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NOV 18, 2017 | FORD PERFORMANCE STAFF

DAVE PERICAK REFLECTS ON FORD'S 2017 NASCAR SEASON

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HOMESTEAD-MIAMI, Fla - Prior to tomorrow’s season finale race, the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, OEM representatives from all three NASCAR manufacturers participated in a press conference to address different topics within the sport. Dave Pericak, Global Director, Ford Performance was part of the group that addressed the media Saturday afternoon.

DAVE PERICAK, Global Director, Ford Performance 
THESE PLAYOFFS HAVE BEEN HIGHLIGHTED BY INTENSE COMPETITION.  THE RIVALRIES ARE NOT EXCLUSIVE TO DRIVERS AND TEAMS.  I'LL ASK EACH OF YOU TO TALK ABOUT YOUR SEASON. “I'm also glad to be here with you today.  As with any season, you have your highs and lows.  We have a lot of momentum going forward.  If you look at the Truck Series, Chase Briscoe winning last night, his first win, extremely exciting.  We had a contender in the Playoffs.  Very well done by those two young men there. XFINITY, we've been showing a lot of progress in XFINITY.  See if we can't help get the owners championship for Penske today. Then in the Cup, we have had a pretty awesome year.  If you look at it overall, we've had six different drivers make it to Victory Lane from four different teams, showing that the entire Ford camp is elevating and raising the chinning bar. We started out this season with a new team, Stewart‑Haas Racing.  It's a lot of work to change over to a new manufacturer, but started off the new season with the Daytona 500 victory and here we are today with Kevin Harvick in the championship. To have also five guys make the Playoffs, two of those be first‑time winners, was also pretty important with Mr. Blaney and Mr. Stiles.  We're proud to be here Championship Weekend with two drivers contending for this title. Overall I think it's been a really positive year for us, a lot of positive momentum, and we're looking forward to '18 because we know we've got more coming.”

FORD DIDN'T WASTE ANY TIME TO START OFF THE YEAR TRANSITIONING TO STEWART‑HAAS
RACING, KURT BUSCH WINNING THE DAYTONA 500.  TWO PLAYOFF DRIVERS, BRAD IN THE FINALS ALONG WITH KEVIN.  TALK ABOUT HOW YOU'RE FEEL BEING PART OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP 4.
“We're feeling really good.  We struggled in the middle part of the season figuring out the new rules package with the car, keeping up with the rest of these guys.  You can see we've been hitting our stride.  We figured out quite a bit. We're coming to Miami with the best that we've got.  We feel very confident in what we have.  That's why we're also looking forward to next season as well because we understand where the rules are going for next season.  We feel we figured out how to make it work for us. Very confident.  Two veteran drivers obviously.  They know how to do it.  They know how to get it done.  They've done it before.  They're very determined and laser focused.  I wouldn't want to be here with anyone else.  I'm happy with who we have.  Look forward to tomorrow.”

DAVE, NOT TO BRING UP A SORE SUBJECT, BUT 12 YEARS SINCE YOU HAVE WON A CUP CHAMPIONSHIP.  WHAT WOULD IT MEAN BOTH INSIDE YOUR ORGANIZATION BUT ALSO CLEARLY FROM A SALES AND MARKETING POINT OF VIEW IF YOU DO WIN TOMORROW?  “Yeah, I don't sees that a sore subject, I see that as motivation.  It's time, right?  We owe that to our fans, to our employees, everybody that's been with us throughout the years.  It is time for us to get it done.  We plan to do that. What will it mean to us?  Obviously it means a lot to our program itself.  It means a lot as far as the sponsorship goes, keeping that going.  Then clearly we're going to leverage that for our marketing activation and things like that. I think it would be very hard to define what winning a championship does, but it definitely is very huge.  We want it more than ever.  Like I said, I don't take that as ‑‑ it's okay.  It's been a long time.”

USED TO BE THAT WIN ON SUNDAY, SELL ON MONDAY, ALL THAT.  WITH THE TREND FOR THE AUTOMOTIVE BUYER NOW, TWO AREAS, SUVS AND CROSSOVERS.  IT'S NO SECRET.  SELLING SEDANS, COUPES, HYBRIDS.  HOW LONG DO YOU THINK MOTORSPORTS CAN STILL BE RELEVANT IN THAT ARENA?  LOOKING AT DECADES, A DECADE, A FEW YEARS?  HOW CAN YOU TRANSLATE THE USE OF SEDANS AND COUPES TO AN AUTOMOTIVE PUBLIC? “I mean, I think it's a great question.  But what we're creating by what we're doing are brand ambassadors for the entire brand.  Everyone wants to be part of a winning team.  They want to know that the car company they're investing in is successful and that they have great engineering and whatnot.  We are creating, again, those brand ambassadors. Yes, you're right, that's where a lot of the sales are.  They're still out there talking to their friends and family and people that they know.  They're delivering the message that we want them to deliver.  It does work for us quite well. I think as we see the world change, I think motorsports are going to obviously change as well.  I think we'll keep pace with everything that's going on in the industry. I don't know what you guys think, but it absolutely works for us to create those brand ambassadors.”

DAVE, WITH THE CAMARO COMING INTO THE CUP SERIES, ARE YOU INTRODUCING THE MUSTANG?  “Great question. I mean, Jim has been waiting for this answer. We always look at what's going on in the showroom, where we're going with our product development cycle plan.  We introduced the new Fusion a couple years ago.  We will be looking at introducing a new car in the future.  We have not submitted anything as of yet, but stay tuned.”