FRT's Dan Davis receives leadership award

DAN DAVIS HONORED WITH 'LEADERSHIP AWARD' BY WOMEN IN THE WINNER'S CIRCLE FOUNDATION * Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology, honored with first "Leadership Award" by Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation. * ...

DAN DAVIS HONORED WITH 'LEADERSHIP AWARD' BY WOMEN IN THE WINNER'S CIRCLE FOUNDATION

* Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology, honored with first "Leadership Award" by Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation.

* Davis honored for his work in developing Ford's Women's Driver Development Program and his support for young racecar drivers.

INDIANAPOLIS, July 24, 2008 -- Dan Davis, who will retire as director of Ford Racing Technology on Aug. 1 after 11 years at the post, was honored with the first Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation's "Leadership Award" in a surprise announcement at the foundation's annual luncheon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today.

Foundation founder Lyn St. James presented Davis with the award, which honors individuals or organizations that have taken extraordinary measures and shown outstanding initiative in promoting diversity within the racing industry.

According to St. James, Davis was selected to be the first honoree for his work in developing Ford's unique Women's Driver Development Program, the first time an auto manufacturer created a program to identify and develop young, female talent.

"We selected Dan as our first honoree months ago, well before his retirement announcement," said St. James. "I'm just thrilled he was able to be here today to be honored for all he has done."

"I'm truly honored by this award," said Davis. "I'm not sure it's really deserved, but I'm still thrilled to be honored this way.

"I always believed that our driver lineup should better represent our customer base, and, that said, we should have more women driving for us. I can tell you, every time we've given a talented female driver the chance to compete with great equipment and support, we've never been disappointed."

The current Ford Women's Driver Development Program features Stephanie Mockler and Alison MacLeod, who both run USAC Midgets for famed team owner Bob East. Mockler, 20, was the first female to win a USAC Ford Focus Midget race, and has also won several USAC Regional events. MacLeod, 19, became the winningest female driver in USAC history Wednesday evening with her sixth USAC Ford Focus Midget win.

Davis noted during his acceptance speech that Ford had reviewed the resumes of 250 female drivers as part of the process of starting the Development Program. The group was narrowed down to four drivers, who then went through extensive testing before two were selected to start the program.

Davis is also known for his long-time support of NHRA drag racer Ashley Force, the first woman to win an NHRA Funny Car event this year, and also as someone who supported Danica Patrick's early career in Formula Fords. Patrick became the first female IndyCar race winner this year.

"Dan Davis and Ford Racing have played a big role in my growth as a driver in NHRA drag racing," said Ashley Force. "They sponsored me from the very beginning when I first climbed in to a Super Comp dragster seven years ago. Dan has always supported women getting in the driver's seat. To him, it was never about gender, only about dedication and focus to become the best racer and team out there."

Davis also supported Mexican driver Michel Jourdain Jr., in his NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Busch Series efforts, and also gave Auston Harris, the first African-American to win a USAC event this year, his first Midget test in 2007.

Ford Motor Company has been a long-time supporter of diversity in racing.

St. James was a Ford factory road racing driver in the 1980s and 90s, running for Roush Racing, and becoming the first woman to win a major road racing event solo. Ford also supported the career of African American road racing star Willy T. Ribbs during the 1980s.

-credit: ford racing technology

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Series Automotive
Drivers Lyn St. James , Willy T. Ribbs , Ashley Force , Stephanie Mockler , Auston Harris , Alison MacLeod , Danica Patrick , Michel Jourdain