Neff to run special Rookie of the Year paint scheme

RIDING THE WAVE TO MIKE NEFF'S ROOKIE OF THE YEAR MUSTANG BROWNSBURG, IN (October 10, 2009) --- For the third time in four years a John Force Racing driver won the Auto Club Road to the Future Rookie of the Year award presented annually to the...

RIDING THE WAVE TO MIKE NEFF'S ROOKIE OF THE YEAR MUSTANG

BROWNSBURG, IN (October 10, 2009) --- For the third time in four years a John Force Racing driver won the Auto Club Road to the Future Rookie of the Year award presented annually to the top professional NHRA driver. In addition to the trophy and cash award John Force Racing designs a rookie of the year car for the winning driver to campaign during their sophomore season.

In 2006, Robert Hight, the 2005 winner, raced a blue, red and gold-trimmed Auto Club Mustang. Two years later Ashley Force Hood, the 2007 winner, wowed the crowds with a pink Castrol GTX Mustang. This year Mike Neff, the 2008 winner, is racing a surfer themed, wood-paneled Mustang to celebrate his rookie year.

A California native who spent ten years living in Huntington Beach and surfing every chance he got, the ocean and the thrill of riding a wave comes as naturally to Neff as powering an 8,000 hp Mustang down the track. Both take finesse and a calm but aggressive attitude.

The design for Neff's rookie of the year Mustang was a collaboration that showed the versatility of the John Force Racing paint and design team. Led by graphic designer Brandon Baker a concept was designed and presented to Neff as well as team owner John Force. Once the design was finalized Baker solicited artist Chuck B to create the caricature of Neff that adorns the side of the Mustang.

In the PPG outfitted paint booth at John Force Racing's Brownsburg shop work began in earnest. With the assistance of Paul Stoll and Mike Clemons from PPG colors and paint were selected. The team used PPG's Envirobase High Performance system which is PPG's water borne paint that is much friendlier for the environment.

Dave Gregory sprayed the Mustang body with the orange primary coat and then Baker went to work adding the variety of vinyl decals that included the wood-grain look on the sides as well as the many sponsor logos.

"This was a fun car to put together. PPG was great to work with and using the Envirobase High Performance system is a big plus. Everyone really pulled together and we turned this car around in record time. We brought the body here (to Brownsburg) from Dallas and in less than a week we had it painted, decaled and ready to get on a truck to go to Richmond. The whole process showed how versatile and efficient our design, decal and paint teams can be," said Baker.

Neff's rookie of the year Mustang will be raced at the 4th annual NHRA Virginia Nationals and then retired. A commemorative die-cast will be created and available later from the John Force RaceStation retail store.

-credit: jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Ashley Force , Robert Hight , Mike Neff