FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: DAYTONA 500 NOTES
The 61st running of the Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway (2:30 p.m. Eastern on FOX) and it will feature the points racing debut of the new NASCAR Mustang. Ford has won the Daytona 500 a total of 15 times, including four of the last eight. Team Penske driver Joey Logano is the defending series champion while Ford looks to build off a 2018 season that saw it lead the series with 19 victories and claim the manufacturers’ title.
NEW FORD MUSTANG CUP CAR READY TO MAKE ITS DAYTONA 500 DEBUT
There will be 14 all-new Ford NASCAR Mustangs in the field for Sunday’s Daytona 500 and six of those feature drivers who qualified for last year’s Playoffs. And while this will mark the first official points race for Mustang in Cup, it’s no stranger to winning races and championships in NASCAR. Since becoming Ford’s flagship model in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2011, Mustang has won a driver’s or owner’s championship every season, except 2016. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011-2012) and Chris Buescher (2015) won driver’s titles, while Team Penske, Roush Fenway Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing have combined to win six owner’s championships.
FOUR FORD NEWCOMERS IN 2019
There will be three newcomers making their Ford debuts on Sunday while another returns after a long absence. Daniel Suarez will be behind the wheel of the No. 41 Haas Automation Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing while Corey LaJoie makes his initial start in the No. 32 Go Fas Racing Mustang. Front Row Motorsports has expanded to a three-car team and added Matt Tifft in the No. 36 Speedco Mustang. Ryan Newman, who won his first series race while driving with Team Penske and Ford in 2002, has joined Roush Fenway Racing and will drive the No. 6 Oscar Mayer Mustang.
FORD MUSTANG IS NOW RACING AROUND THE GLOBE
Mustang’s debut at Daytona Speedweeks isn’t the only series around the world in which the world’s best-selling sports coupe will compete in 2019. Last weekend, a new Mustang Funny Car body launched in the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, CA, along with the new 2019 Mustang Cobra Jet for sportsman racing. Next month, Mustang will appear for the first time with DJR Team Penske Racing and Tickford Racing in Australia’s Supercars Championship. In addition, Ford’s Mustang GT4 racer will also compete in the FIA GT4 series in England and Australia, and the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series in IMSA. Vaughn Gittin Jr. will also continue to compete with his Mustang RTR in the Formula Drift series.
LOOKING BACK AT PAST FORD DAYTONA 500 HIGHLIGHTS
TINY LUND COMES UP BIG FOR WOOD BROTHERS
Ford won the Daytona 500 for the first time on Feb. 24, 1963 when Tiny Lund took the Wood Brothers to Victory Lane and completed a script that would have made Hollywood envious. Lund didn’t have a ride for the 500, but was at the track watching Marvin Panch test a Maserati when the car went out of control, flipped upside-down and started on fire. Lund, along with four others, rushed to the scene and eventually pulled Panch to safety. Panch, who was the primary driver for the Wood Brothers, was unable to race in the 500 due to his injuries, so the team tabbed Lund as a substitute. Lund defied the odds by winning the race on one set of tires to give Ford and the Wood Brothers their first win in “The Great American Race.”
KENSETH WINS EXPLOSIVE DAYTONA 500
When Ford won the Daytona 500 on Feb. 27, 2012 with Matt Kenseth, it marked his second victory in three years. But while Kenseth will be remembered for becoming the ninth multiple winner of “The Great American Race,” the weekend will forever be remembered for a series of unforeseen events. First, for the first time in its 54-year history the race had to be postponed until Monday due to rain. As lingering showers persisted the next day, NASCAR officials decided to make it a primetime event for the first time. The race was building to a climax when caution came out on lap 157. During the ensuing caution, something broke on Juan Pablo Montoya’s car and sent it careening into a jet dryer that was working on the track. An explosion ensued and resulted in a red flag that lasted more than two hours as officials repaired the track. There were no major injuries, but the incident resulted in one of the more memorable photos ever taken as driver Brad Keselowski used his cell phone to post a shot from his vantage point on the backstretch. Kenseth eventually held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle on a green-white-checker finish to win.
A CINDERELLA STORY
Ford has won the Daytona 500 a total of 15 times after Kurt Busch took the checkered flag for Stewart-Haas Racing in its debut race with the manufacturer in 2017. That Cinderella story marked Ford’s fourth Daytona 500 win in a seven-year period, a streak that started with another Disney-type story when Trevor Bayne became the youngest Daytona 500 winner in 2011. The victory was even more memorable because it came one day after his 20th birthday and in only his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start for the Wood Brothers.
LOGANO GIVES FORD FIRST SWEEP OF DAYTONA SPEEDWEEKS
Joey Logano survived an intense final 10 laps, including a green-white-checkered finish, to give Ford a sweep of Daytona Speedweeks by winning the 57th running of the Daytona 500. The win came on the heels of Tyler Reddick winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Ryan Reed taking the checkered flag for the first time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series event. It also capped an undefeated month of racing at Daytona for Ford, which also won the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours. In the end, Logano used a push from Clint Bowyer to get in front of the pack, but when caution came out with three laps to go for an accident involving Justin Allgaier, the field bunch back up for the deciding restart. As the leader, Logano opted for the outside line and that proved to be the right decision as he got ahead of Denny Hamlin on the inside and stayed in front until the caution came out on the final lap to officially end the race.
FORD’S DAYTONA 500 WINNERS
1963 – Tiny Lund (Wood Brothers)
1965 – Fred Lorenzen (Holman-Moody)
1967 – Mario Andretti (Holman-Moody)
1969 – LeeRoy Yarbrough (Junior Johnson)
1978 – Bobby Allison (Bud Moore)
1985 – Bill Elliott (Harry Melling)
1987 – Bill Elliott (Harry Melling)
1992 – Davey Allison (Robert Yates)
1996 – Dale Jarrett (Robert Yates)
2000 – Dale Jarrett (Robert Yates)
2009 – Matt Kenseth (Jack Roush)
2011 – Trevor Bayne (Wood Brothers)
2012 – Matt Kenseth (Jack Roush)
2015 – Joey Logano (Roger Penske)
2017 – Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas)