When NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers line up at Michigan International Speedway this Sunday, there will be an unusual vehicle among their ranks: a 2012 Ford Focus. Obviously the new hatchback won’t actually be in the race, but pacing it instead.
The Focus pace car will be driven by Mark Fields, Ford’s vice president of the Americas. Fields says he’s looking forward to “showing millions of race fans at MIS and across the country how much fun the new Focus is to drive.”
Ford’s pace car has been decked out with the requisite flashing light bar, as well as livery from the race sponsor, Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips. The car also wears a “Ford 40 MPG” sticker (referring to the highway economy of a Focus SFE model) that is linked to a new Ford promotion. If any Ford driver wins the championship in this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup, NHRA Funny Car and World Rally championships, 40 people who register online will win a 2012 Focus. Regardless of the race outcome, one person will be selected at random to win a Focus.
Ford is no stranger to highlighting its new vehicles in NASCAR events. A 2011 Ford Fiesta served as a pace car at an MIS race in August 2010, the Fusion hybrid paced the Ford 400 race in November 2009, and both the Mustang GT 5.0 and 2011 Explorer have served as pace vehicles earlier this year.