CLOROX AND FORD RACING ANNOUNCE 2006 DRIVER LINEUP FOR WOMEN'S DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM DEARBORN, MI, March 13, 2006 -- As part of its on-going efforts at creating a diverse driver lineup, Ford Racing announced it has signed multi-year...
CLOROX AND FORD RACING ANNOUNCE 2006 DRIVER LINEUP FOR WOMEN'S DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
DEARBORN, MI, March 13, 2006 -- As part of its on-going efforts at creating a diverse driver lineup, Ford Racing announced it has signed multi-year contracts with Alison MacLeod, 16, of Mississauga, Ont. Canada and Stephanie Mockler, 18, of Westfield, Ind. to drive in the Clorox/Ford Racing Women's Driver Development Program for 2006.
MacLeod returns to drive a Clorox-sponsored Beast Focus Midget in select USAC Regional and Midwest Series Ford Focus Midget Series events. Mockler will campaign a Clorox-sponsored Beast Ford in a series of USAC Regional and National Midget series events. Both teams will be run by legendary car builder and championship team owner Bob East.
Last year, MacLeod drove the No. 4 Clorox/Ford Racing Ford Focus Midget for a half season in USAC's Indianapolis Speedrome Ford Focus Midget Car Series. Despite running only half the races, she won one 50-lap feature in July and finished second to Mockler in another event in what's believed to be the first time the podium has been swept by female drivers in a nationally-sanctioned auto racing event. MacLeod is currently in 11th grade at King's Christian Collegiate in Oakville, Ont.
Mockler, a graduate of the USAC Ford Focus Series, finished second in the 2005 Midwest Ford Focus points standings, scoring one victory and 14 Top-10's in 17 starts. She also finished third in the inaugural USAC Ford Focus Midget National Championship.
Mockler will make her USAC National Midget debut in April at Mansfield Motorsport Speedway. Mockler is a senior at Westfield High School and plans to attend Ohio Northern University while pursuing her racing career.
This multi-year commitment for Ford Racing and Clorox is designed to develop a driver in USAC and graduate her to a NASCAR Busch Series team campaigned by Wood Brothers/JTG Racing.
"Ford's customer base is diverse, and our driver roster should be diverse as well," said Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology. "Alison did a great job last year in the program and we're excited to have Stephanie joining the Clorox/Ford Racing team. We believe we have two very talented drivers with a lot of potential.
"It's our philosophy for this program that if we're going to succeed, we can't rush or hurry the process. Identifying drivers with potential is only the first step. The real work comes in developing them and making sure they are put in situations that foster development and success. You can't just throw these drivers into the deep end to see if they sink or swim. At that point, you are taking a gamble that it will work rather than taking a more deliberate approach to ensure it will work.
"We believe our program will succeed because we have a proven process with Bob East and the USAC Series, and a partner in Clorox who understands that rushing these drivers too quickly into NASCAR is in no one's best interest. Developing drivers is a very difficult thing, which takes time, patience, the right people and the right situation," said Davis.
"Clorox is very proud to be part of this wonderful program," said Tarang Amin, Vice President of Laundry & Home Care Marketing, at the Clorox Company. "We will be sponsoring the cars that these two remarkable young women will drive on their journey, but it is their dream - the dream of women in racing - that will take them to NASCAR."
Ford Racing has a long history in developing diverse driver talent. Ford was an early supporter of Lyn St. James' road racing career in the 1980s, as well as a supporter of prominent African-American driver Willy T. Ribbs' road racing career in that same time frame.
More recently, Ford supported Danica Patrick early in her career when she was racing in Europe, and in 2003 did a formal USAC test of four young women -- including MacLeod -- as part of the pilot for the Clorox/Ford Racing Women's Driver Development Program.