Charlotte, North Carolina, August 20, 2002 - Motorcraft is introducing a new spark plug. His name is Ricky Rudd. Wood Brothers Racing, one of NASCAR Winston Cup racing's beloved and storied teams, took two leaps forward today. First,...
Charlotte, North Carolina, August 20, 2002 - Motorcraft is introducing a new spark plug. His name is Ricky Rudd.
Wood Brothers Racing, one of NASCAR Winston Cup racing's beloved and storied teams, took two leaps forward today. First, co-owners Eddie and Len Wood announced that they had agreed to the terms of a three-year contract with Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) and its Motorcraft Quality Parts brand, extending the sponsor's agreement through the 2005 season.
Armed with three secure years of sponsorship, the Woods then came to terms on a three-year deal with perennial top-10 driver Ricky Rudd, whose contract with Robert Yates Racing expires at the end of the 2002 season.
The actual contract signings are scheduled for today in Charlotte, North Carolina.
"Unbelievable. Incredible. I don't know what else to say. Two weeks ago, I wouldn't have bet you a nickel on our chances to sign Ricky. We had one year of sponsorship left, and just not enough to offer him," said Eddie Wood. "Motorcraft came down to see us last week in Stuart. They told us they wanted to extend our deal, and asked us what we thought it would take to get Ricky. We laid it out and they said, 'Let's go get him.'"
"Motorcraft and the people at Ford Customer Service Division have been extremely pleased with our association with Wood Brothers Racing," said Ann O'Neill, Executive Director FCSD. "This team represents family, quality and a sincere concern for the product they produce and that is what Motorcraft and Ford Motor Company are all about. The same building blocks that have given Wood Brothers Racing its competitive strength over the years can be compared to the building blocks that keep Ford and its divisions and products at the top of the automotive market."
This will be Rudd's second turn carrying the Motorcraft banner. From 1985-1987, Rudd won four races and finished in the top-10 all three years while driving Motorcraft Ford Thunderbirds for Bud Moore Engineering.
"It's a little scary how quickly and easily all of this has come together," said Rudd. "The bottom line, I guess, is that I trust Eddie and Len Wood, and I trust the people at Motorcraft. We're speaking the same language.
"Everybody in the garage who knows anything has seen how good the Wood Brothers' equipment is," Rudd continued. "Eddie and Len have put together a partnership with Jack Roush that is paying off. Pat Tryson (crew chief) used to work for me when I ran my own team. This is really comfortable for Linda and me, and I think we've got a chance to win some races."
A 28-year veteran of Winston Cup racing, Rudd made his series debut in 1975 and won the Rookie of the Year in 1977. Since then, the 45-year-old Virginian has won 23 races and finished in the top-10 in the championship standings 18 times. He currently stands sixth.
As a Wood Brothers Racing driver, Rudd will find himself in elite company. Racing greats David Pearson, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett, and Glen Wood are just a few to win races in Wood Brothers Fords. The team has raced for 52 years and has amassed 97 victories, fourth all-time in NASCAR history and the most of any Ford team.
A primary team sponsor in NASCAR Winston Cup for the last 18 years, Ford Customer Service Division and the Motorcraft brand began headlining the #21 Wood Brothers Racing Taurus in 2001. The team collected its first victory since 1993 at the 2001 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway and has added four additional top-five finishes since then.
The history of Motorcraft Quality Parts and Ford Customer Service Division in NASCAR goes back to its primary sponsorship on NASCAR owner Bud Moore's NASCAR Winston Cup Thunderbirds from 1985-1993 and its sponsorship of races at Atlanta Motor Speedway from 1987-1993.
In 1994 and 1995 the Quality Care Service arm of the Ford Customer Service Division became Moore's sponsor, and then teamed with Ford Credit to sponsor the #88 Robert Yates Racing Thunderbirds and Tauruses driven by Dale Jarrett from 1996-2000.
The Motorcraft brand of spark plugs, filters, motor oil, batteries, electrical, brake and suspension components, in addition to engines and transmissions, are available at Ford Motor Company dealerships and retail outlets throughout the country.