Brad Keselowski believes Ford Performance has a considerable gap to make up on Toyota during the off-season if its partner teams are going to compete for a championship in 2018.
Kevin Harvick finished fourth for the Blue Oval in the championship race, with Keselowski earning a distant seventh-place result. Even though Chevrolet was completely locked out of the Championship 4, the two Fords seemingly never had the speed to catch Kyle Busch and champion Martin Truex Jr.
Keselowski has frequently lobbied to NASCAR via social media that Toyota has an unfair advantage, at one point during the summer tweeting „We are all in for a rude awakening. Haven’t seen NASCAR let a manufacturer get this far ahead since the 70s.“
Toyota unveiled a new Camry body for competition this season, and Keselowski maintains it never should have been approved.
He doubled down on that narrative Sunday night, claiming after the Ford EcoBoost 400 that the other manufacturers never stood a chance this season.
„When that car rolled out at Daytona, and I think we all got to see it for the first time, I think there was two reactions,“ Keselowski said. „One, we couldn’t believe NASCAR approved it; and two, we were impressed by the design team over there.
„You know, with that said, I don’t think anyone ever had a shot this year the second that thing got put on the race track and approved. It kind of felt like Formula 1, where you had one car that made it through the gates, heads and tails above everyone and your hands are tied because you’re not allowed to do anything to the cars in those categories that NASCAR approves to really catch up.“
Chevrolet will debut a new Camaro body next season with the hopes of bridging that gap. Ford, however, has no visible improvements on the horizon. Keselowski doesn’t feel optimistic for what that means for his team’s chances in 2018.
„As to what will happen for 2018, you know, I don’t know,“ Keselowski said. „I would assume that Chevrolet will be allowed to design a car the same way that Toyota was for this one, but Ford doesn’t have any current plans for that. If that’s the case, we’re going to take a drubbing next year, so we’ll have to see.“
Toyota captured the 2017 Cup Series manufacturer’s championship on the strength of 16 victories in 36 events.