Archive for May, 2018

IMSA RACE DEBUT AT MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE

Posted on: May 1st, 2018
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MOORESVILLE, NC, May 1, 2018 – Ford Chip Ganassi Racing was happy to see Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule in 2018.

For one, the race is just hours away, instead of days from, the Indianapolis-based team. Secondly, each driver has a history at the tricky track.

Both Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs finished in podium position in Long Beach a little more than two weeks ago, with Hand and Müller finishing third in the No. 66 Ford GT while teammates Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook finished second in the No. 67 Ford GT. All four drivers have career wins at Mid-Ohio in various series.

Briscoe, who knows the track from his IndyCar days, says mental toughness as well as track knowledge will play into results on race day.

“With multi-class racing, that balance between aggression and patience will be key,” Briscoe said. “There are some pretty tight and twisty parts of the track that will make passing difficult.”

All four drivers have career wins at Mid-Ohio.

“I’m really, really looking forward to going back to Mid-Ohio,” Müller said. “We raced there for ALMS (The American Le Mans Series) both Joey (Hand) and myself and we had really good races there. It’s a challenging one. It’s a short, tricky track. I’m expecting cooler weather. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing is always very prepared and wants to be one step ahead of everyone, so we’ve already had one good test there. I can’t wait to get back. It’s a phenomenal place and always good for a good crowd. We’ll want to put on a good show.”

*Courtesy of Ford Performance and IMSA

FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP “SUPER SEASON” OPENER

Posted on: May 2nd, 2018
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MOORESVILLE, NC, May 2, 2018 – The first ever FIA World Endurance Championship “Super Season” gets underway this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. After completing an intensive winter test program, the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team is stronger than ever and ready for what is expected to be the most competitive GTE Pro class battle ever.

Michelin has produced a new tire for 2018, so much of the test program has focused on getting the most from the new rubber. Spa will be the first opportunity to see who has done the best job on that front.

“The Super Season is a huge task for the team as it contains two Le Mans 24 Hours and is spread over a long period so we have to make sure we stay focused the whole time,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsport. “We’re thrilled to have been invited to run four Ford GTs at Le Mans again this summer and we will do everything in our power to make sure all four GTs ‘Go Like Hell’. Our target is to win at Le Mans, both times and to win the championships in both WEC and IMSA. We’ve started well in IMSA where we are running first in the GTLM driver, team and manufacturer’s championships. We’re aiming high!”

Ford will face stiff competition from Ferrari, BMW, Aston Martin and Porsche during the WEC Super Season, with Corvette joining the fight at Le Mans. When the level of competition is as high as it is in GTE Pro you need a team of exceptional drivers, and Ford is delighted to retain Stefan Mücke (GER) and Olivier Pla (FRA) in the No. 66 Ford GT and Andy Priaulx (GB) and Harry Tincknell (GB) in the No. 67. Joining them for Spa and Le Mans are team regular Billy Johnson (US) in No. 66 and Indycar superstar Tony Kanaan (BRA) in the No. 67 Ford GT.

“I’m really looking forward to Spa and the start of the Super Season,” Mücke said. “We’re excited to start this special season that has two Le Mans 24 Hours in the schedule. We have new competition coming with new cars and a very big GTE Pro field for Le Mans. It’s going to be a tough season with tough racing but that’s exactly what we want. We know the Ford GT well now; every bolt and every detail. We’ve been very busy over the winter especially with tire testing and making sure every detail of the car is perfect. I think we are stronger than ever, better prepared than ever, and that’s why I think we have a very good chance this year.”

The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team has had a busy winter, running through a detailed test program to make sure everything is ready for Spa. This has included many pit stop drills for the team as the rules governing pit stops have been updated for 2018. Teams are now permitted to change tires at the same time as refueling the cars, which will make the stops faster and provide more excitement in the pits.

The 6 Hours of Spa gets underway on Saturday, May 5 at 7:30 AM ET on Velocity.

*Courtesy of Ford Performance 

FORD AND “THE MONSTER MILE”

Posted on: May 4th, 2018
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DOVER, DE, May 4, 2018 – Ford’s fast start continued last weekend as Joey Logano won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season, giving the Blue Oval a series-best five victories in 2018. This week’s stop is Dover International Speedway. Here’s a look at how Ford has fared at the Monster Mile though the years.

FORD IN THE MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES

  • Ford has 25 all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins at Dover.
  • The last win for Ford at Dover was by Matt Kenseth in 2011 (13 races ago).
  • Kurt Busch (2011), Brad Keselowski (2012) and Kevin Harvick (2015) all have one series victory at Dover, but not under the Blue Oval.
  • Richard Petty won the inaugural race at Dover while driving a Ford in 1969.

FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES

  • Ford has 11 NASCAR XFINITY Series wins at Dover.
  • The only season sweep for Ford came in 2011 when Carl Edwards won both events.
  • Mark Martin won Ford’s first series event at Dover in 1987.
  • Joey Logano won a series-record four straight Dover races from 2012-13.

CHASING ROUSH FENWAY

The last time Roush Fenway Racing finished 1-2-3 in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race was on Sept. 21, 2008 at Dover International Speedway when Greg Biffle edged Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards to the checkered flag. The three Jack Roush Fusions battled each other over the closing laps with Biffle making the decisive pass on the outside of leader Kenseth coming off turn four with only nine circuits remaining. The victory was Biffle’s second straight to open the 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after winning the opener at New Hampshire Motor Speedway the previous week.

WHEN JUNIE LOVED MAY

Dover proved to be magical for the late Junie Donlavey, who won the only Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of his career at Dover on May 17, 1981 in the Mason-Dixon 500 when driver Jody Ridley took the checkered flag.  Ridley had a good car that day, but it was even more reliable and that proved the difference. Neil Bonnett was the dominant driver as he led 404 of the first 459 laps, but he blew an engine that ended his day. Cale Yarborough appeared to be the main beneficiary as he inherited the lead, but the same fate befell him 20 laps from the finish and sent him to the garage. That left Ridley to assume the top spot and he held on from there to register his first and only Cup win. It also ended up being Donlavey’s only trip to victory lane. The Richmond native made 863 starts and fielded strictly Ford products from 1965-2002 in NASCAR’s top series that featured names like LeeRoy Yarbrough, Fred Lorenzen, Harry Gant, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader and Dick Trickle.

FROM 500 TO 400

In 1997 Ford swept both Dover events, but it’s remembered for historical reasons because when Ricky Rudd won the spring event on June 1, 1997 it marked the speedway’s final 500-mile event. Rudd took advantage of being in the right place at the right time after leader Ernie Irvan was involved in an accident with 29 laps remaining. Rudd took over the lead and held off Mark Martin over the final few laps to lead a Ford sweep of the top four spots. Martin bounced back a few months later by winning the fall event, which marked the inaugural 400-mile race at the track. That started a streak that saw him win three straight fall events at the Monster Mile.

FORD MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES DOVER WINNERS

1969 – Richard Petty

1978 – Bobby Allison (2)

1980 – Bobby Allison (1)

1981 – Jody Ridley and Neil Bonnett

1985 – Bill Elliott

1986 – Ricky Rudd (2)

1987 – Davey Allison and Ricky Rudd

1988 – Bill Elliott (Sweep)

1990 – Bill Elliott (2)

1994 – Rusty Wallace (Sweep)

1997 – Ricky Rudd and Mark Martin

1998 – Dale Jarrett and Mark Martin

1999 – Mark Martin (2)

2004 – Mark Martin (1)

2005 – Greg Biffle (1)

2006 – Matt Kenseth (1)

2007 – Carl Edwards (2)

2008 – Greg Biffle (2)

2011 – Matt Kenseth (1)

*Courtesy of Ford Performance & NASCAR Media

HARVICK WINS FOURTH MENCS RACE!

Posted on: May 7th, 2018
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STEWART-HAAS RACING GOES 1-2-5 IN DOVER
  

DOVER, DE – May 7, 2018 – Kevin Harvick took the No.4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion to Victory Lane for the fourth time this season. The horsepower of the Ford FR9 EFI engines powered five Fords in the top-10 on Sunday in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA 400 Drive for Autism.

“The first thing I’ve got to do is just thank everybody on my team — everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing, Roush Yates Engines, everybody from Ford for just continuing to put the effort that they put into these cars. Three cars (Stewart-Haas Racing) in the top five says a lot about where we are as a company. It was great to see those fans stick around for the finish, but it’s fun racing your teammate.”

“I would first like to say congratulations to Stewart-Haas (Racing) and Kevin Harvick,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “The way the race played out was a testament to all the hard work and dedication our teams have put into the Ford program this year. All the teams have been working hard to get everything we can out of the engines and cars. And to see the Fords running up front was a great sign that we are headed in the right direction.”
Harvick started from the front row and controlled the first part of the 400-lap race by leading 201 laps and sweeping Stage 1 and Stage 2. Overall the Ford Fusions led a total of 374 laps; Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski (108) and Joey Logano (1), along with SHR teammate Clint Bowyer (40), and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. from Roush Fenway Racing (24).

 

Clint Bowyer was leading the race before a brief rain delay caused a short red flag caution. After the caution, Harvick passed teammate Bowyer on Lap 338 of 400 and did not look back, crossing the start-finish line 7.450 seconds ahead of the Bowyer. SHR had three cars finish in the top-5, including the No. 41 of Kurt Busch in fifth.

In total five Fords finished in top-10; Harvick P1, Bowyer P2, Busch P5, Keselowski P6 and Ryan Blaney P8. With this weekend’s win Ford Performance has recorded the sixth points win of the 2018 season and leads the Manufacturer Points Standings by six points.

We will build on this momentum as we go night racing in Kansas this Saturday night. Reference the full 2018 schedule on www.roushyates.com.

14 CHAMPIONSHIPS – 326 WINS – 291 POLES!

 

*Photos courtesy of NASCAR Media and Ford Performance

FORD WINS MULTIPLE ROAD RACING PODIUMS

Posted on: May 7th, 2018
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FORD GT & FORD MUSTANG GT4 WIN

MOORESVILLE, NC – May 7, 2018 – The Ford road racing programs brought home multiple wins this past weekend from around the world. The No. 66 Ford GT won the FIA World Endurance Series Super Season opener in Belgium, while in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge Series, the Ford Mustang GT4s recorded a 1-2 podium finish in the Mid-Ohio 120.
“I’m very proud of what our team accomplished this weekend,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “To win both season openers in our Ford GT program and back-to-back races with the Ford Mustang (GT4) program is a testament of the hard work by our teams. The twin-turbo Ford EcoBoost V6 and Ford Mustang 5.2L V8 engines are true examples of how technology transfers between the race programs and Ford’s OE street cars. We will keep optimizing these engine packages to ensure we are ready for our competition.”
The two Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs started 1-2 on the GTE Pro grid after locking down the front row in Friday’s Qualifying session in the 6 Hours of Spa at the historic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. The No. 67 with combined lap times from Andy Priaulx (GBR) and Harry Tincknell (GBR) secured the pole position.

In a drama packed race, the No. 66 Ford GT, raced by Stefan Mücke (DEU), Olivier Pla (FRA) and Billy Johnson (USA) were able to convert their front row starting position into their first 2018 win. The team also took away the maximum championship points from the first race of the 2018-19 WEC Super Season over the weekend.

With one hour left in the race, Pla steadily reeled in the leader and after a timely restart he was on the attack. In the move of the race he passed the No. 91 Porsche through Eau Rouge and never looked back, building on his lead until he crossed the finish line to take the FCGR Ford GT to Victory Lane in the season opener.

“I knew on the last stint that I needed to pass the No. 91 Porsche quickly so I could then build up a safety gap so it was good to get it done,” said Pla. “It was a very difficult season for us last year; we had a lot of pace, but there was always something, some drama and bad luck that cost us the results. We are really happy today. My teammates did a perfect job all weekend and the car has been fantastic so I hope we can continue like this!”

“To be one of the development drivers of the Ford GT and to be able to race it is a huge honor,” said Johnson. To then win in that car brings the whole thing full circle and is a dream come true. I love driving with these guys and it’s great to have such a brilliant team – what a great start to the 2018/19 season!”

Next stop for the Ford GT drivers will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In the IMSA CTSC series, Kyle Marcelli, Nate Stacy in the No. 60 KohR Motosports/Roush Performance earned their second IMSA CTSC race win in a row, after winning the Mid-Ohio 120.
The No.8 Ford Mustang GT4 team of Chad McCumbee and Patrick Gallagher started from the pole position.
The excitement mounted as it came down to the last minutes of the race on Saturday. Marcelli (No. 60) drew in Gallagher (No. 8) and passed him with just over three minutes left in the race. Gallagher would fight back, but Marcelli held on, to cross the finish line with a gap of 0.286 seconds.
“I knew if I just didn’t make a mistake, that we had the pace to do it,” said Marcelli in Victory Lane. “Finally, with just a few minutes to go it looked like I could make the pass and I knew when I finally caught him, I had to make it right away. We went door-to-door in turn two and it was just really good racing. Two-for-two for Ford and Roush Performance and KohR. Our strategy was awesome as well. It was a bit risky. We came in early to make our final stop shorter and it paid off with track position.”

Ford Performance NASCAR driver Chase Briscoe made his third start of the year in the No. 15 Multimatic Ford Mustang GT4 and continues to get crucial experience. He and Scott Maxwell finished 22nd, after Ford Mustang GT4 teams AWA (P10), KohR Motorsports (P11) and VOLT Lighting (P16).

The Ford Mustangs will be back on the track at Watkins Glen in July.

14 CHAMPIONSHIPS – 328 WINS – 291 POLES!

*Photos courtesy of Ford Performance

AS9100 REV D CERTIFICATION ANNOUNCEMENT

Posted on: May 11th, 2018
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ROUSH YATES MANUFACTURING SOLUTIONS

 

MOORESVILLE, NC – May 11, 2018 Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions, a division of Roush Yates Engines is pleased to announce the achievement of ISO 9001:AS9100 Rev D certification.

“Achieving the AS9100 Rev D status is a great accomplishment for our company,” said Mary Ann Mauldwin, Chief Operating Officer of Roush Yates Engines. “This status uniquely separates us in the marketplace as one of a few companies to hold this level of certification at this particular time.”

The internationally recognized AS9100 Rev D Quality Management System standard enlarges the requirements of ISO 9001 to meet the rigorous demands of the automotive, aerospace, aviation and defense industries. This standard is strongly supported by the aerospace industry as its principal certification.

Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions originally achieved its AS9100 certification in 2016. This year, our team at RYMS has once again met the challenge of the rigorous AS9100 requirements and review to achieve a Rev D certification. This standard is one to which world-class suppliers are

measured and recognizes RYMS as a compliant, reliable and preferred supplier.

“I’m very proud of our team and what we have achieved,” said Bob Ucman, Vice President of Manufacturing at Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions. “Because of our employee’s dedication, we achieved the AS9100 Rev D status. The certification process is a difficult one and our team rose to the challenge. I’m again very proud of our team and their commitment to achieving this success. This certification will assist us in growing our business into new industries.”

This certification reflects Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions commitment to exceeding customer’s expectations and increasingly stringent requirements in the aerospace and defense industries.

KEVIN HARVICK’S 5th MENCS WIN IN 2018!

Posted on: May 14th, 2018
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KANSAS CITY, KS – May 14, 2018 – The “Closer”, Kevin Harvick closed out the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series KS Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway in Victory Lane for his fifth win of the 2018 season. Harvick’s talented driving skills and the durability of the Ford FR9 EFI engine powered the No. 4 to Stewart-Haas Racings’ sixth win of the season.
“I think this weekend shows really how good the race team is,” commented Harvick in Victory Lane. “Everything didn’t go exactly smooth and everybody just kept a good demeanor about things and kept calm and kept working through things. The same thing tonight. Everybody just kept working through trying to make the car better and we were able to wind up in Victory Lane. Those are the days that you just grind it out.”
“Congratulations to Kevin, Tony and Gene on the outstanding start to the 2018 season,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “It was another strong finish by the No. 4 team. Winning five out of the first 12 races is a milestone that we are all very proud to be a part of! Thanks to all the employees at Roush Yates Engines for their attention to detail that powers these wins. It has been a great start to the season with Ford Performance and we will build on this momentum for the rest of the season.”
After starting on pole and running in the top-10 most of the race, a late restart on lap 259 found Harvick positioned in the sixth spot. At the restart, he charged forward on the outside lane, with a set of four new tires to chase down the leaders and took over second place. On the next-to-the-last lap the “Closer” reeled in leader, Martin Truex Jr. to pass him and take the black-and-white checkered flag .390 seconds in front of Truex.
When asked about the Ford FR9 EFI engine Harvick remarked, “I think as you look at qualifying and you look at the year, the thing that I love about our engine shop, it’s built on racers. When you look at Doug Yates and everything that he and his family have built through the years, all they want to do is win. They just want to do whatever they have to do to try to win and that’s the mentality that usually you find in a race team. So, the engines are a lot of fun to have under the hood and have that mentality from the engine shop is special. So, it’s a lot of fun.”

In winning his second straight race in a row and his fifth in 12 starts this season, Harvick led 79 laps on his way to collecting his third win at Kansas Speedway, tying him for most ever at the 1.5-mile track and marking Ford’s 665th all-time win in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition.

The Ford Fusions ran strong all night long to lead a total of 149 laps. Ryan Blaney, another fast Ford ended the night in P37 after an incident with Kyle Larson, led 54 laps and won Stage 1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. from Roush Fenway Racing led 10 laps, while Team Penske driver Joey Logano led six.
The race saw 15 lead changes, seven cautions and five Fords in the top-10 at the end of a barn burner Saturday night. Harvick finished P1, Logano P3, Paul Menard P6 and Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kurt Bush P8 and Aric Almirola P9.

We will build on this momentum as we head to the home of NASCAR racing, Charlotte, NC for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race May 19th and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 27th. Reference the full 2018 schedule on Roush Yates Engines.

14 CHAMPIONSHIPS – 329 WINS – 292 POLES!
*Photos courtesy of NASCAR Media

ALL-STAR RACE WINNER KEVIN HARVICK!

Posted on: May 21st, 2018
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CONCORD, NC – May 21, 2018 – Kevin Harvick makes it three wins in three weeks, as he won the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race in Charlotte, NC. This win marked Harvick’s sixth overall win of the season, while Stewart-Haas Racing celebrated their 50th NASCAR overall victory.

“These guys built a really, really fast Jimmy John’s Ford,” Harvick said in Victory Lane. “I just have to say thank you to the aero department, the fab shop, all the guys in the engineering CFD side of things and a special thanks to the Roush Yates Engine department. They put a lot of effort, they love restrictor plate racing and we won!”

The revisions to the All-Star Race car package was the story of the night. For the first time ever in a featured All-Star Race the engines utilized a restrictor plate, similar to what is used on the superspeedways at Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway. In addition, a change to the car’s aerodynamics’ package was also made which all added up to tight, side-by-side racing all night.
“Congratulations to Kevin, Tony, Gene and the Stewart-Haas team on your 50th NASCAR win,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “I’m really proud of our team at Roush Yates Engines, Stewart-Haas and Ford Performance for all the hard work and attention to detail in building these fast Fords. One of the great things about racing is it’s a team sport and the entire Ford Performance team is really working together and finding ways to make the team better.”
After a late caution restart, the field was re-stacked with two laps to go, Ford Performance teammate Joey Logano lined up behind Harvick on the outside lane to lead the cars to the green flag. Logano hooked up with Harvick’s back bumper to give him a strong push to clear the No. 19 Daniel Suarez for the lead. It ultimately came down to a drag race at the finish, as Harvick crossed the finish line a mere .325 seconds ahead of Suarez.
The never quit mentality of Harvick paired with the performance of the Ford FR9 engine, powered the No. 4 Ford Fusion to a race high 36 laps and Stage 1 and Stage 3 wins on his way to Victory Lane. This was Harvick’s second time winning the marquee race in Charlotte.

Logano finished third with another strong race for the No. 22 followed by the duo from Roush Fenway Racing Stenhouse Jr. in 11th and pole winner Kenseth in 14th.

This momentum will carry the Ford Performance teams into the next points race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600 on May 27th at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

14 CHAMPIONSHIPS – 330 WINS – 293 POLES!
*Images courtesy of NASCAR Media

JACK ROUSH TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE 2019 NASCAR HALL OF FAME CLASS

Posted on: May 24th, 2018
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CONCORD, NC – May 24, 2018 – Jack Roush has been fielding NASCAR entries for the past 31 years, and during that time his teams have amassed a NASCAR record 325 victories, while covering over 1.78 million miles in NASCAR action and bringing home eight championships. Roush’s lifetime of achievement was rewarded Wednesday evening, when he was named a member of the 2019 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

In 1988 Roush ventured into the unknown territory of NASCAR racing, starting a single car team out of Liberty, N.C. His No. 6 Ford Thunderbird lasted only 19 laps in its Daytona 500 debut that year. Thirty years later, Roush stands amongst the greatest in the sport’s celebrated history. Roush has fielded over 5,908 entries in NASCAR competition, while leading over 67,421 laps.

Known as a leader in the garage for finding and developing talent, Roush has seen 19 different drivers win in NASCAR competition in his race cars – including nine in the Cup Series and six different drivers bring home NASCAR season championships. In addition, six different drivers have won 14 or more races in Roush’s Fords at the Cup level, with three of those drivers posting over 20 victories at NASCAR’s highest level. In total, 52 different drivers have piloted Roush’s Fords across NASCAR’s three major series.

Roush’s multi-car efficiency of scale model became one of the most successful in NASCAR history, with his organization placing an unprecedented five teams in the 2005 10-team ‘Chase’, after coming off back-to-back Cup Championships in 2003 and 2004. Roush has also been recognized as one of the premier leaders in the garage in driver development, with Roush Fenway having led drivers to 13 NASCAR Rookie of the Year Awards.

An engineer at heart, Roush has always employed a solutions-based approach, be it in competition, business or safety initiatives. He has been involved in numerous safety innovations, including the roof flaps designed to disrupt airflow and prevent cars from going airborne that now are standard equipment for all NASCAR racers.

Roush becomes the second person with Roush Fenway Racing ties to be inducted into NASCAR Hall of Fame. Mark Martin – the first driver to drive for Roush in NASCAR – was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.  Martin piloted Roush Fenway’s flagship No. 6 Ford from 1988 until 2006. During that time, he and Roush earned 35 Cup victories. At the end of his tenure at Roush Fenway, Martin held a record five prestigious IROC (International Race of Champions) Championships and a then-record 47 NASCAR XFINITY Series wins. For his career, Martin posted 96 career NASCAR victories, with the majority coming in Roush-owned equipment.

* Courtesy of Roush Fenway Racing

MARK RUSHBROOK HAS HIMSELF AND FORD PERFORMANCE MOTORSPORTS PROGRAM RUNNING IN HIGH GEAR

Posted on: May 25th, 2018
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MOORESVILLE, NC – May 25, 2018 – It’s Thursday morning when Mark Rushbrook’s voice comes over the speaker to begin a global conference call with members of his Ford Performance Motorsports team.

What makes this 8:30 a.m. meeting a bit different is that he’s not conducting it from a conference room or an office.  Instead, he’s riding in the passenger seat of a Ford Explorer that is motoring down Interstate 75 from Dearborn, Mich., to Sandusky, Ohio, for a visit with ThorSport Racing of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

It may not be a traditional way of staying up to speed with what’s going on in the world of motorsports, but when you work for an iconic brand that is a pioneer in the emerging field of mobility like Ford Motor Company, it’s business as usual.

As global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, Rushbrook is responsible for running all of the division’s motorsport efforts, which includes NASCAR, IMSA, NHRA, and Formula Drift in North America and FIA WEC, WRC, and Australia Supercars overseas.

“Ford is a global company and we need to operate our motorsports program just like we do the rest of the company,” said Rushbrook.  “The ability to share the same tools and processes across these different global racing series is part of what we need to be doing to be efficient and competitive.  Whether it’s for NASCAR, the Ford GT wherever it’s racing around the world, for WRC, or for Australia Supercars the same physics apply, so we can use the same tools and processes to be successful wherever we’re racing.”

Rushbrook, 51, joined Ford Performance in 2014 as an engineering manager for motorsports, a position he held until being promoted late last year to global director.

In that time, he has been part of a group that successfully relaunched the Ford GT into competition, winning the Le Mans 24 in 2016 on the 50th anniversary of its first victory in the prestigious endurance race.  In addition, he has played a key role in building the Ford Performance team that has grown from seven at the start to its current size of 43.

“That’s been a huge part of the last four years because everyone has been handpicked.  We didn’t just go out on the street and grab the first people that we saw, we’ve spent a lot of time picking the right people,” said Rushbrook, who cites the recent news that Mustang will be going to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Australia Supercars Championship next year, along with a new body for the NHRA Mello Yellow Funny Car, as an example of the multi-faceted projects his group tackles at any given moment.  “I’m very proud of the team in total and every single individual that is with us because they’re all very skilled, very talented and huge contributors.

“We’re looking for people with a very unique skill set that has the passion and attitude of being able to work together as a team,” continued Rushbrook.  “That determines our success, so that’s the most important thing I look for because there are a ton of people that may have the skill, the knowledge and the experience, but having that plus the right attitude and people skills is what makes a difference and that’s what we’ve been able to build into this team.”

Rushbrook’s tenure as director, which officially started on Dec. 1, 2017, got off to a solid start as the Ford GT rolled to a dominating victory in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, and an equally impressive victory in the FIA World Rally Championship event in Monte Carlo with the Ford Fiesta.  The checkered flags continued a couple of weeks later in NASCAR when Kevin Harvick took Mustang and Fusion to wins on consecutive days at Atlanta Motor Speedway, igniting a three-race winning streak.

“Mark provides all the advice that he can while maintaining the propriety and the secrets that’s expected of the teams with regard to the things that they’re racing with one another against,” said NASCAR team owner Jack Roush.  “He does a nice job there and hasn’t broken the faith and created trouble for himself by giving up something he shouldn’t, but by the same token he provides encouragement and provides resources.  He’s the contact back to the racing side of Ford Motor Company.”

About the only time you’ll find Rushbrook sitting or standing still is if he’s in a meeting or sifting through his hundreds of daily e-mails.  When he’s on the road it’s not uncommon for him to start the day with a 5 a.m. run through the streets of Geneva or pull out his bicycle and go for a 50-mile spin along the back roads of Richmond, Va.

“I keep swim goggles, swim jammers and running shoes in my bag wherever I’m going.  I haven’t gone global with my bikes yet, but I do keep a few stashed around the country because it’s important to me,” said Rushbrook, who prefers an early-morning routine regardless of his location.  “I feel a lot better when I’m able to get those workouts in because, otherwise, I don’t feel as energetic and feel like I’m able to do the things that I do.  But when you’re either swimming, biking, or running, you have the ability to really think things through, and I use that time to prioritize what I’m going to do that day, so it’s good for me physically and mentally.”

The fact Rushbrook is currently leading the motorsports department isn’t a surprise to those who knew his love for math, science and working on cars while growing up in Ligonier, Pa., a town of slightly more than 1,500 people located 50 miles east of Pittsburgh.  One of the few people who didn’t see it, however, was the man himself, who enrolled at Penn State and majored in mechanical engineering.

“In hindsight, it’s pretty obvious that this was the right career choice for me being in the automotive industry and eventually motorsports, but I was still trying to figure it out in college.  Maybe it was a case of not being able to add two and two together,” recalled Rushbrook.  “My parents were both British.  They had been born and raised in London and came over to the U.S., so we went to England all the time, but, for some reason, it felt like Michigan and Detroit was an entire world away when, in reality, it was only a five-hour drive from my house.”

It wasn’t until a recruiter for General Motors came on campus with a scholarship and internship opportunity that Rushbrook realized a potential career.

“I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” said Rushbrook.  “Even though it may have been obvious to somebody else, it wasn’t to me until that point.  I never went to a race in person through high school or even the first part of college, so what I saw on TV was just the driver and the on-track action.  I didn’t see the stuff in person with the full race team and all the support behind it, so it never really clicked until then, but I’m glad it did.”

Rushbrook graduated from PSU in 1989 and got his Master’s degree a year later at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  He gained his MBA from U-M in 1999 and started at Ford in June of that year in the product development leadership program.  He has worked in a number of different areas within the company, including a two-year stint as vehicle development manager for Mustang (2002-04) and five years as the North America vehicle dynamics manager (2005-10).

Prior to arriving in Ford Performance, Rushbrook served as the Noise and Vibration Harshness Manager for all North America programs.

One thing those positions had in common was that on most nights Rushbrook was able to go home and sleep in his own bed.  That’s not necessarily the case anymore, which means he now works harder at balancing time at home with wife, Cindy, and son, Evan.

“When I’m home it’s about being focused with my wife and my son because they’re incredibly important to me.  They’re very understanding,” said Rushbrook, who shares his experiences and stays connected on the road through technology.  “I sent a picture from Richmond while standing inside turn one and two, and my wife sent a reply back saying, ‘I love that you love what you do.’  To me, it’s great that she sees my passion for my job and that she supports me in everything that I do professionally.  That means a lot, so when I get home I need to show them my appreciation by being focused with them and on the life that we have.”

That might mean taking the family to Europe for a Premier League match-up featuring Evan’s favorite club, Arsenal.  Then again, it may be as simple as a nice, relaxing drive on a scenic two-lane highway with no meetings to conduct or races to run.

FORD PERFORMANCE IN 2018

NASCAR

  • Monster Energy Cup Series
  • Ford is off to its best start since 1997 with seven wins in the first 12 races
  • Stewart-Haas driver Kevin Harvick leads all competitors with five wins
  • Ford has seven drivers in the Top 10 of the series standings
  • Ford leads the manufacturer standings by 12 points

IMSA

  • Ford GT
  • Won the season-opening Rolex 24
  • Podium finishes in 3-of-4 starts this year (1-win, 2 runner-ups, 1 third-place)
  • Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook lead the point standings in the No. 67 Ford GT
  • Ford is second in the manufacturer standings, only one point out of the lead

Mustang GT4

  • Has won 2-of-3 events to start the season
  • Drivers Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy have won the last two races (Sebring and Mid-Ohio)
  • Ford leads the manufacturer standings by four points
  • Driver development program for young NASCAR stars Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Cole Custer and Ty Majeski

WRC

  • M-Sport Ford World Rally Team has three wins in six starts (Monte Carlo, Mexico and France)
  • Coming off a double podium finish at Portugal with Elfyn Evans (2nd) and Teemu Suninen (3rd)
  • Sebastien Ogier is second in the point standings after leading most of the season
  • Ford is second in the manufacturer standings

WEC

  • Won the season’s only event as drivers Olivier Pla, Billy Johnson and Stefan Mücke teamed up to win the 6 Hours of Spa
  • As a result, the No. 66 team leads the overall standings by seven points

*Courtesy Campbell Marketing & Communications for Ford Performance