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From all indications the Ford Motor Company may once again have decided that drag racing, and specifically the National Hot Rod Association, just doesn’t help their company sell cars, and they could be cutting back or terminating all of their drag racing programs.
My sources indicate that the cutbacks will including John Force Racing, Tasca Racing, their Cobra-Jet factory Stock/Super Stock program and their “Official” status with the NHRA.
According to several well-placed racing industry sources, who asked not to be named since they weren’t authorized to discuss the situation, Ford is either going to sever their ties completely with John Force Racing or scale back their sponsorship drastically.
The sources also have said that the Tasca family fuel Funny Car team and any support for the Pro Stock class would be ended.
If the Ford Motor Company has decided that drag racing simply isn’t cost-effective or able to sell its brand to the public, it would not be the first time Ford has come to that conclusion. Many years ago when FoMoCo was still sponsoring the Candies & Hughes nitro teams and Bob Glidden’s Pro Stock, a Ford executive told me that when those teams retired from drag racing there would be no Ford money for other teams. Simply put, when Bob Glidden and Paul Candies were done with drag racing, so was Ford.
That is exactly what happened and Ford was basically out of the NHRA drag racing business for a decade or so until a new regime at the company saw value in the JFR brand, sponsored Ford family friend Bob Tasca’s grandson in Funny Car and Pro Stock racer Larry Morgan, and even tried to revive the Cobra Jet Mustang with factory-built Stock and Super Stock Mustangs -- at no small expense.
But apparently NHRA drag racing (or any other drag racing body for that matter) has been unable to deliver what Ford executives would consider a reasonable return on their investment. After all, their bottom line is how many Ford vehicles they sell.
It probably hasn’t helped matters that both the number of NHRA fans attending races and the TV ratings have either been flat or declined significantly in the last five year despite the very best efforts of NHRA president Tom Compton’s management team.
It also didn’t help that the very expensive Cobra Jet Stock/Super Stock program simply didn’t get any significant attention from the NHRA. That program was never heavily promoted by the sanctioning body. Those cars weren’t and aren’t part of the Pro Show, nor did they get any significant time on NHRA’s professional class race broadcasts which have the highest ratings for the NHRA.
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