As the only American automaker not recently put through a government-sponsored bankruptcy, it comes as little surprise that Ford has taken over the spot long held by General Motors as the Official Sponsor of the NHRA. The first sign of dissension in the ranks came earlier this year as GM's bankruptcy filing ended the contracts the automaker had previously forged with Cagnazzi Racing, KB Racing LLC, Kurt Racing and Pedregon Racing to provide cash, parts and support vehicles.
This new multiyear agreement between Ford and the NHRA means that for the foreseeable future, all official vehicles used by the racing organization will now carry the Blue Oval badge, including trackside safety vehicles. For its part, Ford seems pleased with its newly prominent role within the drag racing community. Brian Wolfe, Ford's North America Director of Motorsports, said in a statement:
[Source: NHRA]We're very excited to be partnering with NHRA on this program. We see this as a very good business proposition in terms of being able to actively reach out at-track and online to the NHRA fan base in ways that we haven't been able to do in recent years. We'll be able to allow that fan base to see and experience some of our great new products at-track while also partnering with the successful Motorcraft and Quick Lane program to give fans a look at the total Ford ownership experience.
Ford Motor Company named official car and truck of NHRA
The phrase "Drive One" resonates much louder today in the corporate offices of NHRA as it was announced that the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body has signed a multiyear agreement with Ford Motor Company, designating the legendary automaker as the official car and truck of NHRA.
NHRA will be transitioning all official vehicles to the renowned blue oval. As official car and truck of NHRA, Ford will provide support vehicles for NHRA trackside, including the NHRA Safety Safari presented by Automobile Club of Southern California, to allow them to perform their important trackside duties.
"We welcome Ford Motor Company into NHRA's family of official partners," said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president-sales & marketing. "We are extremely excited to not only have such a strong brand as our official car and truck, but more importantly provide our fans with an opportunity to not only experience what Ford has to offer but ultimately drive one."
This partnership by no means represents Ford Motor Company's first foray into NHRA and NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing. The Ford Motor Company has a long and storied history with drag racing at the Sportsman and Professional levels. Ford Motor Company is a longtime partner with John Force Racing, and most recently, Ford's Motorcraft and Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center brands partnered with Bob Tasca Racing on the NHRA circuit as well. In all, Ford Motor Company has won 24 world championships in NHRA Drag Racing at the Professional level and countless more in the Sportsman ranks. Ford also is a three-time winner of the prestigious NHRA Manufacturers Cup.
But Ford's involvement in NHRA goes beyond race-team sponsors and winning championships. In 2008, Ford and NHRA teamed up on safety, mandating the Ford Blue Box crash sensors on all Funny Car and Top Fuel race cars. In addition, Ford has played an instrumental role with John Force Racing on the development of a new Funny Car chassis and other safety initiatives in the sport.
"We're very excited to be partnering with NHRA on this program," said Brian Wolfe, director, Ford North America Motorsports. "We see this as a very good business proposition in terms of being able to actively reach out at-track and online to the NHRA fan base in ways that we haven't been able to do in recent years.
"We'll be able to allow that fan base to see and experience some of our great new products at-track while also partnering with the successful Motorcraft and Quick Lane program to give fans a look at the total Ford ownership experience."
In the coming months, Ford and NHRA hope to announce extensive activation programs to drive business both at Ford dealerships and to NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events.
"NHRA provides a unique platform for companies, like Ford, to reach out in a very personal way to our very loyal fan base," Darcy said. "The initial plans we have discussed with the brand will provide a great opportunity for Ford to expose their products to our fans while at the same time get the NHRA brand out to general consumers through Ford's extensive dealer network."