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Ford Taurus to Compete in NASCAR Winston Cup Racing

31 July 1997


INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Ford Motor Company put speculation to rest today by 
announcing the Ford Taurus as its racing entry for the 1998 NASCAR Winston 
Cup season.

"NASCAR is all about racing cars that the fans can relate to. So it makes 
sense that the flagship car for Ford Division would compete in the most 
popular and most exciting racing series in America," said Bob Rewey, group 
vice president, Ford Marketing, Sales and Service.

"Taurus changed the face of the American sedan when we introduced it in 1986. 
As NASCAR's first full-time, four-door competitor, we expect that it will 
also change the face of Winston Cup racing."

Taurus, the best-selling car in America the past five years, will join a 
storied line of Ford race cars that have helped the company win more NASCAR 
Winston Cup events than any other manufacturer in history. The new car, a 
four-door, 1998 model, was unveiled at a media reception in the Indiana 
Convention Center in Indianapolis, just days before the annual Brickyard 400.

"This is a very exciting and historic day for our racing program," added 
Rewey. "The Taurus has been a winner with the public since it was introduced 
in 1986, and we expect it to be a winner for our Ford NASCAR teams."

In becoming the standard-bearer for Ford in NASCAR, Taurus will replace the 
Thunderbird, which has carried Ford drivers to 176 Winston Cup victories, 
five Daytona 500 triumphs, and four championships since its re-introduction 
to NASCAR in 1978. The Thunderbird production model will cease production at 
the end of this model year.

"We'll have a winner on our hands with Taurus," said Bruce Cambern, director, 
Ford Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), and the man in charge of the Company's
worldwide racing efforts. "Although the Thunderbird has been and still is a 
very successful race car as evidenced by the 11 wins so far this season, we 
feel it's important to race what we sell in the marketplace."

"We reviewed several options in determining what NASCAR race car we wanted to 
take us into the next century, and the Taurus fit all the criteria that we 
were looking for," Cambern added. "It's the right size, it's got an 
innovative, aerodynamic shape, and it's a car we believe that NASCAR fans 
will relate to.

"Our primary commitment to our teams is to provide them a competitive race 
car. We believe we've done that with Taurus."

Ford SVO and Ford's Motorsport Technology Department were actively involved 
in the development of the new Taurus, in conjunction with Penske Racing South 
in Mooresville, N.C., which fields a Ford for driver Rusty Wallace. Roush 
Racing, which fields three Ford Thunderbird teams, also assisted in the 
building process. Many of the other current Ford teams and drivers also 
offered input.

"It's a tribute to our engineers, our new technologies and to the cooperation 
of our teams that we were able to design and build a new race car in such a 
short period of time," Cambern said.

"But we also couldn't have done this without the cooperation of Bill France, 
Jr., and his people at NASCAR, who worked with us every step of the way to 
get this car approved very quickly."

The Taurus NASCAR program is also expected to be a hit among Ford dealers, 
who will see the car for the first time at the annual Dealer Introduction 
Show in San Diego, CA, starting Aug. 2.

"This is an exciting time for Taurus," said J.C. Collins, Family Brand 
manager, Ford Division. "We believe that racing Taurus will have a positive 
impact on our loyal Ford fans.

"We feel NASCAR racing will reinforce Taurus' brand image as a leader, both 
on and off the track. Our dealers are excited about the prospects of Taurus 
racing, and the opportunities it can provide in promotions and merchandising. 
It's an All-American car in an All-American racing series."

Cambern said that initial track testing of the new vehicle will begin within 
the next few weeks, with many of the Ford teams and drivers expected to 
participate in early testing as the new Tauruses are being built. Currently, 
there are 21 Ford Thunderbird teams competing full-time in Winston Cup racing.

By Ford Motorsport Public Affairs