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Ford exec buoyed by 2010 finish

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011

CONCORD, N.C. – Ford Racing is ready to get back into contention for Sprint Cup Series championships.

Ford's director of North America motorsports, Jamie Allison, said the manufacturer is confident it will return to the mix in 2011. It has not seriously challenged the last two seasons.

"I look at the last two seasons and they were both systemic. Then if you look at the last half of last season, you can identify real measures of improvement," he said.

"When the new engine came in, that was a material upgrade over what we had. In the second half of the season we started to show up at the track and unload fast."

Ford drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards had victories in 2010, with Edwards qualifying for the Chase and taking the final two races.

"If I look at the last quarter of last year, if we have that kind of season this year, it's a championship season for us," Allison said.

He said the Ford camp is also on more solid ground this season with the ownership and financial issues resolved at Richard Petty Motorsports. That team plans to field two teams this season instead of the four it had in 2010.

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