The drag racing community has been abuzz in recent weeks with discussions and rumors regarding the Ford Motor Company’s continued involvement with the NHRA and the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, where the blue oval brand serves as the official vehicle of the world’s premier drag racing organization, as well as a major supporter of the John Force Racing, Tasca Racing, ans Tim Wilkerson’s nitro teams. Today, Ford’s Communications department issued an official statement concerning their plans for 2014 and beyond, which will see the Detroit automaker significantly scale back their support for professional drag racing.
Official Statement from Ford Motor Company:
“Ford is not getting out of drag racing. We are fully committed to continue our support of grassroots sportsman drag racing with our Mustang Cobra Jet, parts support and contingency programs. Enthusiasts and production-based racing is at the heart of what we do.”
“We have, however, made a business decision to conclude our team sponsorships and support in the NHRA Mello Yello Series at the end of the 2014 season. This decision was based on an ongoing assessment of our motorsport programs’ effectiveness and the strategic alignment with our company objectives globally.”
While more details regarding the announcement will likely be learned in the coming weeks and months, all indications are that this move will indeed effect the Bob Tasca and Larry Morgan racing operations, along with John Force Racing’s four professional nitro teams. With Ford’s departure from Force’s organization, it will end one of the longest current marketing partnerships in the sport, dating back to Force’s switch to a Ford Mustang body in early 1997.
Also part of the scaled back effort, although unconfirmed, could be Ford’s status as the official vehicle of the NHRA, a title the company has held through an agreement signed in 2009.
The popular Mustang Cobra Jet program, which launched in 2008 with the debut of the much-anticipated FR500CJ, will continue into the future as part of Ford’s grass roots efforts in the sportsman drag racing ranks. The Cobra Jets, which are factory-built race cars designed for Super Stock and Stock competition and assembled at Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan, have been offered every year since that debut season with the exception of 2009 and 2011, with a 2014 model currently in development.
We’ll have more on this breaking story as information becomes available.