Taurus Triumphant in NASCAR Debut; Wallace Leads Sweep of Bud Shootout

9 February 1998

Taurus Triumphant in NASCAR Debut; Wallace Leads Sweep of Bud Shootout

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 9 -- Different arena.  Same result.
Ford Taurus is a winner.
    Five times the best-selling car in America, the Ford Taurus took to the
track for the first time in competition Sunday, making its NASCAR Winston Cup
debut in grand style with a victory in the 25-lap Bud Shootout all-star event
at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
    Ford standout Rusty Wallace drove the Miller Lite Taurus to the victory,
winning a tense one-lap sprint to the finish after an accident put the race
under the caution flag with two laps remaining.
    Kenny Wallace, Rusty's younger brother, and Bill Elliott finished second
and third, respectively, to give Taurus a sweep of the event's top three
positions.
    The race marked the first head-to-head competition for the new racing
Taurus, the first four-door model to compete in NASCAR Winston Cup on a full-
time basis.  Unlike many new racing programs that have lead times of up to two
years, the Taurus was developed in less than a year.
    "It's a morale booster, that's for sure," said Dan Davis, director, Ford
Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), and head of Ford's worldwide racing efforts.
"After all the work so many of our teams have put in to get this car ready in
such a short period of time, it's great to see it head for victory lane on its
first day.
    "We're still cautious about our chances for next Sunday's Daytona 500, but
this gets the program off to a great start."
    "This win certainly will generate positive publicity about the Taurus,"
said Torrey Galida, Ford's global motorsport marketing manager.  "We love to
hear our drivers saying great things about the car.  From a marketing
standpoint, that's why we're here.
    "We think racing -- and wins like this -- will help keep the Taurus in a
very positive light with our consumers."
    The next test for Taurus occurs Thursday, February 12, when NASCAR
contests the annual Twin 125's, a pair of 125-mile qualifying races for NASCAR
Winston Cup's richest event, the 40th annual Daytona 500, to be run on Sunday,
February 15.
    Taurus, which has replaced Thunderbird as Ford's racing model in NASCAR
Winston Cup racing, may carry as many as 20 drivers in the 1998 Daytona 500.

SOURCE  Ford Motorsport

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