DEARBORN, Mich., March 17, 2006 – Two of the most successful and longest-running USAC series engine manufacturers, Ford Racing and Esslinger Engineering, Inc., of El Monte, Calif., have joined forces to further enhance the value and performance of the only OEM production-based USAC Midget engine currently competing in the series.

The new engine, badged the Esslinger-Ford, will cost $27,500 for the dirt engine and $28,500 for the pavement engine, thousands of dollars less than other OEM-supported Midget engines currently available to competitors.


“We want to make Midget racing more affordable for everybody,” said Hank Dertian, Ford Racing USAC Engine Program Manager. “With Esslinger Engineering we have the ability to share technical and engineering resources to help teams running Esslinger-Ford's stay competitive.”


The Esslinger-Ford engine has a direct link to Ford production engines. The base 2.3-liter, overhead cam engine was available in the Ford Mustang and a derivative of the engine was most recently found in the Ford Ranger. Ford has produced millions of these stock engines over the years.


Esslinger Engineering has been developing race parts for the 2.3-liter Ford engine for over 30 years. In addition to its success in the USAC Midget Series, the engine has competed in a wide variety of race series including road racing, desert off-road and drag racing.


"The Essslinger-Ford will be the only single-overhead cam engine running in the series. The engine runs a lot of the Ford parts, and of everything out there it’s the only one that’s based on a production engine," said Dan Esslinger, president of Esslinger Engineering.

“We started in 1974 developing this engine and have worked on its evolution to this point.  The resources and technical support we will gain with Ford Racing involved will really help in the development as we go on. Midget racing is our passion and we know it's very important to Ford as well. We want to see the sport grow and improve and keep moving drivers along to bigger and better things. This partnership will also help the racers with the contingency program, especially at the bigger races where a lot of money is put up.”


There are several USAC Midget teams running the Esslinger-Ford engine. Two new teams that are part of program for 2006 are the East Enterprises/Klatt Motorsports team and the Western Speed Racing team.


In addition to Ford’s support of the USAC Midget Series, Ford continues to be a major force in USAC’s Ford Focus Midget Series. The Ford Focus Midget Series is an affordable and competitive national racing program that’s proven to be an important feeder series for the USAC Midget and Sprint Car ranks. For its contributions to the sport, Ford Racing was awarded the prestigious Jim Blunk award at the 2005 USAC Awards Ceremony.


Teams interested in the Esslinger-Ford engine should contact Esslinger Engineering at (626)-444-4919.