SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 31, August 6, 2009

NHRA: Ford Named Official Car and Truck of the NHRA

NEWS NUGGETS

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 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 of 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.”

The 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. The 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.

“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 to Ford dealerships and to the 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.”

NHRA, O’REILLY OFFER DISCOUNTED TICKETS FOR MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS PRESENTED BY LUCAS OIL: NHRA and O’Reilly Auto Parts stores in Indiana have teamed up to sell $49 ticket vouchers good for adult reserved seats for Saturday, Sunday and Monday’s racing at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, Labor Day weekend, September 2–7, at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.

This promotion comes in addition to NHRA’s extensive race-fan-relief initiatives announced earlier this year. The vouchers can be purchased at participating O’Reilly Auto Parts stores and redeemed at the O’Reilly Raceway Park ticket office (Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.) or at the track ticket office on race day. The $49 ticket price represents savings of up to $12 depending on the day the voucher is redeemed.

NHRA has also partnered with Ticketmaster to eliminate service and convenience fees on Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil tickets purchased through Tickemaster.com or Ticketmaster phone lines or at Ticketmaster outlets. Fans purchasing tickets through Ticketmaster may pick up their tickets at the will-call-window ticket office on race day or may have their tickets delivered for a fee.

NHRA also will make available for advance purchase adult general-admission tickets for only $20, a savings of up to $29 per ticket. A total of 1,500 tickets per professional qualifying and eliminations day are available at the $20 price, representing a total of 6,000 tickets for the event. To help families attend the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, children 12 and younger will be admitted free to general-admission areas of the track when accompanied by a paying adult. Childrens tickets in reserved-seat sections start as low as $10 depending on the event day, seating location, and age of the child.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, AUGUST 13–16: Heading back to the Northern part of Minnesota, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series prepares for this historical event. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Tony Pedregon (Funny Car); Kurt Johnson (Pro Stock); and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

TOYO TIRES NHRA NATIONALS, MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY, AUGUST 20–23: Making its second to last stop for the regular season, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Jack Beckman (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS PRESENTED BY LUCAS OIL, O’REILLY RACEWAY PARK, SEPTEMBER 2–7:
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads back to the famed “Big Go”, the world’s most prestigious drag race. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Robert Hight (Funny Car); Dave Connolly (Pro Stock); and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

HE SAID, SHE SAID

  John Force
  John Force

‘THE CHAMP’ ON THE NEW RIDE: 14-time Funny Car world champion John Force on Ford joining forces with NHRA as the official car and truck of NHRA Drag Racing: “That’s great news for the sport. At the end of the day, it shows that even in tough economic times, Ford sees growth in drag racing. I just want to congratulate Brian Wolfe, my boss at Ford Racing, and NHRA for making it happen. I know they spent a lot of hours putting it together.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

17: That’s the number of different drivers in the past two years that have clinched a spot in the Countdown playoffs with their performances in Brainerd. A handful of drivers, including Top Fuel’s Cory McClenathan, Spencer Massey, Funny Car’s Jack Beckman and Tim Wilkerson, and Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Matt Smith, look to clinch their spots this year at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

* In 2007 Countdown to the Championship playoffs were broken up into a four-race playoff, called the Countdown to four, and a two-race championship, called the Countdown to One. Drivers who clinched a spot in Brainerd 2007, clinched it for the Countdown to Four playoffs.

DID YOU KNOW…

…that current Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown has the most wins on a Pro Stock Motorcycle at Brainerd International Raceway? Brown grabbed four wins (2006, ’03, ’01, ’00) at Brainerd International Raceway, the most of any other bike rider, before making the jump from Pro Stock Motorcycle to Top Fuel dragster in 2008. Craig Treble is the closest active driver to Brown’s record, with two wins (2004, 1999).

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