One of the biggest questions going into 2017 was how would Stewart-Haas Racing fit into the Ford camp, after spending it’s first eight years in NASCAR under the Chevrolet banner.
Since Kurt Busch kicked off the campaign winning the Daytona 500, it’s safe to say it started well.
Since then, it’s been an up-and-down season for SHR. After winning the Great American Race, Busch has five top-10 finishes in 12 races, with six finishes coming outside the top 20.
However, heading into Pocono Raceway, Busch is the defending winner, picking up his third victory at the Tricky Triangle, the first of which came with Ford, back in 2005.
As Busch has made the transition back to Ford 12 years later, the chemistry with the other Ford teams is high.
“Right away at Daytona, everyone from Ford—Edsel Ford [II], Henry Ford, Mark Fields [former CEO of Ford], everybody was there at Daytona and there was a big meeting about how we needed to start working together with the teams at restrictor plate tracks,” Busch said at Pocono. “As we move forward at the mile-and-a-halves, short tracks, there are little things that we’ve been working on at SHR versus what Penske is doing, or Roush, or RPM.”
Overall, Ford has five victories this season. Brad Keselowski has a pair of wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway. Joey Logano recorded a triumph at Richmond International Raceway after starting the back. And Ricky Stenhouse Jr. picked up his his first career victory at Talladega Superspeedway, after starting from the pole.
Halfway through the regular season, six Fords are currently in position to make the playoffs. Ryan Blaney is currently eight markers behind Matt Kenseth for the last playoff position, though the No. 21 car has led 233 laps this season.
For Busch, and SHR, it’s about connecting with the other Ford teams to make their manufacture the top in the sport.
“We want to try and share the information, but at the same time keep the technology in house,” he said. “Ford has a nice balance of what they’ve asked us to do and how we’ve shared information moving forward. It’s really unique with having Doug Yates as our engine builder. He’s really smart. He’s on top of everything.