A Ford official said Thursday that the manufacturer would like to add “a couple more cars” to its Nextel Cup roster, although he wouldn’t give a timetable.
A couple more teams could help Ford keep its young drivers, something Ford and its teams haven’t been able to always do. Dale Jarrett’s departure to Toyota after this season opens one ride, but several Ford drivers are signed through at least 2008. That could create limited opportunities for the nearly 10 drivers being groomed by Ford’s Cup teams.
Ford, whose drivers have won two of the past three titles, has the fewest Cup teams competing with eight — five with Roush Racing, two with Robert Yates Racing and one with the Wood Brothers. Toyota is scheduled to have six teams next year when it enters the Cup series.
Greg Specht, manager of racing operations for Ford, says the manufacturer has a goal of more teams.
“Ideally, we’d like to have 10-12,” he said. “We’re really looking at our current teams to see how can we expand and grow at a rate that is going to maintain quality.”
Specht wouldn’t say if Ford would have additional teams for next season.
NASCAR’s limit of four Cup teams eventually will force Roush Racing to drop a team or transfer it to a partner. The Wood Brothers could add a second team in the near future. Robert Yates Racing could add a third car next season, depending on sponsorship.
You can bet Ford, Chevy and Dodge want to keep a stout number of cars in Cup to compete with Toyota, who promises to spend a boatload of cash to compete.