NASA To Sanction 2006 Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship

-- New Agreement Offers Exciting Opportunities for Younger Drivers

Palmetto, Fla. (April 2, 2006) -- The burgeoning Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship has entered a new sanctioning agreement with the equally fast-emerging National Auto Sports Association for the 2006 season.

"We have enjoyed a successful association with Grand American Road Racing and we thoroughly appreciate their support," said Cooper Tires FF2000 Championship executive Sandy Shamlian. "Our series is experiencing a solid period of growth and we have to look after our participants. This new agreement allows us to build for the future and embrace a new breed of younger drivers, which simply would not have been possible in the past.

"NASA has made great strides at the grass-roots level of our sport and we're excited about this new opportunity."

NASA was formed in 1991 and now has over 10,000 members nationwide. The organization's roots grew out of High Performance Driving Experiences but now embrace a full complement of motorsports activities, including performance rallies, time trials and competitive race events. Headquartered in Richmond, Calif., NASA has 11 divisions within the United States. Membership is comprised of young professionals -- with a median age of just 35 -- who are enthusiastic about auto racing.

"We welcome the opportunity to sanction the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship and look forward to having them as part of the NASA family," said NASA Executive Director Jerry Kunzman.

"This is a growth opportunity for us," added NASA's National Competition Manager Bryan Cohn. "We like where the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship is going and we look forward to the marketing exposure that comes from running with Champ Car World Series and American Le Mans Series."

The arrangement will ensure reduced costs for competitors, who will continue to benefit from a comprehensive insurance program. NASA's current standard will allow drivers as young as 14 years of age to participate in the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship, thereby providing a valuable stepping stone from karting to the first rung on the professional open-wheel ladder.

Registrations already are streaming in for the new season. Drivers from as far afield as Canada, England, Ireland and New Zealand will be on the grid to challenge a strong American contingent during the opening pair of races at Road Atlanta, in Braselton, Ga., May 11-13.

The Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship features modern, open-wheel race cars powered by either four-cylinder, double-overhead cam, fuel-injected 2.0-liter Ford Zetec engines, which produce around 160hp, or the older, slightly less powerful, carbureted 2.0-liter Ford "Pinto" engines which will be vying for Cooper Gold Cup honors. All cars employ "slick" (treadless) Cooper Zeon racing tires and are capable of speeds in excess of 140mph.

Formula Ford 2000 originated in England in 1974. Alumni include Formula 1 World Champions Ayrton Senna and Damon Hill; Champ Car World Series title-winners Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy; Indy Racing League champions Sam Hornish Jr. and Dan Wheldon; and 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice.