WAYNE, N.J. – Mike Munro, General Manager, North America, for BP Lubricants Americas, the U.S. distributor of premium Castrol motor oils including Castrol GTX, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE and Castrol EDGE, has formally confirmed an agreement extending Castrol’s major sponsorship position with John Force Racing, Inc.
The announcement, which came at a press conference preceding the 42nd annual NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in nearby Englishtown, N.J., was not unexpected. At the same function, Munro accepted, on Castrol’s behalf, a replica of the trophy commemorating Force’s 2010 Funny Car championship, his 15th.
“Our relationship with John Force and his team has been a key element in establishing Castrol as a brand of choice among American race fans,” Munro said, “and we are excited about continuing our association with drag racing’s biggest winner.”
The sponsor relationship between Castrol and JFR, which began in 1986, is the longest active partnership in sports and one of the longest in history. JFR has won 17 of the last 21 NHRA Championships and, with Castrol’s support, has claimed a record 200 NHRA tour victories in the Funny Car division.
“We’ve grown up together,” Force said of his relationship with Castrol. “This is 26 years and now I really want to break the record Kenny Bernstein had with Budweiser (30 consecutive years of sponsorship). That’s what I’m shooting for.”
“We’re pleased to be able to move forward with one of the most successful collaborations in auto racing history,” said Carolyn Eckert, Promotions, Creative and Sponsorship Manager for Castrol. “We look forward to sharing many more winners’ circles with John and his team as we continue to work together to provide consumers the quality Castrol products they deserve and expect.”
Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE continues to sponsor Force’s Ford Mustang Funny Car while Castrol GTX this year is the sponsor of the Ford Mustang driven by Mike Neff, who temporarily has taken over the seat occupied the last four seasons by two-time reigning Mac Tools U.S. Nationals champion Ashley Force Hood.
Although Force Hood has taken a leave of absence to start a family with her husband, Dan, she has remained active during the pregnancy as personal driving coach to youngest sister Courtney, 22. While she is on sabbatical, her dad is driving the car in which she finished second and third in points in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Specific terms of the new agreement were not disclosed.
“We never talk numbers, but I can tell you that it’s a lot more than the first one,” Force quipped. “When I signed my first contract with Castrol, it was for $5,000 and oil. The next year, (Castrol marketing executives) John Howell and John Gardella put together the Castrol Super Team with six drivers in six classes including me, Gary Ormsby (Top Fuel) and Larry Morgan (Pro Stock).
“That started it and 26 years later my kids are out here racing with me and Castrol is still the mother ship for John Force Racing.”
Since 1984, when it took its first tentative steps in the NHRA drag racing series, Castrol race cars have won 357 tour events and 24 championships in 10 different classes including Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Truck.
Nine different drivers earned their first NHRA professional victories in Castrol-backed race cars. Force, Force Hood, Neff, Robert Hight, the late Eric Medlen, Gary Densham and Tony Pedregon all won for the first time in JFR Funny Cars with Castrol support. Pat Austin (Top Fuel), Larry Morgan (Pro Stock) and Steve Johns (Pro Stock Truck) also earned their first wins in Castrol-backed vehicles.