Ford Motor Company dominated the weekend at Kansas Speedway, sweeping the front row in qualifying and winning the Price Chopper 400 on Sunday. But Bill Elliott and his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion had to play supporting roles, largely because the car was simply too loose for much of the race.
Elliott started strong after a season-best 11th-place qualifying effort and held his own early in the race. But in the middle stages, the loose condition put him a lap down to the leaders.
“We were just too free,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said.
With relatively few caution periods to open up pit strategy opportunities, Elliott and his Wood Brothers team dropped back during the middle portions of the race before rejoining the lead lap late in the race.
But while the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion was finally starting to come around, the laps were winding down. With 35 laps remaining, Elliott was shown in 32nd place. He didn’t stay there long. By race’s end, he had made his way to 25th; giving him and the team their sixth top-25 finish in 10 starts this year and their fourth in a row.
“Bill did a good job driving it up through there at the end,” Wood said. “We had good pit stops all day, but the car was just too loose. We never did get it really where it needed to be. It was the best it had been all day on that last run.”
Still, it was mostly smiles in the Ford camp afterward. Jamie Allison, Director, Ford North American Motorsports, even got to make his first trip to Victory Lane.
Allison pointed out that the successes Ford achieved at Kansas were the result of a team effort.