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USA TODAY Sports' Mike Hembree previews the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Harvick will try to lock up Ford's first NASCAR Cup championship since 2004 on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Photo: Jasen Vinlove, USA TODAY Sports)
HOMESTEAD, Fla. — As auto racing streaks go, this one stands out. And not in a fun way for Ford Motor Co.
The Blue Oval has a long and strong history in NASCAR, but Ford has not won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship in a dozen years. In fact, Ford’s last title came in 2004, the first year of dramatic changes in the format used to decide the champion. Kurt Busch won that year for team owner Jack Roush.
After Busch, Chevrolet won seven straight titles — five in a row by Jimmie Johnson bracketed by two by Tony Stewart. Brad Keselowski won for Dodge (since departed) in 2012, and Johnson and Kevin Harvick followed with wins for Chevrolet in 2013 and 2014. Kyle Busch gave Toyota its first driver’s championship in 2015, and Johnson returned Chevrolet to the throne room last year.
Ford’s driver lineup over the past dozen years certainly has been championship-worthy, but the challenge has not been met, and that’s been particularly ironic since the final race weekend of the year — because of sponsorship — has been known as “Ford Championship Weekend."
Dave Pericak, director of Ford Performance (a position he’s leaving for another within the company next month), said the long title drought is motivation for Ford and its two drivers — Harvick and Keselowski — in Sunday’s championship hunt.
“It’s time,” Pericak said. “We owe that to our fans and our employees and everybody who’s been with us throughout the years. It’s time to get it done.
“It means a lot to our program. It would be hard to define what winning a championship does, but it’s huge. We want it more than ever.”
Keselowski and Harvick will battle Toyota drivers Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. for the championship in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400. Chevrolet did not advance a driver to the Final Four.
PHOTOS: 2017 NASCAR CUP PLAYOFF DRIVERS, POINTSFacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn2017 NASCAR Cup Series playoff drivers> Fullscreen
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Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2017/11/18/ford-nascar-cup-championship-drought-homestead-ford-ecoboost-400/877588001/