Edsel Ford: “You’ll have to bury me before we go IndyCar racing” (Update)

UPDATE Ford should take another look at possibly competing in the IndyCar series, says Mark Crawford, IndyCar project leader for Honda Performance Development (HPD).

Crawford was reacting to a question about recent remarks reportedly made by Edsel Ford II at a private event last week.
“No, no, no," said Ford, who is member of the company's board of directors, when asked about a return to IndyCar. “I'll be six feet under. No way. Not a chance."

IndyCar and its current engine suppliers, Honda and General Motors, have been openly campaigning to add a third manufacturer in the sport and Ford was a primary target.

“We really, really, really want to see a third competitor, at least, in the series," Crawford said. “To Ford specifically, they're welcome to come out here and take a look. I trust that they have and that's the reason they have the opinion that they do.
“But look a bit deeper, because I think that the IndyCar Series is a great value. It's great exposure. It's the only place where you can come to run the Indy 500, the biggest race in the world. They're welcome out here. Hopefully they reconsider, and if not Ford, someone else."

Crawford says HPD is stretched thin servicing 18 cars at the Speedway this month, something a third competitor would help to ease. Each of the 18 cars has a HPD engineer assigned to it.

“Eighteen engines is a huge challenge," he said. “We've got our regular race team support. We have guys that typically are assigned to our sports car effort. They've come to Indy while there's a break on the sports car side and they're supporting the Indy effort this weekend. We've got development engineers out here. We've got engineers from the test department. Anyone that understands looking at data, running engines, and has some bit of experience on keeping these things going and at the peak of their health and performance, they're out here.

“A third competitor would really, really make it a lot easier on us, not only because it's fewer engineers and fewer engines, but we'll be able to turn our attention from covering the quantity of cars to actually the quality of the cars. The quality is in the cars right now, but imagine what it would be if we weren't spread so thin. I think we'd be able to dig quite a bit deeper because there's a limit to the number of guys we've got and the number of hours in the day."

05/14/14 Edsel Ford II, a member of the Ford Motor Company Board of Directors and great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, says that the marque will not be going IndyCar racing any time soon.

"No, no, no," Ford said when questioned on the topic yesterday evening at a private event. “I’ll be six feet under. No way. Not a chance."

His reasoning is simple: "No one in the stands. The General Motors guys would like us there and Honda would like us there, but there’s just no value in it.

"I've talked to Jamie (Allison, Director of Ford Racing) a lot about it. He, Raj (Nair, Group VP of Global Product Development), I don’t think any of us really want to go to IndyCar racing."

With the answer being so definitive, Ford was asked where the thought the rumor might have originated. "Probably by the GM people," he said, "because they want some relief."

[Editor's Note: Chevy kicks Ford's butt in every other form of motorsports and they probably do not want to get smoked in IndyCar too.]

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