Ford had a lot of "irons in the fire" in 1969.
The second half of 1969 was a time of change for Ford. It was the beginning of a new fiscal year, and the beginning of model year 1970. The 1969 racing season was in full swing. The US economy was in a recession, unemployment would rise from 3.5% in October 1969 to 6.0% in October 1970.
CEO Henry Ford II believed the time had come for him to make changes that would improve Ford's public image, to align the corporation with the changing social climate of the US, and to bolster the corportation against financially hard times.
(1) He fired Bunkie Knudsen in September (19 months after his arrival in Feb 1968)
(2) He announced the corporation would spend millions of dollars to place emission controls on the smoke stacks at its factories (something the citizens of Dearborn had lobbied for over many years)
(3) He announced the corporation would spend millions of dollars on a new facility to study the reduction of automobile tail pipe emissions
(4) He announced the corporation was cutting its 1970 racing budget by 75%. The racing budget was administered by the Special Vehicle Department, which had been part of the Engineering Division since 1967. By reducing the racing budget the Engineering Division would have more funds available to work on improving passenger safety and reducing tailpipe emissions.
Don Frey (known as the man behind the Mustang's creation, and the Bronco as well) was also one of the men behind Ford's performance cars and racing programs. When Don Frey moved from the Marketing Division to the Engineering Division in 1967 he took the Special Vehicle Department with him. This is how the budget for racing was relocated in 1967 from "marketing" (where it belonged) to "engineering". Some feel the racing program may have survived this era if its budget had remained in marketing.
The picture below is Henry Ford II on the left, Don Frey on the right.