Archive for April, 2020


Posted on: April 8th, 2020
Location: post

DEARBORN, MI – April 8, 2020 – It’s one of the questions that seems to come up every weekend as many Ford drivers make their way through various hospitality spots or question and answer sessions with NASCAR fans: What do you drive when you’re not racing?” As you might imagine, the answers run the gamut. But for Matt DiBenedetto, who is in his first year driving the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford for the Wood Brothers, there’s only one — Mustang.

“When I found out I had a choice of any vehicle this year it was an easy decision for me,” said DiBenedetto, who, along with his wife, Taylor, selected a 2020 Velocity Blue Mustang GT. “I love the new Mustang and since we don’t have kids it’s the kind of car that’s fun to drive, especially going back and forth to the race shop. That’s why I chose it.”

However, when you’re a self-professed car nut who likes to tinker and modify whatever you drive, choosing it is just the beginning.

“I like to modify my street cars and make them unique to me. This is my fourth Mustang and it’s a six-speed manual, so I couldn’t resist,” said DiBenedetto, who has a second-place finish at Las Vegas and sits ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after four races this season. “I put an aftermarket exhaust system on it, so it’s not very quiet. I don’t know if I was supposed to do that because it’s a company car, but I plan to buy it at the end of the year anyway, so I just went ahead and did it.”

DiBenedetto calls this need for modification a bad habit, but if that’s the case, he has plenty of good company. It all started when he was 15 years old and got a 2006 Mustang with a GT66 package for his first car — a six-cylinder with black and silver stripes. A couple of years later, it was a used 2006 Saleen S-281 Mustang that he modified with some exhaust work, smaller pulley, and dyno tuning.

“Nothing too crazy,” he said.

More recently, he had a 2017 Mustang GT350 that he altered by putting on headers, a full exhaust and short shifter.

“I’ve always known the ins and outs of my Mustangs and my passion has been modifying them,” said DiBenedetto, who also gets assistance from professionals like Anthony Ballard, whom he met at a car show and has now become a good friend. “We became friends just because of the strict fact he likes modifying Mustangs and I like modifying Mustangs, but we met through the car culture.

“All he does is build and tune Mustangs and does really super-cool cars,” DiBenedetto said of Ballard, who owns Signature Speed in Granite Falls, North Carolina. “His cars make crazy horsepower. He’s got a full-blown drag car that is a 2013 Mustang and he just has all kinds of fast stuff.”

And while many enthusiasts like to work on their Mustangs and hold on to them forever, DiBenedetto prefers to get on the road and drive them for the enjoyment of it before putting the ‘For Sale’ sign in the window.

“The winding roads are the most fun, especially when you’re driving a car that you have a passion for,” he said. “I look forward to the trip up to Bristol because it’s not too far from Hickory, so going up Highway 181 is a fun drive.”

DiBenedetto’s love for Mustang comes straight from his father, Tony, who had a number of them, including a Boss 429 that he spent countless hours working on.

“He had a passion for Mustangs when he was really young and passed that down to me because I share that from the old ones to the new ones,” said Matt. “I’ve always appreciated the history of Mustang, and now that I’m driving for the Wood Brothers, who have been with Ford for the last 70 years, it makes everything pretty neat.”

*Courtesy of Ford Performance


Posted on: April 14th, 2020
Location: post

DEARBORN, MI – April 14, 2020 – If you ask Ryan Blaney what his favorite weekend is during the NASCAR season, there’s a good chance he’ll say Darlington.  Why? Because that’s become the traditional time when the sport looks back to its roots and celebrates a specific era in history.

It’s called “Throwback Weekend” and nobody in the Cup garage is more throwback than the 26-year-old Blaney.

While driving for the Wood Brothers in 2017, the team celebrated at Darlington by going back to it’s all white shirt and pants with traditional red lettering.  Likewise, Blaney’s uniform, with a splash of blue on the right breast and red and blue striping down the left side, reflected the same look that David Pearson wore with the organization in the 1970’s.  Blaney liked the look so much that he continued wearing the uniform for Motorcraft-sponsored races throughout the rest of that season.

And that throwback mentality doesn’t just go for uniforms, as Blaney has taken to the internet to find vintage hats, t-shirts and, yes, even vehicles.

“The vehicles are a little bit tougher to find because you have to find the right one and it’s more money than buying a t-shirt,” said Blaney, whose current daily driver is an F-250.  “You’ve got to do a lot of research on them and make sure you test drive them. I’ll never buy anything that I can’t go drive myself. If it’s in California and I can’t go drive it, I don’t really want to pull the trigger because the last thing you want is to buy something and then when it gets to your house there’s all this stuff wrong with it.”

Blaney’s latest prize is a 1988 red and white striped F-150 with a four-speed manual transmission he found in the Charlotte area.  The seller had put on only 25,000 miles and taken good care of it before putting it up for sale online.

“I just got lucky that this one was right in Concord and I was just browsing around.  I wasn’t browsing around to buy anything, I just like to look around to see what’s out there and this caught my eye,” said Blaney.  “I’ve always enjoyed those mid to late-eighties Ford trucks. I love their simplicity and it just speaks to what I enjoyed as a kid and as I get older I appreciate those cars even more.”

One of the vehicles Blaney has grown particularly fond of is the Bronco, which is scheduled to be re-introduced to dealer showrooms later this year.

“I’m pumped,” said Blaney of the impending debut.  “I’ve been on everyone at Ford telling them, ‘Make sure I’m on the list, and my dad wants one too.’  I don’t know why the Bronco has always stood out to me. It’s just a unique truck, and I love they’re coming back with it. I’ve been counting down the days and months to when it comes out, and I think they’re gonna be great.”

That, however, won’t be the only Bronco in his personal stable because two years ago he found a 1985 model in Abingdon, VA, where the original owner had it for 33 years.  Blaney said he hoped to “keep it for another 33.”

“I appreciate the ones that have the original engine, original transmission.  If you’ve got to replace that stuff, you’ve got to replace that stuff. Everything has a life span, but you try to take the best care of it that you can,” said Blaney about what he looks for in a throwback vehicle.  “You want to buy it from someone who has taken great care of it. I really appreciate somebody who does that because I try to do the best I can taking care of mine, especially when it comes to something that has that much history and has been around for so long.

“Some guys like buying old cars and putting a big engine in there and things like that, but it’s just not really me.  I don’t really have a need for speed on the road,” continued Blaney. “I don’t really want a big monster motor and have a vintage car.  I’d just rather have them bone stock. You’ll have your troubles and issues that you have to fix from time to time, but that’s with anything.”

Earlier this year, his Ryan Blaney Family Foundation spearheaded a project in which a custom-built 1974 ‘Blaney Bronco’ was auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, AZ, for a Bronco-record $650,000.  All proceeds went to the Alzheimer’s Association.

So, while he anxiously looks toward the future, it’s always with at least one eye on the past.

“I can’t wait to park my brand new one next to my ’85,” Blaney said.  “That’s gonna be pretty cool.”

*Courtesy Ford Performance


Posted on: April 15th, 2020
Location: post

DEARBORN, MI – April 15, 2020 – NASCAR announced the 15 finalists for consideration as part of the 2021 Hall of Fame Induction Class on Tuesday.  Five of those men have Ford Motor Company ties, four of whom appear on the Modern-Era ballot and one on the Pioneer Ballot.

Those on the 10-member Modern Era ballot include Ricky Rudd, the sport’s Iron Man, who had 23 wins in more than 900 starts, including stints with Bud Moore, the Wood Brothers and as an owner/driver, and Neil Bonnett, who won nine times with Ford and the Wood Brothers during a four-year run from 1979-82.  First time nominees are former Roush Fenway drivers Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards.  Burton won 17 times in the Cup Series with Roush from 1996-2004 and added 16 more victories in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.  Edwards won the 2007 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship with Roush and Ford while combining to win 61 races in NASCAR’s top two series from 2004-2014.

The Pioneer Ballot is led by Ralph Moody, former co-owner of the Holman-Moody Ford factory team of the 1960’s that put the manufacturer on the NASCAR map.

Two members from the Modern-Era ballot and one from the Pioneer Ballot will be selected later this year as the NASCAR Hall of Fame goes from five annual inductees to three.


Jeff Burton became the first teammate of NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin when he joined owner Jack Roush in 1996 to form a two-car operation.  Burton won his first career Cup Series race in the inaugural event at Texas Motor Speedway in 1997 and went on to post 17 of his 21 career victories with the organization.

Burton, won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in 1999 and the Coca-Cola 600 in 2001, and had four consecutive seasons where he finished fifth or better in the final point standings.  He also holds the distinction of being the last driver to lead every lap in a Cup Series event when he led wire-to-wire at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2000.


Neil Bonnett won 18 times during a 20-year career with nine of those coming in Ford Motor Company products.  Each of those wins came during a four-year span driving for the Wood Brothers from 1979-82.  He won five times driving a Mercury in 1979 and 1980 before winning four more events behind the wheel of a Ford in 1981 and 1982.  During that time he won two of the sport’s biggest races, capturing the 1981 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and the 1982 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Bonnett won on every type of track NASCAR offered during his career, capturing one win each at the superspeedways of Daytona and Talladega while dominating tracks like Rockingham and Atlanta, where he won three times apiece.


Carl Edwards drove for Ford and Roush Fenway Racing from 2004-14 and ran full-time in the NASCAR Cup and XFINITY Series for seven of those seasons.  He sits third in the all-time Ford record book for most wins in NASCAR’s top three series combined with 67 (23 NCS, 38 NXS, 6 NGOTS), trailing only NASCAR Hall of Famers Mark Martin (89) and David Pearson (73).

Edwards won the 2007 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship and finished second in the 2011 Cup standings by virtue of a tiebreaker.  He became the first driver in history to register his first wins in the NASCAR Cup and XFINITY Series on the same weekend when he won both events at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 2005.  And he instantly became a fan favorite with his patented back flip, which he displayed after registering Mustang’s first NXS win in April 2011.


There may be drivers who have won more races, but when it comes to pure toughness it’s hard to put anyone above Ricky Rudd.  Whether it was putting tape over his eyelids after a harrowing crash at Daytona or surviving burns to his backside during a sweltering day at Martinsville, Rudd continually showed what made him a NASCAR staple from 1975-2007.

He set the sport’s all-time record for consecutive starts at 788 – starting every race from 1981-2005 – until Jeff Gordon broke it in 2015, and ranks second on NASCAR’s list for career starts with 906.  Rudd registered 23 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories and went to victory lane 15 times with Ford.  His biggest win undoubtedly came in the 1997 Brickyard 400 during a stretch where he filled the dual roles as owner and driver.  His success and consistency are also remembered by the fact he had a streak of at least one series triumph for 16 consecutive seasons (1983-98).


As one half of the famed Holman-Moody Ford factory-backed team of the 1960’s, Ralph Moody helped produce some of the most recognized names in the sport.  It’s the place where NASCAR Hall of Famers Robert Yates and Waddell Wilson honed their engine-building skills and where legendary drivers like Bobby Allison, Mario Andretti, Jim Clark, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Junior Johnson, Parnelli Jones, Fred Lorenzen, Benny Parsons, David Pearson, Fireball Roberts, Curtis Turner, Bobby Unser, Joe Weatherly, and Cale Yarborough took turns behind the wheel.

Moody was responsible for providing the engines that powered the fast Ford of Pearson to consecutive championships in 1968 and 1969 in what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.  Overall, the organization won 96 races and in 525 all-time starts finished in the top 5 a total of 284 times (54 percent).

*Courtesy of Ford Performance


Posted on: April 16th, 2020
Location: post
MOORESVILLE, NC – April 16, 2020 – Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions is proud to be working in collaboration with BioMedInnovations LLC and their partners Equilibar on the development and production of specialized ventilators to help address the mounting need for life-saving health care equipment.

BioMedInnovations (BMI) was founded in 2005 to commercialize a highly controllable, low flow, low pressure fluid technology primarily targeting organ transplantation, working on how to keep an organ “alive” outside the body and to assess organ health prior to implantation in a recipient. BMI has been engaged in research and development and recently received a small-business award from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center for assistance in pivoting toward commercialization of BMI’s fluid perfusion technology.

* Prototype SuppleVentTM ventilator
“In these last few weeks, we have looked for various ways to support our health care systems and country during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “Our talented employees are looking forward to working with BioMedInnovations and Equilibar to produce precision components and aid in the assembly of these high-tech SuppleVentTM ventilators.”

Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions (RYMS) is an 88,000 square foot climate-controlled facility that is AS9100 certified as well as ITAR and NIST registered. Our world-class CNC machining facility is equipped with premier CNC equipment that will provide the precision and versatility necessary to deliver quality components to BioMedInnovations and the medical industry.

RYMS has been working with BioMedInnovations and Equilibar for several weeks, optimizing production designs and materials to enable these components to serve as building blocks for this medical ventilator system. Our technical team also collaborated with Equilibar to produce rapid prototypes to assist in expediting the development process.
Located near Asheville, NC, Equilibar is an engineering and manufacturing company that specializes in fluid control technology for complex research and industrial applications. Its patented valves and back pressure regulators are uniquely well suited for aerospace, fuel cell testing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, catalysis research and other demanding markets.

The Roush Yates team continues to work closely with both companies to also develop and provide skilled resources to develop a high-tech assembly area for these devices. We hope that these efforts will help contribute to the ongoing global effort to increase the supply of life-saving devices.

For more information about our capabilities and how we can help you, please visit us at or contact us at 704.662.7165 or

About Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions:

Roush Yates Engines was formed in 2003 by Robert Yates, Jack Roush, and Doug Yates with the leadership of Ford Motor Company to create a world-class race engine company that would compete at the highest levels of the Motorsports Industry.

Out of the passion for power and performance excellence, Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions was formed.  Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions machines high performance engine components to support engine design, development, and production. Although rooted in motorsports and automotive industries, Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions has leveraged their passion for CNC manufacturing excellence into machining components for the aerospace, defense, medical, industrial, and automotive industries.

We have created a world-class facility, staffed by a diversified professional team from the aerospace, defense, motorsports, power generation, and industrial sectors from around the United States.

Our dedication to quality is exhibited by our commitment to AS9100 Rev D certification and ITAR registration standards.  This is paramount to our continued success and growth.


Posted on: April 21st, 2020
Location: post

DEARBORN, MI – April  21, 2020 – Maybe it was always destined that Kevin Harvick would one day end up driving a Mustang.

As a kid growing up in Bakersfield, CA, he would often go for rides with his aunt, who sported a 1960’s version that set the standard for what a muscle car is supposed to be.  Now, as driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, he gets to experience it like few others can.

His first on-track victory with Mustang came in 2018 when he won the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but when Ford brought the world’s best-selling sports coupe to the Cup Series last year, he found it even more to his liking with four wins and a spot in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

But that’s the only place you’ll see him driving a Mustang — at least for now.

With wife DeLana and children Keelan and Piper waiting for him at home, there are other more practical choices for the Harvick family.  And, like most parents who go through the sometimes-maddening exercise of switching out car seats between multiple vehicles, the final destination is the determining factor.

“I have an F-150 pickup and a Lincoln Navigator,” said Harvick when talking about what vehicles he drives most frequently around the house.  “It depends on the task at hand to be honest with you.  If we’re going to the go-kart track, it’ll be the pickup truck.  If we’re doing anything else on a daily basis, I’m gonna drive the Navigator.”

But whether it’s picking up Keelan at school or driving to the race shop, Harvick is no more immune to the construction delays and traffic tie-ups than the fans who cheer for him on Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons.  As a result, he does the same thing many of them do by utilizing technology to his advantage.

“I think the thing I use the most is the GPS because with Charlotte having all the traffic, no matter where you’re coming from or going to, it’s nice being able to use that and all the hands-free pieces built into the vehicle,” said Harvick.  “For me, I’m a do not disturb guy on my phone as I drive, so having all that stuff on the screen is pretty handy to stay in tune with life as you’re driving along and not get stuck in traffic.”

The fact Harvick would have an F-150 as one of his vehicles shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who remember him behind the wheel of the racing version in what was then the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1999.  Driving for Liberty Motorsports, owned by Jim Herrick and Brad Daugherty, Harvick started all 25 races in the No. 98 F-150 that season and posted three runner-up finishes while ending up 12th in the final point standings.

One of the trucks from that year has a special place in not only Harvick’s heart, but his personal collection of vintage race cars.

“That’s one of the cool pieces of my collection and was the last time I drove a Ford before we switched at SHR in 2017,” said Harvick of the truck nicknamed ‘Bully’.  “It was a truck that Butch Miller and Kenny Irwin drove before I got there.  We used it as a short track truck, and Butch actually won a race with it at Colorado National Speedway, so it has a lot of history.”

With his next Cup victory Harvick will become only the 14th driver to register 50 career wins in NASCAR’s top series and give him another Mustang moment as memorable as the one from his youth.

Not to mention some added company for Bully.

*Courtesy Ford Performance

Newman Cleared to Race

Posted on: April 28th, 2020
Location: post

MOORESVILLE, NC – April 27, 2020 – NASCAR officials gave driver Ryan Newman medical clearance Monday, officially opening the path to his return to the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford once the 2020 Cup Series season resumes.

Newman indicated in a Sunday interview on FOX that he is healthy following a crash while battling Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin for the lead on the final lap of the 2020 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in February. He spent less than two days in the hospital before his release, walking out of Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, with his daughters by his side.

The 42-year-old driver initially announced he was ready to return to competition during Sunday’s FOX Sports broadcast of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at virtual Talladega Superspeedway. The next necessary step came Monday with a one-sentence update from NASCAR: “Ryan Newman has been medically cleared to resume all racing activities.”

For drivers to receive clearance to return to racing after an injury, NASCAR relies on medical experts to decide when a driver may resume activity without restrictions, which he has now received.

“That’s the absolute plan, for sure,” Newman told FOX Sports when asked about his return. “I’m healthy. I’ve been blessed with another layer of this situation giving me more time to heal and look forward to being back in the seat, for sure.”



Posted on: April 28th, 2020
Location: post

MOORESVILLE, NC – April 28, 2020 – “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”

Those words from Henry Ford came in 1909 shortly after he decided the Ford Motor Company would only make the Model T, which was produced from 1908-1927 and became the most popular vehicle of the time with more than 15 million units sold.

Nobody can know for sure if Joey Logano and Mr. Ford would have agreed on every issue that faced the company during its formative years, but they would have definitely been on the same page with that specific statement.

All one needs to do is look at some of the cars Logano has accumulated in recent years to realize he has a love affair with the color.

“Everything I own is black.  I like black,” said Logano, who counts a 1924 Model T and 2017 Ford GT among the personal favorites in his growing collection.  “I guess I fell in love when I bought the Ford GT with the heritage scheme on it, the matte black exterior, silver stripe and the number on the door.  I kind of fell in love with that.”

He even went so far as to put the two Ford icons nose-to-nose in his driveway a couple of weeks ago as a way of showing to himself that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

“Driving them is obviously different, and so is the way they’re built with the technology and the geometry of looking at it, but you still have four tires and there’s still air in those tires,” reasoned Logano, who counts the F-350 Tremor as his preferred daily driver.  “Yeah, your suspension pieces are all different, but it still has a steering wheel, it’s still got a motor.  There’s just a lot of similarities that are still being used today even though the cars couldn’t be more different.”

To illustrate that point, he took wife Brittany and two-year-old son Hudson for a drive through their neighborhood, starting first with what Hudson calls the “T-ride”.

“We drive the Model T around like it’s a golf cart.  It puts a smile on everyone’s face and we love it,” said Logano, who gave the Godfather of Ford Performance, Edsel B. Ford II, a ride in it through the streets of Concord, NC, a few years ago.   “And then after that I was cleaning my GT and I was like, ‘I’ll take this around the neighborhood real quick’ and it was like, ‘Whoa.  Different worlds.’  But it was fun and it’s cool.

“People look at you funny when you’re trying to crank start your Model T.  You get some funny looks, but it’s fun for me,” continued Logano.  “I think the reason why I love it so much is that it’s challenging to drive.  If you drive a race car every day, driving a street car is really, really simple and boring – like really boring.  If you drive a GT around, it’s just tempting you to go to jail.  I still want a challenge, but I don’t want to go to jail, which makes the Model T the best car I have.”

It may be the best one, but it’s far from the only one.

For instance, he owns a 1961 Ford Econoline truck that he bought from a security guard at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  He restored it by lowering the height, painting the outside matte white and then trimming the dash, steering wheel and tires out in lime green.  The final touch was installing lime green shag carpet in the truck’s bed.

“I went camping with Hudson in our backyard the other night because I put a pop-up camper that’s all screened in on the back of it,” said Logano, who has two wins in four starts in the NASCAR Cup Series this season.  “We had a little TV and watched the Little Rascals in there, and we camped out at least until 11:40. That’s as far as we got, but it was fun.  That stuff is cool to me.”

Next, is a 1991 Foxbody Mustang that has everything Logano loves in a car, except for the color.

“It’s royal blue and it’s way too blue for me, but outside of that this car is amazing,” he said.  “It’s totally re-done.  It’s got a big old supercharger on it.  Honestly, it can give the GT a run for its money.  It’s a real car – roll cage, the whole nine yards.  It’s awesome.  Bang for the buck, that’s the best car I’ve got.”

And then he’s got his toys, like the Factory Five drift truck he helped build last year and the recently completed Mach 1, or Mach 22 as it was dubbed by Car Kings on Discovery Channel earlier this month, that have the same matte black paint scheme as his GT.

But when one project ends in Logano’s world another begins and, thanks to NASCAR on NBC reporter Rutledge Wood, it’s now sitting right in front of him.

“He’s been hounding me to buy this thing for two years.  For two years he’s been trying to sell this truck, and I finally got him down enough to where he just caved,” laughed Logano.  “So now I have this truck and it needs a lot of work, but I just think it would be cool going to a car show or something with it one day.”

What color does he plan on painting it?

Any color he wants.

*Courtesy Ford Performance