The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series headlines this weekend’s action at Daytona International Speedway, where Ford seeks to win the Coke Zero Sugar 400 for the third time in the last four years. Here’s a look at some notes from Ford’s success at Daytona in July.
FORD IN THE MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT DAYTONA
· Ford has 37 all-time series wins at Daytona.
· The Wood Brothers have the most wins among car owners at Daytona with 15.
· Ford has won 8 of the last 17 series races at Daytona.
FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT DAYTONA
· Ford has 5 series wins at Daytona.
· Ryan Reed has two of those wins (2015 and 2017).
· The last time Ford won this event was in 2016 with Aric Almirola.
FORD DRIVERS LIKE DAYTONA IN JULY
Ford has won this event twice in the last three seasons and four times in the last eight, all by different drivers. David Ragan got his first series victory in this event in 2011 while driving for Jack Roush while Aric Almirola earned his initial MENCS win in 2014 with Richard Petty. Since then, Brad Keslelowski (2016) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2017) have registered July victories at DIS.
ALMIROLA TAKES THE KING BACK TO VICTORY LANE
The first victory of Aric Almirola’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career came in the 2014 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. The win, which came after rain forced a halt to the event after 112 laps, came 30 years after his car owner, Richard Petty, won his record 200th series race in the same event. Almirola had held the lead for seven laps and 14 of the previous 15 circuits when the rain began falling. NASCAR waited 56 minutes before calling the race official. The win marked the first for the famous No. 43 since 1999 and the first time it had been to victory lane with Ford since The King’s only season with the manufacturer in 1969 when he won nine times.
RAGAN RECOVERS FROM 500 SETBACK
Only five months after suffering heartbreak in the 2011 Daytona 500, David Ragan bounced back to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in the July event at Daytona International Speedway. Ragan, who was leading the 500 on a green-white-checker restart, was assessed a penalty by NASCAR after getting ahead of Trevor Bayne and then changing lanes before the start-finish line. The penalty cost him a chance at victory, but he made up for that in July as he passed Ryan Newman with eight laps to go and held off Matt Kenseth on the final lap to win for car owner Jack Roush.
A FIRST FOR THE BIFF
Greg Biffle made his rookie season a memorable one when he registered his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in the July race at Daytona International Speedway in 2003. Making only his 23rd career start, Biffle played the fuel-mileage game to perfection while his closest pursuer, Bobby Labonte, ran out on the final lap. In a race that saw the last 81 laps go green, Biffle assumed the lead on lap 140 and held it for the final 21 laps. Jeff Burton finished second and Ricky Rudd third as Ford swept the top three spots.
FIRECRACKER GOES TO FIREBALL
When Daytona International Speedway hosted the very first Firecracker 400 in 1963, the first man across the finsh line was Fireball Roberts, who led a Ford Motor Co. sweep of the top five spots. Roberts passed Fred Lorenzen on the final lap to win the race with Marvin Panch third. All three of those drivers were in Fords while fourth-place finisher Darel Dieringer was in a Mercury. Ned Jarrett rounded out the top five in his Ford. This marked the fifth overall event in July for the speedway, which opened in 1959, but the first four were 250-mile features. The fans got their money’s worth on this day as the race featured 39 lead changes between six drivers, but the best was saved for the end as Roberts and Lorenzen waged a major battle that saw them exchange the lead four times in the final five laps before Roberts earned his third July win at Daytona.
JUNIOR AND CALE DOUBLE DOWN
Junior Johnson and Cale Yarborough hold the distinction of being the only two men who have won at Daytona International Speedway in a Ford as both driver AND owner. Johnson won a qualifying race at the speedway in 1965, but had on his owner’s hat when Lee Roy Yarbrough won twice in 1969 and Jimmy Spencer in 1994. Yarborough won the Firecracker 400 in 1967 as a driver and watched John Andretti take his Ford to victory lane in 1997.
FORD MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES JULY RACE WINNERS AT DAYTONA
1963 – Fireball Roberts
1965 – A.J. Foyt
1967 – Cale Yarborough
1969 – LeeRoy Yarbrough
1970 – Donnie Allison
1983 – Buddy Baker
1988 – Bill Elliott
1989 – Davey Allison
1991 – Bill Elliott
1994 – Jimmy Spencer
1997 – John Andretti
1999 – Dale Jarrett
2000 – Jeff Burton
2003 – Greg Biffle
2007 – Jamie McMurray
2011 – David Ragan
2014 – Aric Almirola
2016 – Brad Keselowski
2017 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
FORD NASCAR XFINITY SERIES WINNERS AT DAYTONA
1995 – Chad Little
2004 – Mike Wallace (2)
2015 – Ryan Reed (1)
2016 – Aric Almirola (2)
2017 – Ryan Reed (1)