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DEARBORN - @Ford Online recently sat down with Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing, to discuss Ford Motor Company's motorsport success this season as well as prospects for capturing the championship in several series. Below is an excerpt from that discussion.
Q. This is championship season for NASCAR, NHRA and Rally, what does that mean?
A. There are two elements to our racing program -- competition and marketing/activation. For competition, what we work for all year is to try to put our Ford teams and drivers in position to win championships. The development of our cars and technologies is a relentless pursuit. We are applying everything we have learned to make our race cars faster that means looking at teamwork, technical resources and racing strategies. All Ford teams are working toward the goal of winning a championship and endearing fans to Ford. We know what it takes to win titles and we are "all-in" to capture these titles for our company.
Q. Why is this a special racing season for Ford?
A. It's special because it's our 110th year of racing at Ford. Over those years, we have built a rich heritage of racing, winning and connecting with fans, which is all apart of that deep loyalty fans have for Ford. But it's also special because we know "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday" is absolutely true. I see our racing program being very much like Ford itself. We had a tough couple of years in NASCAR (biggest motorsports here in the U.S.), but we have fought back, developed a plan and provided the best product and technologies we could to our teams. And now I think we are poised to win.
Q. Is this our year in NASCAR?
A. We think we have a great chance to win in NASCAR Sprint Cup where we race Fusion and the NASCAR Nationwide series where we race Mustang. Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are our stars and are our championship contenders in Cup. Both have been strong and consistent in the last month. That's what you need to be in the Chase -- the final 10 weeks. In Nationwide, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., a rising Ford star in the sport, is leading the points, trying to win his first championship in Mustang. We think he and his team are focused and poised to win the championship.
Q. What about NHRA and Mustang?
A. This is a series where we are very active on and off the track. Ford has been dominant. We have five Mustang drivers out of the 10 drivers trying to win the NHRA Countdown to 1. John Force Racing's (JFR) Mike Neff has led the points most of the season and finished second in the first event. So he certainly has to be considered the favorite, especially since JFR has won 17 of the last 21 championships. But you can't count out guys like Robert Hight, Bob Tasca III who fields the Motorcraft/Quicklane Mustang or even John Force (15X Champion). If someone gets on a roll and wins a couple of races, they can move quickly into the lead.
Q. How about our chances in Rally?
A. I can tell you that Rally is a big and important part of our motorsports plans with Fiesta. In North America, the racing season ended with Ford winning the X Games and GRC championship. Tanner Foust, our driver in GRC, is also in the European Rally Championship and has one more race and is contending for wins. The WRC program is led by our European Motorsports activity led by Gerard Quinn and Fiesta is in the championship hunt.
Q. How can Ford employees and retirees best follow the action right now?
A. There are plenty of ways to keep on top of the championships. We will post a Ford Racing Update on @Ford Online every Monday morning and also online at www.fordracing.com as well as on Ford Racing's Facebook and Twitter pages. I know all Ford employees and Ford fans are cheering for our Ford drivers and teams and wishing all the best in this championships season.