Three “championship-level” 2007 Ford vehicles – the Ford Shelby GT500, Ford Edge and Ford F-150 FX2 Sport – have been selected to pace the three Ford Championship Weekend races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of NASCAR’s season-ending events.
Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology; Curtis Gray, president of Homestead-Miami Speedway; and Matt Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion and a contender for this year’s title, were all on hand at the race track today to help unveil the three pace vehicles in a ceremony before open NASCAR testing at the track.
“We wanted to select championship level production vehicles to pace the Ford Championship Weekend, and we picked three of the best,” said Davis, in making the announcement. “When you talk about vehicles that combine bold design and the kind of performance needed to lead the NASCAR field on track, these three vehicles are the place to start.”
Bold Moves on Track
The Ford Shelby GT500, which will lead the field in the Ford 400, is simply the most powerful Mustang ever.
Bold Moves in the Chase
Matt Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion, took part in today’s ceremonies and was on hand to test for Ford Championship Weekend, where he will seek his second NASCAR title.
Kenseth, driver of the DeWalt Ford Fusion, led the NASCAR points championship going into the 10-race, NASCAR Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship playoff. Going into the Oct. 22 race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., Kenseth is just 45 points out of the championship lead.
Bold Moves in the Marketplace
Ford’s racing program makes business sense for the company.
As far back as 1901, company founder Henry Ford raced to prove out his new product, and to gain favorable publicity for his efforts. His victory in his one and only race in Grosse Pointe, Mich., that year proved to be the turning point in attracting investors to Ford and helping him start the Ford Motor Company in 1903.
“My great-grandfather understood the value of racing, and what it could do for a company,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the Ford board of directors and a long-time supporter of Ford’s racing programs.
“He knew what racing could do, both in terms of technical innovation and marketing. I think he’d be pleased that those are key reasons we still race today.”
Indeed, on-going research has shown racing works for Ford.
“According to our 2006 research, fifty-six percent of Ford owners call themselves race fans,” said Burt Diamond, global marketing manager, Ford Racing Technology.
“Certainly that’s a huge number of people out there who have a strong emotional connection with what we’re doing. We’d be crazy not to market to these people.”
But more than just showing interest, these Ford race fans are proving to be good, loyal customers.