By David G. Firestone
A few weeks ago, I discussed Ford pulling out of the NHRA, and the resulting Camstang fiasco with John Force Racing. What I didn’t discuss was the fact that there are still drivers who are racing Ford Funny Car bodies, specifically Bob Tasca and Tim Wilkerson. I’ve noticed that their decals seem to evolve when the street Mustang changes design. I’ve been wondering if Ford has really pulled out of the sport.
Last week, I got my answer. Ford announced at the SEMA show that they were returning to the NHRA. The announcement stated that:
“Ford and its selected brands will sponsor Bob Tasca III and Tasca Racing for the entire season as the primary sponsor for 16 races, and as a co-sponsor the rest of the season, building on the company’s legacy of drag racing that dates back to the start of the sport.
“We’re excited about partnering with Tasca Racing and helping them return to NHRA for a championship run,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “We believe we have the technology tools to help the team be competitive on the track long-term, and are looking forward to the effort starting in 2018.
“The Tasca family has always been a pioneer in racing, and a leader in Ford vehicle and parts sales for many decades,” said Pericak. “This partnership will only serve to strengthen that legacy.”
Um…so Ford is returning to the NHRA, but only sponsoring Bob Tasca? Why not bring in Tim Wilkerson? Why not bring in a driver who has shown he can win multiple races over the course of a season? Why focus only on Tasca? Tasca has 4 Funny Car wins, Wilkerson has 20 Funny Car wins. I don’t see the point in not bringing Wilkerson in to the group.
I also don’t see why Ford couldn’t bring in another full-time team. Why not Jim Dunn Racing? JDR is a team that has been spinning their wheels for some time, but they are a passionate team, with a good driver, so why not try to bring them on? Ford could have brought on two teams, and given themselves a lot to work with, but they chose to focus on the wrong horse here. I just don’t get it.
Ford’s half-assing their return to the NHRA really makes little sense, but what makes even less sense is why they pulled out in the first place. Their NASCAR program hasn’t been a stellar success. Ford has won 4 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships since 1980, and their last championship came in 2004. Their Xfinity Series program is good, but their Truck Series is a disaster. Their NHRA program had the most success of their racing programs, and they had to kill it off for no good reason. Then when the do bring it back, they back the wrong horse…Nice job guys!