2012 Ford Focus serves as NASCAR pace car at the Michigan International Speedway

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 17, 2011

At the Michigan International Speedway this weekend, Ford’s all-new Focus will be the NASCAR pace car. Ford is hoping that the Focus will get a boost, similar to what this exposure did for the Fiesta. Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas, will be the “celebrity” driver for this new Focus pace car.

What Ford expects to prove is that the 2012 Focus will have more than sufficient petrol to accomplish its job. Ford is exploiting the fact that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers often point to fuel mileage as a problem. On the highway, the Focus offers an EPA-certified 40 miles per gallon.

What we’ll expect to see at NASCAR is that the Sprint Cup drivers will have to pit five or six times in the 400-mile race but the 2012 Focus could go farther and will push 497 miles (or 248 laps at Michigan International Speedway) before having to pit.

Fields said that it would be an honor to bring the 43-car field to the green flag but what he would consider as the “real highlight” is when he demonstrates to race fans at MIS and throughout the country “how much fun the new Focus is to drive.”

He added that the Michigan-produced Focus can take on “high-speed ovals, challenging, twisty roads and everything in between.” In addition, the Focus is the feature vehicle of a new national on-line sweepstakes where 40 fans will win the new model if Ford Racing drivers get the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NHRA Funny Car and World Rally championships.

Since 1998, there has been one make of car which has managed to sell more than 10 million units and that is the Ford Focus.

When asked his opinion, Trevor Bayne, winner of the Daytona 500, said that the new Ford Focus is unbelievable. He said that when looking at cars, he considers their looks and what they offer in terms of technology. He also said that the new Focus delivers on every level and that it’s precisely the type of car young people, like himself, are looking for.

With such a ringing endorsement, Ford appears to have set its sights on a younger market.

Jamie Allison, Director of Ford Racing said that last year, they brought the Fiesta to Nascar with the sole purpose of it being the Michigan pace car but this event allowed them to show off the new model and remind people what a fantastic, fuel-efficient, fun-to-drive car Ford is. This year, the brand is doing the same for the Focus.

Ford's pioneering work with NASCAR has meant they have been able to provide a pace car which highlights the versatility of Ford's range of vehicles, ranging from cars to SUVs or trucks. This versatility became apparent with its appearance as the first Hybrid pace car at a NASCAR race back in 2009 when the Fusion Hybrid began the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Ford has brought this versatility forward by fielding the Mustang GT 5.0 V-8 and the 2011 Explorer SUV.

Aside from being the pace car at NASCAR, the Ford Focus is also the prize for 40 fans as part of an online sweepstake. In order to meet the criteria and have a chance of winning, people must capture the spirit of the NASCAR Spring Cup, the World Rally Championships and the NHRA Funny Car. Register your interest at www.Ford40MPG.com.

Press Release

All-New 2012 Ford Focus To Serve As Pace Car For The First Time During NASCAR Wekend At Michigan International Speedway

Fuel mileage may be a problem for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers when they come to Michigan International Speedway for this weekend's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400, but it will be all green-flag conditions for one fuel-sipping car in the field.

The all-new 2012 Ford Focus, which delivers an EPA-certified 40 miles per gallon on the highway, will have more than enough petrol to get the job done when it serves as pace car for the first time at a NASCAR-sanctioned event.

While NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will need to pit five or six times during the 400-mile race, the 2012 Focus, with its outstanding fuel economy, could go race distance and more, pushing 497 miles (or 248 laps at Michigan International Speedway) before needing to pit.

Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas, will be behind the wheel Sunday as the "celebrity" pace car driver.

"Bringing the 43-car field to the green flag will be an honor, but the real highlight of my day will be showing millions of race fans at MIS and across the country how much fun the new Focus is to drive," Fields said. "Focus is delivers on high-speed ovals, challenging, twisty roads and everything in between. This car – built right here in Michigan – is built for people who love to drive."

Focus is Ford's most significant global car with more than 10 million units sold since being launched in 1998.

"When I saw the new Focus, I couldn't believe it," said Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne. "I think this car is going to appeal to a lot of young people like myself because it offers the latest technology and has that sporty look many of us want when we go shopping for a car."

Ford hopes consumers nationwide share Bayne's reaction.

"Just like last year when we unveiled Fiesta as the Michigan pace car, we're using this race as a platform to promote another one of our fun-to-drive, fuel-efficient vehicles," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. "Focus is a fantastic car that has captured the imagination of consumers everywhere, and we hope our fans are going to like what they see when it hits the track on Sunday."

Ford has been at the forefront of using its NASCAR pace car program to highlight its extensive line of new cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles. This includes being the first company to have Hybrid pace the start of a NASCAR race when the Fusion Hybrid led the field to green for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2009. In addition, the Mustang GT 5.0L V-8 and all-new 2011 Explorer SUV have served as pace vehicles within the last year.

In addition to being the pace car at MIS this weekend, Focus is also the feature vehicle of a new national on-line sweepstakes in which 40 fans will win the new model if Ford Racing drivers capture the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NHRA Funny Car and World Rally championships. Fans can register for that opportunity at www.Ford40MPG.com.

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