Were There Manufacturer Orders At Talladega?


(WOMR file photo)

The 2011 Daytona 500 winner, Trevor Bayne, had a slightly wild and crazy adventure in the Good Sam’s 500 last Sunday at the Talladega Superspeedway.  Bayne, driving the famous Wood Brothers #21 Motocraft Ford, qualified in the 4th starting position for the race.  Like the Daytona 500, the Wood Brothers fielded a very fast race car for young Trevor Bayne.  However, the Wood Brothers only field that one race car, therefore, the young Mr. Bayne is kind of a free agent in the “two car tango” drafting at this race track.

It has come to light that the Ford were under directions that would discourage them from drafting with Chase contenders from another manufacturer.

Bayne ran much of the day with #7 Dodge driven by Robby Gordon. But Bayne wound up in the middle of the upfront drafting pack at the end of the race and was hooked up briefly with #24-Jeff Gordon. They had drafted successfully together at Daytona International Speedway in February as Bayne won the Daytona 500. Bayne broke away from Gordon in the closing miles and after the race tweeted on his Twitter account that he wasn’t pleased with the way the race concluded. “I’m not happy about what this has become,” Bayne wrote. “It’s too premeditated. We should be able to go with whoever is around. I would have rather pulled over and finished last than tell [Gordon] I would work with him and then be strong armed into bailing.”

Jamie Allison, who oversees Ford’s motorsports program in North America, was on Sirius Satellite Radio’s “Tradin Paint” show on Monday afternoon and discussed the issue of if Ford ordered its teams not to work with any other manufacturers at Talladega this past weekend in light of Trevor Bayne leaving Jeff Gordon late in that race and Tony Stewart saying he could not work with David Gilliland because of orders.

Here’s what Allison said to the question of if he or Ford ordered its teams not to work with anyone else: “We don’t have orders per se. That’s how we work with these teams. These are independent teams that choose an affiliate with us as a manufacturer. We have a lot of respect and mutual agreements. We discuss many strategies. We don’t mandate. We don’t issue orders. I can tell you at the start of the Chase, we reached out to all the Ford teams, I personally did, along with my team and basically said, “Hey, thank you for affiliation with Ford Motor Company. We’re very proud of everybody. Hey, these are special times for us. If an opportunity presents itself where you can help a Ford teammate, just please be aware and try to help out. It was just an outreach, a consideration, just be aware that we’re in the Chase and we’re all part of the big Ford family. No orders. None of what you have been reading around this big plan or big orders. It’s none of that. I can tell you guys, it’s been a very, very tough and long and hard-fought season. It’s been on merit. We’ve earned all the wins. I wish we could count the almost-wins. It’s not just in Cup. You look at Nationwide. We have a strong, strong lead with Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.). We’ve got the manufacturer’s championship that we’re contending with there. It’s a strong, strong year. It’s all because of good preparation, good teamwork and a lot of great teams. We just are reaching out and helping the fellow teammates.”

Jack Roush issued a statement Tuesday morning: “At Roush Fenway Racing we expect our individual drivers to make decisions that put themselves in the best position to win each and every race. That is a philosophy that we have lived by for over two decades, and one that we will continue to abide by going forward. Of course, as in any team, we would prefer for our drivers to work together when possible. However, to be clear, we did not micromanage or dictate to any of our drivers, nor any other Ford drivers, how to race with other drivers at Talladega last Sunday. There are unique codes that all drivers establish and have to live by on the track. How they manage their code is up to our drivers as individuals. This weekend, there were no team orders, from myself or anyone at Roush Fenway, given to any of our drivers as to whom they could or could not choose to run with or assist, nor did I give similar directions or suggestion to any of the other Ford drivers. I’ve spoken with Trevor (Bayne) and understand that he was put in a situation requiring a split-second decision on the track and in his response to questions justifying his actions afterwards, where it was almost certain that not everyone was going to be satisfied. Trevor is extremely talented, but it is still very early in his career. Over time he will grow to understand that in such a high-paced, competitive and hostile environment it is unlikely that all of his decisions will make everyone happy. I’m confident in his decision-making, his ability and actions on the track, and I’m excited as we continue to move forward with his development.”

I was at the Talladega race last weekend listening to various race teams radios, I know that Trevor Bayne was not happy when he was advised to find another drafting partner besides Jeff Gordon in the very latter stages of the Good Sam’s 500.  So from WOMR’s standpoint, it is quite apparent that there was pressure applied, if not orders given to, the Ford drivers, not to draft with Chase contenders from Chevy and Toyota.  However, it must have been alright for Bayne to draft with a Dodge driven by Robby Gordon.  For almost the entire race Bayne was latched solidly to the rear bumper of Robby Gordon, and at times pushed him into the lead of the race!  Nevertheless, that pair spit up on the last restart via different pit strategies.  On the restart it appeared that the lineup would facilitate a Bayne-Jeff Gordon two-car tango to materialize,

However, just as quickly as the drafting pre-arrangement was made just prior to the restart, Bayne had to renege on their previously arranged drafting agreement.

So who are we believe on this subject, a Ford Motor Company executive, a politically correct car owner, or a frustrated young race car drive with a very fast race car that had a shot a winning the race?  One needs to read between the lines of both Jack Roush and Jamie Allison, and somewhere one will find the truth!

I know what I believe, since I was listening to the race team’s scanner frequency!



One Comment on “Were There Manufacturer Orders At Talladega?”

  1. TEAM ORDERS!!!!

    Lets not ignore what Jeff Gorden said to Trevor on the radio during their discussion of hooking up, Jeff stated,a Ford pushing a chevy to the win will be hard to explain!! Sounds like the chevy folks had some suggestions on who THEY should HELP ALSO!!!! Jimmy

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