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What was that about Ford lagging the field?

Ford absolutely dominated the opening weekend practice for The Clash, taking the top four spots. Ryan Blaney’s 199.601 topped the leaderboard in the No. 12 Team Penske Ford, and Ford drivers were right behind him, in this order:

  • Joey Logano (199.543 mph) in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (199.508 mph) in the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford
  • Brad Keselowski (199.490 mph) in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford

Toyota couldn’t even crack the Top 5. Kyle Larson, in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, clocked 199.468 mph. The best Toyota finish? Kyle Busch at No. 8.

Keselowski has been outspoken all year about Toyota’s dominance, and had felt that Ford might fall even further behind given the new Chevrolet Camaro. But he changed his tune a bit when NASCAR announced  a new inspection process —  the Hawkeye system — designed to level the playing field.

“The biggest thing for me is seeing what happens with the Hawkeye system,” Keselowski said. “That will be the determining factor on what manufacturer is successful this year.

“If the Hawkeye system comes in working fully I think we will see a very level playing field in 2018 and we are capable of winning,” added Keselowski.

Now, we’ll get to see if Ford can continue it’s impressive start. The  75-lap, 187.5-mile Clash airs at 3 p.m. Sunday on FS1.

With a dominating Saturday, Ford sends a strong message to Toyota Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
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