This is the Stattmann Baby!!  Time to Scatt a little bit.

Ford has a problem.  For the second time in a year it’s lost a promising driver to Ray Evernham Motorsports, the Dodge factory team in NASCAR.

Last year it was Kasey Kahne who defected from Ford’s driver development program.  Last week it was Erin Crocker who jumped the fence.

Both Kahne and Crocker say they didn’t have legal entanglements with Ford.  Ford says that might be true with Erin but it’s still in court fighting Kasey’s defection.

The key, though, might be with Ford.  It’s spending the money to shake the driver tree and it’s finding talent out there.  But Ford doesn’t have a factory-supported team with a competitive seat to offer any talent it finds.

The major Ford teams, Roush and Yates, are at least a year away from needing any new faces.  With that reality, I’d think twice about planning a long term future with Ford.

That said, though, USAC Midget champion Bobby East last week signed on with Ford.  East is a part of Ford’s development program and last month he told me he’d like a NASCAR career.

Evidently Ford presented East with a Better Idea that’s left the Blue Oval Job One in East’s eye.