gibbs‘s Toyotas has now evolved into a three-way battle. Chevrolet has set a high bar for the competition by leading the manufacturer’s standings with 820 points and 12 wins. Toyota, close on their heels with 764 points and 7 wins, is not backing down without a fight. However, Ford’s remarkable climb with 744 points and 3 wins has breathed new life into the championship race.

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However, the question remains: What happened during the earlier part of the season that made the Fords suffer?

Ford’s secret weapon unveiled: Bodywork updates and adjustments

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The Fords started the season with uncertainty, struggling to match the pace of their Chevy and Toyota counterparts. However, things began to change a few weeks ago as the Fords secured two remarkable victories at Atlanta and Richmond. Dale Jr couldn’t help but take note of the swift transformation, even though he is a self-proclaimed “Chevy guy” at heart.

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“We call it straight,” Junior emphasized, “when the Chevys are down, they’re down. And when the Fords are up, the Fords are up.” Honesty prevails in the racing world, and the recent performances by the Fords demand acknowledgment.

Ford drivers revealed they had been struggling with their bodywork, which hindered their performance on high downforce tracks. But with some updates and adjustments, the Fords found their stride at Atlanta and Richmond, proving their mettle. The renewed dominance of Ford is not only impressive but also poses a potential challenge for its rivals. While they faced challenges at high downforce tracks, the team’s efforts have paid off at tracks like Pocono and Richmond. This resurgence is a significant step forward, considering Ford’s previous struggles with traffic and dirty air.

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READ MORE: “Fords Are Back” – Dale Earnhardt Jr Turns His Back On His Team As He Predicted The Ford Resurgence

As Earnhardt Jr. points out, the performance of each manufacturer in NASCAR tends to have its ups and downs, and Ford is currently on an upward trajectory. With the playoffs closing in, Ford’s resurgence could be a game-changer in the coming races. The question now lingers: Can they keep this momentum going?