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Is There A Ford In Your Future?

American car makers are facing another spate of tough times, with a backlog of SUVs that are hard to sell and very little on the drawing board that seems to keep the gas tank from depleting or that can make the pulse quicken.

Today, I saw a Pontiac GTO, and by that I dont mean the downsized soapbox derby entries you can rent from Hertz or Budget.

I saw a REAL GTO, from the original muscle car era of the 1960s, and that sight got me to thinking.

There was a time when Americans dreamed of owning American cars.

Corvettes, T-birds, you name it, were all something special and even ordinary rides, like Chevy Novas and would seem a lot cooler dressed up in aftermarket goodies like custom wheels and a few pinstripes.

Were we too easy to please in those days?

Some of those cars didnt handle very well around curves, but I dont remember any curves a few decades ago nothing but beautiful blacktop that stretched to the horizon.

Now, Nissan is courting a reluctant GM, hoping to make cars together for the world.

The differences between Japanese and American cars have been gradually disappearing anyway, so this marriage of convenience might not bother a lot of people.

But what I find irksome is the fact that American manufacturers have been so slow to react to changing circumstances and tastes.

Why is it when gas soared above $3 a gallon, Toyota was blessed with a product lineup that had a lot of petroleum sippers, while Detroit was still trying to push guzzlers, like the Suburban and Expedition?

Why does it take Detroit so long to go from unveiling a concept car to offering a street version to the public?

I look at a manufacturer like Porsche, which is profitable, and wonder how it is that this maker can get away with selling, basically, the same bathtub design for 50 years?

I happen to like it, and I guess a lot of others do, as well. Porsche knows how to stick with a winner, improving its innards incrementally.

Compare that to the intention of Ford to halt production of the Lincoln Town Car, a stalwart model if there ever was one. Subsequently, Ford recanted, so it seems that it will be available for the next year or two.

There have to be a few different ways to make money in the car business just look at Toyota or Nissan.

Maybe thats not such a good idea after all, that is if youre one of us who holds out a faint hope that there might be a Ford or a Chevy in our future.

Best-selling author of 12 books and more than 850 articles, Dr. Gary S. Goodman is considered “The Gold Standard”–the foremost expert in sales development, customer service, and telephone effectiveness. Top-rated as a speaker, seminar leader, and consultant, his clients extend across the globe and the organizational spectrum, from the Fortune 1000 to small businesses. He can be reached at:

Daytona 500: The Chevy Chase

The qualification procedures may be arcane, Speed Weeks may take too long, and the kvetching about restrictor plates may make the Smokeless Set’s drivers sound like Oprah Winfrey bitching out James Frey . But once Sunday afternoon comes, NASCAR nation is set to be completely psyched once again, and so am I.

They call Nextel Cup’s the shortest offseason in sports, but the truth is that Homestead seems like a long time ago. I mean, gosh, way back then, the Pittsburgh Steelers were just a glimmer in Bill Cowher’s eye, Louisville looked like it was going to field a darned good college basketball team, and Dick Cheney had shot as many people in the face as you had. Also, Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray, Michael Waltrip, Bobby Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Scott Riggs, Ken Schrader and Terry Labonte drove for different teams. But the future is now, and the ’06 season is set to begin with a bang. Finally.

The leading storylines for the big race will include whether or not a Ford or Dodge can break Chevrolet’s hold on the 500 Chevy has won three 500s in a row, 10 of the last 13 and 13 of the last 17. And the GM cars are just as dominant overall on restrictor-plate tracks: before Dale Jarrett’s caution-aided win at Talladega last fall, Chevy had won 13 straight races on that track, and has won more than 70% of the events held a the Daytona superspeedway since 1992. Will Dodge break the skein? I don’t think so. I’m not consoled by what I hear between the lines of what Dodge drivers like Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne have said about the 2006 Charger, which is basically the same as the 2005 Charger, which simply didn’t run well at the restricted superspeedways or the unrestricted intermediate speedways. Will Ford break through? That’s a far trickier question. There are some incredible drivers and teams that drive Fords, and though they’ve all changed from the Taurus to the Fusion, aero tests have indicated that they haven’t lost much in translation. Watching Elliott Sadler lead his qualifying heat last Thursday, you’d have a hard time convincing too many drivers that the Fusion isn’t sound as a drum.

But what are we supposed to do with all this data? Over the past four seasons , the three drivers with the best average finish at Daytona drive Chevy. The highest Ford is Jarrett in fourth, and the highest Dodge is Marlin in 13th . Tony Stewart drives Chevy. Kevin Harvick drives Chevy. And the leading team in Ford’s stable, Roush Racing, has never won the Daytona 500 . While I’m impressed by Yates, and you can’t help but love the Roush cars, I have to admit that for the foreseeable future, at plate tracks I’m thinking Chevy.

So which drivers do I think represent the best wagers on the first race of the 2006 season? Read on!

Last Season: I finished +54.6 units in 2005, which is pretty darned good, and looks even better when you consider that I posted 30 winning weeks out of 37 events . I selected a correct outright winner in 17 events, and got a head-to-head wager correct in 28 of 36 events. Let’s see if we can do even better in 2006.

Note that outright we will be quoting our odds direct from this season, which may result in release delays, but will accomodate a wider audience.

Chris Harris covers Nascar for Brian Gabrielle Sports

Christopher Harris is a featured writer for the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at

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