Edsel Ford II Talks New NASCAR Design & Racing’s Relevance

Edsel Ford II, the great grandson of company founder Henry Ford, joined host Steve Byrnes on tonight’s edition of SPEED’s NASCAR Race Hub.

Ford, who currently sits on the Ford Motor Company Board of the Directors, spoke to NASCAR Race Hub about how they influenced NASCAR on the direction of new race car design, as well as some interesting comments about the ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’ marketing slogan that has been long-associated with any manufacturer’s involvement in the sport.

Here are excerpted quotes from the show…

Steve Byrnes: (Car owner) Chip Ganassi made, I think, maybe one of the strongest statements I’ve heard about the importance of the auto manufacturers. I don’t think race fans see that direct connection as much. They don’t understand the relationship between the teams and you folks. But Chip’s comment was, ‘We need as an industry, meaning NASCAR, to really pay attention to what the auto manufacturers want and need (to get) out of racing because they are the lifeblood.

Edsel Ford II: I think Chip is right, in the sense that… and I’ll also say that NASCAR has finally came to us a couple of years ago and said they were going to change the sheet metal on the (2013) car. They came to us, not only Ford, but to General Motors, Toyota and they said to us, what do you want to do? We really were all a part of designing the (2013) car, and to make it more look like the Fusion we have on the road.

Byrnes: One of the interesting things to that point, Edsel, and I love studying the history of NASCAR because it truly is an American motor sport, but before there was a Bill Elliott fan, before there was a Greg Biffle fan, there were Ford fans. There were Chevrolet fans. I mean, to this day, I hear people say, I’m a Ford man.

Ford II: I think it’s great, and I hear it all the time too. Now, with better product identification coming in ’13 for all of us, now, I think the fans are going to go back and they are going to say, ‘well this person drives a Ford, and that person drives a Dodge, a Chevrolet and Toyota…

Byrnes: …because it gives you more identity?

Ford II: Absolutely. We want identity. We went to NASCAR and said that the cars were starting to look alike. That’s no secret. We went to NASCAR and said that we needed better product identity for the industry. They said ‘okay, we buy it, and we’ll work with you to develop new cars for ’13, and that’s… you’ve seen them, they look really good.

Byrnes: They look fantastic… It’s almost a cliché now because we’ve heard it so much over the years, but its ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday.’ So what is it that manufacturers, like Ford, get out of their association with motorsports? Is that accurate?

Ford II: Well, I think it used to be. I don’t think it is so much today, although we celebrate on Monday. I think the dealers enjoy it. I think the employees enjoy it. The fans love it. Whether we sell an extra car on Monday or not – I’m not sure. But we do like the celebration; we do like to be a part of the sport. It’s important for all of our constituencies and they enjoy it. Our sponsors enjoy it, so motor racing for us all around the world is a very important marketing ingredient.

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