Archive for January, 2020


Posted on: January 16th, 2020
Location: post

DEARBORN, MI – January 9, 2020 – No, Hailie Deegan conceded with a wide grin, she never expected that her competitive debut on the famous Daytona International Speedway high banks would come in a sports car.

But judging by the smiles and ease she showed Saturday afternoon speaking with reporters at Daytona between Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona practice sessions, she’s eager and mentally prepared for her IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race debut at the grand track on Jan. 24. The in-car skills and sports car initiation is coming together too, she said.

“I never thought I’d race a road course especially at Daytona, that was new for me,’’ Deegan said. “I always thought my first time at Daytona would be in an ARCA car but I’m happy to be here on the road course.’’

Deegan‘s ARCA Menards Series season debut at Daytona will follow the Rolex 24 race weekend and comes only weeks after the 18-year old Californian was formally introduced as a Ford Performance development driver. She will co-drive a Ford Mustang GT4 with NASCAR Xfinity Series frontrunner Chase Briscoe in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Daytona later this month.

In February, Deegan will compete in the season-opening ARCA Menards Series race that essentially opens Daytona Speedweeks – the green flag to a much-anticipated full season of stock car racing. All three of these young NASCAR stars say they are grateful for the chance to begin their season early, confident that the extra laps will only help their skillset.

“I’m really excited just to gain experience in these new cars,’’ Deegan said. “Just everything’s new. A fresh start. It’s waiting to get planned out, meeting new people, new faces, new relationships. I’m excited to grow the relationships in the Ford family and everyone that’s a part of it.

“One thing I haven’t really touched on in my career is road courses, pavement road course type stuff. Coming here and filling that base of what I’m missing as a driver as a hole is definitely going to help me be all around as a driver.

“I feel what makes a good driver is a driver that’s not just good at ovals or road courses they are good at everything and have that skill set. I think if I can just keep getting better skill sets to bring to my career, it will help even more.’’

Deegan To Make Official Ford Debut In Mustang GT4 Featuring Throwback Paint Scheme Honoring Lyn St. James’ Breakout 1985 IMSA Campaign

Posted on: January 22nd, 2020
Location: post

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – January 22, 2020 – When Hailie Deegan makes her official Ford Performance competition debut next week in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race at Daytona International Speedway, she’ll be doing it in a throwback paint scheme of a Ford IMSA star that helped pave the way for women in racing.

Ford Performance unveiled the paint scheme today for the No. 22 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 that will be driven by Deegan and co-driver Chase Briscoe in the four-hour event Friday, Jan. 24.   The red, white and blue paint scheme is a modern throwback to the Jack Roush-owned Mustang IMSA GTO car driven by Lyn St. James in her breakout season of 1985, when she captured three victories, including the first IMSA GT win by a woman driving solo.

“We’re certainly excited to have Hailie officially kick off her competition career with Ford,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance.  “She had a great test a couple weeks ago and the pairing with Chase is ideal since he was in her shoes as a sports car rookie just a couple of years back and the experience has made him a more complete racer.

“To have the two of them in a Mustang GT4 with a Lyn St. James throwback scheme is very appropriate.  Lyn was a pioneer for women in racing, a winner on the track and a great Ford spokesperson for many years, so this is a bit of a tribute to her and her contributions to our Ford sports car programs in the past.”

“I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this Mustang,” said Deegan. “My anticipation and excitement level was already sky high, making my debut for Ford in my first ever road race in IMSA, but now we add this cool throwback scheme honoring the only woman to win a major IMSA race solo and it is just that much cooler. I have a ton of respect and admiration for what Lyn St. James did to pave the road for racers like me. It will be really cool to drive a car inspired by her 1985 IMSA GTO Ford Mustang.”

“I think it is a really cool way that Ford Performance has chosen to honor its racing legacy,” said Chase Briscoe. “There have been a series of throwback schemes in different racing series by Ford and I just love the look of this one and the way it ties into Hailie being in the car with me and the success that Lyn had in this series with Mustang. I am excited to be a part of it.”

“I’m delighted that Ford is doing this throwback scheme,” said St. James.  “The whole goal of every race driver is to win races, and going into that 1985 season I was on the cusp of winning, and to get my first three IMSA wins that year really meant so much to me because they say that once you win once, the others follow, and that was true for me.

“I am certain Hailie and Chase felt the same way after winning their first stock car races.  You just want to win more.  Sports car racing may be different than what they normally do, but the mindset is the same.  I am excited to see them race and get to the winner’s circle.”

St. James captured six IMSA GTO wins in her career, all with Ford, including two GTO class wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  She also competed in Indy car, including seven starts at the Indianapolis 500.  She was a consumer advisor for Ford Motor Company from 1981-96, and has been a tireless ambassador for women in sports, especially auto racing.

The four-hour, multiclass MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race at Daytona starts at 1:00 pm ET on Friday, January 24. The event can be viewed in its entirety via live streaming – TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold domestically and at globally.

*Images courtesy of Ford Performance


Posted on: January 24th, 2020
Location: post

Ever thought about becoming a CNC programmer?

Life as a CNC programmer can be an exciting and rewarding path for those who love to create and have an eye for detail. This is a growing field filled with opportunities for those trained to work on complex CNC machines.

If you’re trying to determine whether or not CNC programming is the career for you, you’ve come to the right place. Follow along as we share some important information about this career—including job responsibilities, work environment, career outlook and more!

What is CNC Programming?

In basic terms, computer numerical control (CNC) programming is the process used to create program instructions for computers to control a CNC machine and tooling. CNC machines turn a digital file into a sequence of computer instructions, which are then sent to a motorized tool such as a mill, router, grinder or lathe. These tools cut and shape various material types with great precision, into a finished product.

What Industries Use CNC Machinery?

CNC machining plays an important role across a wide variety of industries. According to Todd English, VP of Business Development and Partner Relations for Roush Yates Engines, some core industries that utilize CNC machining include:

  • Automotive & Racing: CNC machining can be used to machine engine parts such as cylinder heads, valve train components, pulleys, brackets, automotive interior and exterior components, suspension components, fluid system components and much more.
  • Defense: Products used by the military must follow specific government regulations, which is where CNC machining, precision and consistency, comes into play. Defense parts are often used for aircraft components, missile components and communication components.
  • Medical: CNC machines are used to create customized parts for the medical industry, including MRI machines, orthotic devices, research equipment and medical instruments.
  • Aerospace: Parts made for the aerospace industry must meet the highest caliber of requirements. CNC machining is used to create several components of aircraft, such as engine components, electrical connectors, landing gear parts, sensors, seating and airframe components.
  • Power Generation: The power generation industry utilizes a wide variety of components that are created through the CNC machining process, such as cooling blades, inlet vanes, rotary support devices and much more.

The use of CNC machinery extends far beyond just these five industries. Others include oil and gas, industrial, electronics and even the marine industry. Many of the high-tech tools our world relies on today were created through the process of CNC machining, such as 3D printers.

What Does a CNC Programmer Do?

CNC machines are incredibly complex, which requires skilled professionals to work on them.

Essentially, the role of a CNC programmer is to take a print or model of a particular component and determine how to best optimize the machining of this component. The programmer must take into account many factors; such as what machine to use, the proper tooling to cut the part and more. The programmer will take the part and bring it into a CAM software and apply tool paths to generate a G-code, which is the specific language the machine communicates from.

Todd shares that typically, when a design engineer or company comes to them, the only thing the programmers have to go off of is a model or a print, and they have to determine how to machine it out of a raw material or from a raw casting. This is a very intricate process that requires great attention to detail and an in-depth knowledge of G-code, CAM software and CAD software, which is used for design work. The parts programmers work on must meet very specific standards, so even fractions of a millimeter count.

For Ricky Strader, CNC programmer for Roush Yates Engines and Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions, the most rewarding part of this career is being able to take a simple material and turn it into a complex part that is used by racecars, planes or even the military. Knowing he has played a role in this process brings him a great sense of accomplishment. “I take pride in what I do,” he shares.

Additionally, Ricky shares that there are many benefits that come with working in this industry, including the opportunity to make a lot of great connections. “In the end, it’s a really small industry when you look around,” he says. The community is full of experts you can build relationships with and learn from as a programmer.

When it comes to challenges, Ricky shares that working in the field can be demanding at times. Some parts are very tough to make, which can be difficult. “It’s a good challenge, but it can be demanding from a time standpoint. Sometimes, you have to put in more effort to figure out the process to make the parts,” Ricky says.

The technological advancements of this industry can also bring challenges. Everything changes so fast, so it’s important for programmers to stay immersed and keep their skills sharp. Otherwise, you can quickly fall behind.

Overall, the challenges that come with this industry are worth it, according to Ricky. “In the end, it’s rewarding to be able to step back and see the end product,” he says. The better your skills are, the more valuable you are to a company, which can lead to exciting opportunities.

CNC Programmer Job Description

  • The ability to understand blueprint readings, including GD&T symbols
  • Knowledge of tooling and different applications to apply
  • An understanding and familiarity with CNC machines, including how they work, special codes, machine limitations and the various settings you can change
  • The ability to look at a part, pre-process it and design workholding if necessary
  • Math skills
  • Documentation & technical writing: Ability to document the process so an operator can follow it
  • Experience working as an operator and a general knowledge of tooling, workholding and different types of machines and equipment
  • Several years of hands-on job training (preferably working on machines)

CNC Programmer Work Environment

The work environment of a CNC programmer can vary based on the specific industry they work in. However, most programmers spend a portion of their time in an office environment and some of their time on the machining floor, following their parts and proving out their process. Once this is complete, they may turn over the parts to production.

Ricky shares that on any given day, he may take a part, program it, and go out to set up the machine and run it. He spends some of his time in the office, but a good amount of his time is spent on the floor doing hands-on work. In addition to setting up and running the machines, he will oversee the process and inspect the first pieces to ensure everything is running smoothly.

The role of a CNC programmer is similar to that of a machinist, however a programmer will spend time doing their programming inside of a CAM software for complicated parts. Simple parts can be done at the machine, but most of the work a programmer does requires the use of software.

Documentation is a very important part of a programmer’s job. Ricky will always document his process with set-up sheets so the project can be passed on to someone else the next time. This allows Ricky to free up his time to focus on more complex projects.

CNC Programmer Job Outlook

One of the most exciting aspects of pursuing a career in the CNC industry is the job outlook. Currently, there is a skills gap, which has led to a high demand for machinists and programmers. “So much is made with CNC machines, and there are so many industries you can get into,” Ricky shares.

CNC machines are used around the world. This isn’t an area-specific job, so there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to location. Whether you want to take your skills to the west coast, east coast or even another country, there will most likely be opportunities available to you.

According to Todd, technical schools like Universal Technical Institute are doing a great job of providing a pipeline of students who are ready to go into the industry. Many of these students go on to gain real-world experience working as machinists, which can open the door to advancing to a programmer role.

Todd goes on to share that automation has become a buzzword in the CNC industry. While we are seeing more and more automation thanks to technology, machinists and programmers are still needed. This is one of the many reasons it’s so important for those working in the field to stay up to date with the latest technologies. “I think it’s going to become more and more technical in the years to come,” Todd says.

How to Become a CNC Programmer

For those interested in becoming a CNC programmer, Ricky suggests making connections with those experienced in the field and asking a lot of questions. He encourages aspiring programmers to ask “why” questions to really get an understanding of the process. “If you don’t ask, you won’t learn,” he says.

“Put yourself in a position where you’re working with people with the right skillset who can help you become a programmer,” Ricky continues. This industry is fast-paced, but he shares that he’s always willing to stop and help others, because he’s had a lot of people stop and help him over the years.

Becoming a programmer often requires a combination of training and on-the-job experience. A program like NASCAR Technical Institute’s CNC Machining Technology program can provide you with a foundation of knowledge you can build upon as you go into the industry. Using industry-preferred tools and technology, students learn to craft sophisticated performance parts and components from raw materials.

Created in cooperation with Roush Yates Engines, this program gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on training and high-tech skills needed to prepare for a career as a CNC machinist. In just 36 weeks, students learn everything from reading blueprints and interpreting geometric dimensioning and tolerancing to the programming, setup and of CNC lathes and mills.

“If there’s training you can take advantage of, take advantage of it. It shows initiative,” Ricky says. A successful career in this field requires going the extra mile, so always be willing to volunteer and help with projects when no one else is willing. Advancing to a programmer position requires hard work and oftentimes, years of experience working on the floor as a machinist. Becoming a programmer is a journey, but it’s worth it in the end!

Tips for Success

CNC programmers often share a similar set of traits, such as being detail-oriented, organized, creative and tech-savvy. According to Ricky, success in this industry requires an in-depth knowledge of tooling, machinery, applications and when to use what tool.

Additionally, it’s important to stay in the know about the many changes that take place in the industry. “Keeping up with the technology in your field is very important. There are always new ways of doing things that you have to be open to,” says Ricky.

Any successful CNC machinist or programmer will tell you that sitting back and relying on your training from when you first got hired isn’t enough. This industry is constantly evolving, so taking the initiative to continue to grow your knowledge and skills is essential. According to Todd, “CNC machines are constantly changing. We like to leverage CNC manufacturers and software companies and bring their expertise to work with our employees so we can always stay ahead of the curve.”

“If you don’t keep up with all of the new technologies, you won’t maximize your production. Everyone is looking to become more efficient at what we do,” Todd continues.

Ricky knows the importance of showing initiative firsthand. Throughout his career, he has taken advantage of every training opportunity possible. He took online courses to familiarize himself with CAM  software and tooling and fixture design, which set him apart and showed that he wanted to become a programmer. He encourages those interested in this industry to go the extra mile—whether this means staying late to watch a programmer do their job or taking on an extra project.

Interested in the CNC Industry?

Created in cooperation with Roush Yates, UTI’s 36-week CNC Machining Technology program teaches you everything from reading blueprints and interpreting geometric dimensioning and tolerancing to the programming, setup and operation of CNC lathes and mills. To learn more, visit our program page and request information today.

*Courtesy of Universal Technical Institute / NASCAR Tech


Posted on: January 30th, 2020
Location: post

MOORESVILLE, NC – January 30, 2020 – Edsel B. Ford II has crossed paths with many people during his lifetime, including celebrities, politicians and corporate heavyweights.  But when he is presented the Landmark Award during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction ceremony Friday night, he’ll be in front of a group he loves more than anything — the racing community.

“Racing has always been an important part of Ford Motor Company’s heritage, but it has been Edsel’s personal, lifelong passion that has been so instrumental in the success of NASCAR.  Whether he is interacting with the drivers, the teams, the racing community or our employees, he makes everyone feel like a member of the Ford family,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company.  “There is no one more deserving of this award and I am thrilled to see Edsel recognized for his dedication and contributions to NASCAR.”

For anyone who knows Edsel Ford it’s no great secret how much auto racing means to him.  Ever since going to the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the age of 17 with his father, former Ford Motor Company chairman and CEO Henry Ford II, and seeing Ford produce a 1-2-3 sweep in 1966, he has been infatuated with motorsports and the people who do it for a living.

That passion has been seen in a number of different ways and has had a direct impact on the sport.

“I don’t think people really realize how much Edsel has done for NASCAR,” said Eddie Wood, who has known Ford most of his adult life while helping run Wood Brothers Racing.  “I credit him with bringing the factories back into NASCAR because prior to the early eighties they weren’t in it.  The manufacturers dropped out in the seventies because of the energy crisis, but he brought Ford Motorsports back in 1982 with the new Thunderbird and that started a movement where the other OEM’s followed.

“Edsel was part of the reason this sport grew, and I don’t think we would be where we are today if that hadn’t happened,” continued Wood.  “He was the leader of it all because I think he believed in the ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’ philosophy and still does today.”

While his contributions to the sport as a whole have been notable, it’s what he’s done within Ford to bolster the company’s overall success in NASCAR that stands out most.

“It was Edsel’s idea to have my dad start his race team and to keep Dale Jarrett in the car after the accidents involving Davey (Allison) and Ernie (Irvan),” said Roush Yates Engines CEO Doug Yates, son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Robert Yates.  “And he was also the driving force behind the Ford Quality Care sponsorship that our team had from 1996-2000 with Dale and Robert Yates Racing.

“Having him sit at the head table with all of us to celebrate our championship in 1999 is my favorite banquet memory because without Edsel we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be able to accomplish those great things,” added Yates.  “The credit in large part goes to him.”

Doug Yates also cited Ford as an instrumental part in bringing Robert Yates and Jack Roush together in 2004 to form what is now known as Roush Yates Engines.  Since joining forces, the operation has produced 144 race wins and two championships in the NASCAR Cup Series, as well as a successful Ford sports car engine program that helped bring the company its Le Mans victory in 2016.

“That was a critical moment for our company, our family, and myself, but without his influence there may not be a Roush Yates,” said Doug Yates.  “I appreciate him for personally getting involved and all the things he did in laying the groundwork to make that become a reality.”

For Roush, it was nothing new to see Ford step in and exert his influence during that time because he had seen it happen many times before.

“When I started my road racing program he encouraged Lincoln-Mercury to use some of their marketing dollars to sponsor me and get me going,” recalled Roush, who rewarded that faith by winning manufacturers’ championships in 1984 and 1985 and eventually two dozen road racing championships in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) combined.  “He put down the seed corn to get us going, and I’m sure I would not have gotten involved in road racing in the eighties, with Zakspeed initially, had he not had his fingerprints on the throttle.”

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Ford has also served the sport as a member of the Board of Directors of International Speedway Corporation, which merged last fall with NASCAR, and has been Ford’s voting representative ever since the NASCAR Hall of Fame began inducting members in 2010.

“Over the course of Ford’s incredible history in NASCAR, Edsel has been our North Star, our ambassador,” said Jim Farley, president, New Businesses, Technology & Strategy, Ford Motor Company.  “He has never wavered for his support of the NASCAR family, fans, Ford engineers, drivers, officials, track owners and promoters. His contributions and passion for this iconic American sport has greatly influenced Ford’s commitment to performance on and off the track.”

But what makes Ford so endearing to those who travel 38 weekends a year isn’t the fact that he’s the great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, it’s his personable nature and genuine respect for what they do.

When he goes to the racetrack, you won’t find him walking through the garage area with a big entourage in tow.  Instead, you’ll see Ford going hauler to hauler engaging in conversation with drivers, crew chiefs, owners, and crew members.  In a sport where speed is the most important element of all, Ford is in no hurry when making his rounds because he enjoys just being one of the guys.

“He just fits in,” said Wood.  “I’ve noticed the last few years he’ll start on one end of the garage and as he makes his way around people will just stop him and want his autograph on pictures.  Just him being around with his heritage and the family legacy that he carries is one of the best things in the sport.”

And that feeling isn’t just reserved for those people with ties to the Blue Oval.  It’s industrywide and includes the likes of Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham.  Mention Ford’s name to them and they’ll immediately tell the story of how they knocked on his door in New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel at 4 a.m.

The duo was in the midst of their post-banquet celebration in 1997 after winning their second Cup Series championship and wanted to congratulate Ford on winning the manufacturers’ title, so they found out what room he was in and decided to pay him a visit.  After a minute or two of waiting anxiously in the hallway, they were delighted to see Ford not only open the door, but welcome them inside to share a few laughs.

“The love the NASCAR drivers – whether they be driving for Ford or someone else – have for Edsel is remarkable, said Joe Hinrichs, president, Automotive, Ford Motor Company.  “It is that knowledge and commitment to the sport that has served Ford and NASCAR well for several decades, and has earned him respect from the global racing community. There is no person more deserving than Edsel.”

Ford will become the sixth person to receive the Landmark Award, which recognizes someone on an annual basis for their contributions to the sport, joining Jim France, Jim Hunter, H. Clay Earles, Harold Brasington, and Anne Bledsoe France.

“He is a landmark, isn’t he?,” quipped Bill Elliott, a 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee who ranks second on the all-time Ford win list with 40 Cup Series victories.  “He deserves it.  He was around in the era we came up through, and I appreciate all he’s done for not only us, but the entire sport.”

Edsel Ford has had a front row seat for many of the great moments in Ford’s racing history and established lifelong friendships in the process.

“Edsel is just like family to us because he’s always there when you need him,” said Wood, who along with brother Len and sister Kim serve as co-owners of NASCAR’s longest active team.  “We talk often and we don’t always talk about racing.  We talk about kids and grandkids, and we just talk about life.  He’s helped us through a whole lot of tight spots or just things in our life or career that needed some guidance. He’s the godfather of Ford racing, but he’s also part of our family.”

After witnessing that historic 24 Hours of Le Mans victory in 1966, Ford followed along as the legendary trio of Carroll Shelby, Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt repeated that win and become the first — and to this day only – all-American team to win the famed endurance race in 1967.

Ford parlayed that experience into a summer job a few years later with Shelby that, among other things, involved using an acidic wash to magna flush car parts.  It wasn’t long after that he also met Roush for the first time.

“I was at the Winternationals in Pomona, California in 1973 or 1974 when I met Edsel and he was still a college student in Boston at the time,” recalled Roush, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last year.  “He has always been a proponent of using motorsports to market Ford Motor Company’s products to generate excitement for the company and he has helped create a lot of champions in various racing series.”

Ford spent time learning the finer points of road racing from NASCAR Hall of Famer and World War II hero Bud Moore, who spearheaded Ford’s dominance in the Trans-Am Series with Parnelli Jones in 1970.  He also followed and became a close friend to Sir Jackie Stewart, who won the Formula One World Championship for Ford three times (1969, 1971, 1973).  In fact, the two became so close that Stewart served as a groomsman in Ford’s wedding.

In more recent times, Ford was on top of the pit box for one of the most memorable wins in Daytona 500 history with NASCAR Hall of Famers Glenn and Leonard Wood in 2011, and celebrated on stage at Homestead-Miami Speedway when Joey Logano won the 2018 Cup Series championship.

He’s seen it all and has even done it all as his top speed of 206.6 miles per hour driving his personal Ford GT last year at the Sun Valley Road Rally can attest.

It’s safe to say that Ford won’t be going that fast when he walks across the stage to accept his award, but those in attendance will be quick to show their appreciation for what he’s meant to the sport all these years.

“Edsel is the heart and soul of Ford Motor Company in NASCAR,” said Yates.  “I know this award means a lot to him and it means a lot to everybody that’s been a part of the journey with him.”