Ford stands ground, calls for series exit

Thursday, April 21, 1966 – After two days of meeting with factory-backed teams, officials with Ford Motor Co., remained steadfast in their decision to pull out of NASCAR due to weight restrictions put in place with the new overhead cam engine. John Cowley and Jacques Passino met with the various parties in Charlotte, N.C. to discuss the company’s stance. NASCAR’s Bill France and USAC competition director Henry Banks approved the SOHC engine in March but stipulated teams using the engine must add 427 pounds to the overall weight of the car.  Ford officials called the additional weight an unfair disadvantage.

According to reports, five of the seven factory Ford drivers agreed to stand behind the boycott. Refusing to go along with the move were Curtis Turner and Junior Johnson

Several Ford drivers were considering a move to drag racing, including Turner, Fred Lorenzen, Dick Hutcherson, Cale Yarborough and Ned Jarrett.

Ford officials discussed several options with the factory-backed teams at the time: releasing the drivers and allowing them to operate as independents while still using Ford equipment; paying drivers for the remainder of the years while withholding parts and equipment going forward; and allowing drivers to compete as independents while allowing various Ford dealers to bear the brunt of the costs.

By the time the annual Southern 500 rolled around, most if not all Ford factory teams had returned to NASCAR competition.

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