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Ford Continues to Struggle With Development Drivers

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What’s Happening?

As the 2024 season rolls on, Ford’s future is very uncertain. With Stewart-Haas Racing shutting down, Ford’s top Xfinity Series team has an uncertain future, and the rest of Ford’s development pipeline looks thin at best.

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  • Ford has arguably the weakest current development pipeline of any manufacturer. While Ford has some good teams in the lower series, many top drivers aren’t young prospects that many teams and manufacturers look for.
  • Other drivers and teams simply are not performing well. This makes the pipeline feel even more empty.
  • Fans are very skeptical of Ford’s future due to this pipeline. Will Ford continue to poach drivers from other manufacturers, or will they one day pay for the struggling development pipeline?

Who’s Even In the Ford Pipeline?

Many drivers in the Ford pipeline are older drivers who have either been in the lower series for a long time or once had a chance in the Cup Series before moving back down. These drivers include current Xfinity Series points leader Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto, Ty Majeski, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Ryan Sieg, and Kyle Sieg. It’s tough to call any of these drivers “prospects.”

The current Ford drivers we can call “Prospects” are Riley Herbst (Xfinity), Hailie Deegan (Xfinity), Jake Garcia (Trucks), and Layne Riggs (Trucks). None of these drivers have won a race in the Xfinity or Truck Series this season, and Herbst is the only one who has won a race in their career. Deegan (29th), Garcia (15th), and Riggs (16th) find themselves well outside of the Playoffs around halfway through the season.

Herbst is the most promising Ford prospect at the moment. However, his future with the manufacturer is uncertain with the closure of Stewart-Haas Racing. We have even heard that 23XI Racing is interested in Herbst should they acquire a third charter.

That’s not to say it’s completely hopeless for Ford. Despite a struggling start in the Truck Series, Riggs has two top-fives in the last three races and five top-10 qualifying efforts in the first 11 races. Jake Garcia recorded nine top-10s in 22 races in 2023, so he has shown promise.

However, this year has been an overall struggle for Ford. Could they look to other manufacturers for drivers?

Who Could Ford Bring In?

Ford could consider bringing in some new drivers, and a few could be interesting. One is Christian Eckes, who is battling with Corey Heim for the Truck Series points lead this season. Eckes does not have an easy path upward, and maybe a move to a Ford team could help him get an easier path to the Cup.

Maybe they could offer Sam Mayer an easier pipeline up to the Cup Series. Mayer admitted last weekend that he is upset that he is not getting more Cup Series attention.

If Heim doesn’t get a Cup Series ride sooner, maybe Ford could pull a big heist and pry Corey Heim from Toyota. However, that would be tough to do.

What do you think about all this? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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