Ford brings back Motorcraft name to NHRA

MOTORCRAFT AND QUICK LANE® TIRE & AUTO CENTERS LAUNCH MAJOR NHRA SPONSORSHIP INITIATIVE FOR THE 2008 SEASON DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 18, 2008 -- Long-time drag racing fans will see a familiar name rocketing down the quarter mile at NHRA tracks...

MOTORCRAFT AND QUICK LANE® TIRE & AUTO CENTERS LAUNCH MAJOR NHRA SPONSORSHIP INITIATIVE FOR THE 2008 SEASON

DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 18, 2008 -- Long-time drag racing fans will see a familiar name rocketing down the quarter mile at NHRA tracks this season. Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) is bringing its Motorcraft brand back to professional drag racing, and this time it's bigger than ever.

Motorcraft and Ford's growing national network of Quick Lane® Tire & Auto Centers are joining forces to launch a major marketing initiative for the 2008 NHRA season that will include primary sponsorship of the Shelby Mustang Nitro Funny Car of Bob Tasca III and Tasca Racing, along with a major interactive trackside presence at 14 NHRA events.

"The Motorcraft name still resonates strongly with NHRA fans. They expect us to be here," said Al Giombetti, Ford Customer Service Division executive director. "And I'm very excited about bringing Quick Lane® Tire & Auto Centers aboard, because of what the brand promises. Like the NHRA, Quick Lane® Tire & Auto Centers are all about being the best and the fastest.

"Today's busy consumer demands quick, convenient automotive service that fits around their hectic schedule," added Giombetti. "The Quick Lane model was built from scratch with one thing in mind -- our customers' busy lives. That's why you never need to schedule an appointment. While the franchise is fully backed by Ford Motor Company, we've developed a model that allows us to service all makes and models, allowing us to reach a broader audience."

The NHRA effort will compliment FCSD's on-going sponsorship of the Wood Brothers' No. 21 Ford Fusion in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series in 2008. Surprisingly, the two series enjoy very little crossover in their fan base, with statistics showing that less than 12 percent of NASCAR fans follow NHRA racing.

"Drag racing fans are the hands-on people that do much of the work on their cars and are very loyal to the sponsors that support the series," said Giombetti. "They're also considered the automotive experts by their neighbors, friends and co-workers. They're the go-to people, influencing decisions on what parts to buy and where to have maintenance done. Adding them to the Motorcraft and Quick Lane teams will help to further expand our reach beyond the racetrack."

Along with sponsoring the Tasca Racing Shelby Mustang funny car, FCSD is launching a very aggressive brand awareness campaign with a huge trackside presence in the form of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane "Racing Experience." The massive display, spreading out over half a football field, will let race fans connect with Motorcraft, Quick Lane and Ford Custom Accessories in a unique way.

Visitors can sign up to race virtual dragsters, compete against the clock while changing tires and oil filters, and spin the Ford Custom Accessories wheel for a chance to win valuable prizes. Fans can also pick up Motorcraft and Ford Custom Accessories catalogs and branded merchandise, and Motorcraft and Quick Lane representatives will be offering up plenty of other free giveaways, including discount coupons for Motorcraft products and services at local Quick Lane® Tire & Auto Centers.

"We expect that the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Experience will become the place to be at the races," said Giombetti. "It will be the destination, with fans looking forward to seeing what's going on at Motorcraft, Quick Lane and Ford Custom Accessories."

FCSD's activation won't stop at the edge of the display, however. There are plans in the works to expand the footprint of Motorcraft and Quick Lane's involvement into some of the local communities where NHRA races.

In addition to the Racing Experience, Motorcraft and Quick Lane will host a trackside hospitality area as an incentive to reward local Motorcraft distributors and Quick Lane dealers. Quick Lane will use the site for employee training to build customer relations skills and improve knowledge of Motorcraft products so Quick Lane employees can better communicate the advantages of using Motorcraft parts.

"We surveyed our Quick Lane employees and found that drag racing was one of their passions," said Giombetti. "We saw the track as a perfect venue to bring them in for training."

Bob Tasca III is moving up to a nitro-powered Funny Car after several successful seasons in the NHRA Alcohol Funny Car ranks, where he holds the record for the quickest elapsed time in the quarter mile at 5.541 seconds at 263 mph.

The name Tasca holds a significance of its own in the NHRA. Tasca III, who grew up in and around Ford Motor Company dealerships, is the grandson of famed Rhode Island Ford dealer Bob Tasca.

The elder Tasca played an important role in the development of high-performance parts for Ford. He's credited with helping develop Ford's venerable 428 Cobra Jet engine and was instrumental in launching Ford's return to professional drag racing in the early 1960s under the Total Performance banner.

"The Tasca family has a rich and genuine history and long association with Ford Motor Company," said Giombetti. "They bring a sound, proven business mind that is unique to the racing world."

Motorcraft and Quick Lane® Tire & Auto Centers are both brands of Ford Customer Service Division. FCSD and its associated brands won a place in the hearts and minds of drag race fans everywhere in the late 1980s and early 1990s, sponsoring Ford hall-of-famer Bob Glidden, a 10-time NHRA Pro Stock champion, and NHRA legend Kenny Bernstein among others.

Its brands have also visited victory lane in NASCAR, off-road and road racing competition, while earning championships in NASCAR, HDRA, SCORE, IMSA GT and GTO and SCCA Trans-Am throughout the years.

-credit: ford racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Bob Glidden , Bob Tasca III