Archive for the ‘2020 Press Releases’ Category

THIS WEEKEND AT PHOENIX RACEWAY

Posted on: March 4th, 2020
Location: post

PHOENIX, AZ – March 4, 2020

 

FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR AT PHOENIX 

NASCAR’s three-week western swing concludes at Phoenix Raceway, where the ARCA Menards Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Cup Series will be competing.  Ford has a combined 29 wins in NASCAR’s top two series and has swept the weekend five times (2000, 2001, 2005, 2010, 2018).  Here’s a look at Ford’s history at Phoenix.

FORD IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES AT PHOENIX

  • Ford has 16 series wins at Phoenix Raceway.
  • Alan Kulwicki won the first series race at Phoenix Raceway in 1988.
  • Current Ford drivers Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman have series wins.

FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT PHOENIX

  • Ford leads all manufacturers with 13 series wins at Phoenix Raceway.
  • Jack Roush is second for most owner wins in the series with eight.
  • Carl Edwards won four times in the series, most among Ford drivers.

FORD IN THE STANDINGS

Ford holds down two of the top three spots in all three of NASCAR’s top touring divisions going into this weekend.  Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano are first and second, respectively, in the NASCAR Cup Series while Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric are second and third in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.  The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will be off for a second consecutive week, meaning Johnny Sauter (second) and Ben Rhodes (third) hold their positions until returning to action in Atlanta.

HARVICK LOVES PHOENIX

Kevin Harvick holds the record with nine career NASCAR Cup Series wins at Phoenix Raceway with his latest coming in 2018.  That victory marks the last time Ford has been in Victory Lane at the one-mile track and for Harvick it represented his third straight series win, following triumphs in Atlanta and Las Vegas.  Harvick took the lead for good with 22 laps remaining, but had to hold off Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott in the closing laps.  The win was Harvick’s 40th as he became the first Cup driver to win three straight since Joey Logano swept the Round of 12 in the 2015 NASCAR playoffs.

LOGANO QUALIFIES FOR 2016 CHAMPIONSHIP FINALE

Joey Logano needed a victory at Phoenix in 2016 in order to assure he would be one of the four drivers eligible for the series championship, and he got it in dramatic fashion as he beat Kyle Busch on a green-white-checker finish.  The dramatic restart came about after an incident involving Alex Bowman, Busch and Matt Kenseth on the first overtime attempt.  Kenseth was the leader, but he got collected in an accident when Bowman tried to block Busch from passing on the inside lane going into turn one.  The resulting yellow enabled Logano to win for the third time in 2016.

EDWARDS ENDS DROUGHT

When Ford went to victory lane at Phoenix in the second race of 2013, it snapped a 70-race winless drought for Carl Edwards, whose previous victory came in Las Vegas in 2011.  Edwards led 122 of 312 laps, including the final 78, to win the, but there were anxious moments, particularly at the end when a green-white-checker finish had most of the leaders wondering if they had enough gas in the tank to reach the end.  Edwards did and managed to beat Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the finish line.

BUSCH WINS DEBUT NIGHT RACE

Kurt Busch made Phoenix Raceway history when he drove his No. 97 Irwin/Sharpie Ford Taurus to victory in the first NCS night race held at the track on Apr. 23, 2005.  Busch dominated from the start as he led 132 of the first 133 laps, and while others like Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip led multiple laps at different stages of the event, it was Busch who proved to be too strong down the stretch.  He passed Waltrip with 44 laps to go and was never threatened again as he won by 2.315 seconds.  Busch led 219 of the 312 laps as Phoenix hosted the first of two annual Cup dates each season for the first time.

KULWICKI WINS FIRST CUP RACE IN PHOENIX OPENER

Alan Kulwicki, driving the No. 7 Zerex Ford, won his first NASCAR Cup Series race in the debut event at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 6, 1988.  Kulwicki, who celebrated by taking a Polish Victory Lap for which he is still remembered for today, passed leader Ricky Rudd with 16 laps to go and ended up taking the checkered flag in his 85th start by 18 seconds over runner-up Terry Labonte.  Fellow Ford drivers Davey Allison and Bill Elliott finished third and fourth, respectively.  Kulwicki, who ended up leading four times for 41 laps in taking the next-to-last event of the season, went on to win four more Cup races during his career.

WALLACE RAINS IN 1998

Rusty Wallace had only three more chances to keep his streak of winning at least one race a season alive when he rolled into Phoenix Raceway in 1998.  He had gone to victory lane in each of the previous 12 seasons and didn’t want to see it come to an end, so that’s why what he did on Oct. 25 was so impressive.  Wallace, who started sixth, made a beeline to the front and pretty much stayed there all afternoon until rain came and halted the race after 257 laps.  The event was eventually called, marking the first rain-shortened race in the track’s NASCAR history, but there was no doubt Wallace deserved the win.  He led 196 of the 257 laps, including the final 73.  Wallace’s streak eventually reached 16 seasons before it was snapped in 2002.

FORD NASCAR CUP SERIES WINNERS AT PHOENIX RACEWAY

1988 – Alan Kulwicki

1989 – Bill Elliott

1991 – Davey Allison

1992 – Davey Allison

1993 – Mark Martin

1995 – Ricky Rudd

1997 – Dale Jarrett

1998 – Rusty Wallace

2000 – Jeff Burton

2001 – Jeff Burton

2002 – Matt Kenseth

2005 – Kurt Busch (1)

2010 – Carl Edwards (2)

2013 – Carl Edwards (1)

2016 – Joey Logano (2)

2018 – Kevin Harvick (1)

 

FORD NASCAR XFINITY SERIES WINNERS AT PHOENIX RACEWAY

2000 – Jeff Burton

2001 – Greg Biffle

2003 – Bobby Hamilton Jr.

2005 – Greg Biffle (1) and Carl Edwards (2)

2006 – Matt Kenseth (2)

2008 – Carl Edwards (2)

2009 – Greg Biffle (1) and Carl Edwards (2)

2010 – Carl Edwards (2)

2014 – Brad Keselowski (2)

2015 – Joey Logano (1)

2018 – Brad Keselowski (1)

All broadcast times are EST.

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series

Saturday, Mar. 7
2:35 P.M. Qualifying, on FS1, MRN

Sunday, Mar. 8 
3:30 P.M. FanShield 500, on FOX, MRN

***

NASCAR XFINITY Series 

Saturday, Mar. 7
1:05 P.M. Qualifying, on FS1
4:00 P.M. LS Tractor 200, on FS1, MRN

*Courtesy Ford Performance

Busch Clash to be run on Daytona Road Course in 2021

Posted on: March 6th, 2020
Location: post

MOORESVILLE, NC – March 6, 2020 – In a response to fans’ increased interest in road-course races, Daytona International Speedway announced Thursday that the Busch Clash At DAYTONA will move to the speedway’s 3.56-mile road course and be held under the lights on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 making the annual preseason NASCAR Cup Series event one of the most unique in all of motorsports.

The 2021 Busch Clash at DAYTONA, an exhibition-style event, will be held on the same course as the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA and the DAYTONA 200, North America’s premier races for sports cars and motorcycles, respectively. Road-course racing has always been a vital component on the speedway calendar, with the Rolex 24 first held in 1962 as a three-hour race called the Daytona Continental while the DAYTONA 200 moved off the old Daytona Beach-Road Course to the speedway in 1961.

“The famed road course at Daytona has a long and storied history with sports cars and motorcycles, and now we can write a new chapter on it with stock cars,” NASCAR Vice President of Racing Development Ben Kennedy said. “Fans coming to the track will get to see six consecutive days of exciting NASCAR action, with no two days being the same.”

In contrast to the tightly packed competition on the speedway’s famed 2.5-mile high-back-tri-oval, the re-imagined Busch Clash will utilize approximately three-quarters of the tri-oval along with the challenging infield portion of the road course. That translates into 12 turns instead of the usual four.

“Having driven on the road course at Daytona in the Rolex 24, I know how difficult the circuit can be,” said NASCAR Hall of Famer and current FOX NASCAR analyst Jeff Gordon. “It will present a real challenge to the drivers and teams, and I’m looking forward to calling what I believe will be a lot of action from the booth.”

That challenge entails the high-speed entrance into Turn 1, as drivers dive left off the front straight to begin the twists and turns the infield offers, including the east and west Horseshoe turns and the trick negotiation of the back stretch chicane prior to a climb back atop the bank in Turn 3.

“NASCAR fans have asked for more road-course competition and the industry is listening,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. “With the talent level the Busch Clash brings to the table, the race will now clearly have its own look and feel during DAYTONA Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth in 2021 and beyond.

“The new placement on the Speedweeks schedule also adds to the anticipation. That switch will make for a fuller Speedweeks calendar. Fans also will have the opportunity to engage in a festive infield atmosphere, similar to the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, with many prime viewing opportunities.”

The Busch Clash At DAYTONA was held for the 42nd consecutive time on Sunday, February 9, featuring NASCAR Cup Series pole winners and playoff participants from the previous season, former Busch Clash champions and former DAYTONA 500 champions and pole winners who competed full time in 2019.

“Busch Beer is excited to play an integral role in this historic shift for NASCAR and its fans,” said Nick Kelly, vice president partnerships, beer category and community, Anheuser-Busch. “Moving the Busch Clash to Daytona’s road course will differentiate the event from every other race during DAYTONA Speedweeks and drive even more attention to the first NASCAR Cup Series race of 2021.”

“We know how passionate our viewers are about both Daytona International Speedway and road course racing,” said Brad Zager, FOX Sports Executive Producer, EVP/Head of Production & Operations. “Additionally, fans have been craving mid-week races. These changes to the 2021 opening slate of races will provide new and unique story-telling opportunities when we kick off the season on FOX Sports.”

In addition to the changes to the Busch Clash, it was also announced the Lucas Oil 200 Driven By General Tire ARCA Menards Series season-opening race shifts to Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 as part of a doubleheader with the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, the NASCAR Racing Experience 300.

DAYTONA 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 10, to set the front row for the DAYTONA 500. The Bluegreen Vacations Duel at DAYTONA qualifying races will remain on Thursday night, Feb. 11, followed by the NextEra Energy 250 to open the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season on Friday night, Feb. 12.

Courtesy of Daytona International Speedway

TEAM PENSKE AND RYAN BLANEY AGREE TO CONTRACT EXTENSION

Posted on: March 7th, 2020
Location: post

MOORESVILLE, NC – March 6, 2020 – Team Penske announced today that it has signed Ryan Blaney to a multi-year extension, which will keep him an integral part of the organization for years to come.  The current NASCAR Cup Series points leader and driver of the No. 12 Ford Mustang has been a member of Team Penske since 2012. During that time, he has earned three Cup Series victories and qualified for the NASCAR Playoffs in each of his three full-time seasons in the Cup Series.

“Ryan is a true talent with a long runway ahead of him and we are excited to have him as a part of the future of Team Penske,” said Roger Penske. “Since joining our team, Ryan has developed into a championship caliber driver and his personality and engagement with fans has made him a terrific ambassador for NASCAR.  In addition, Ryan has done a great job of working with our partners to support their activation and investment throughout each year. I am looking forward to even more success together.”

One of NASCAR’s rising stars, Blaney first joined Team Penske as a talented 18-year-old, competing in select NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) races for the team. He earned his first victory for Team Penske with an NXS win at Kentucky in 2013.  He then captured his first Cup Series victory driving for the Wood Brothers in 2017 at Pocono Raceway before joining Team Penske as a full-time Cup Series competitor in 2018.  The now 26-year-old Blaney has generated a combined nine wins and seven poles since joining the organization in 2012.

“I’ve always said, it’s been a lifelong dream to be able to drive a racecar for Roger Penske,” said Blaney. “I am proud of what we have accomplished with the No. 12 Team Penske Ford and our ability to represent great brands like Menards, Advance Auto Parts, DEX Imaging and BODYARMOR. It’s really exciting to know I will continue to drive for this organization in 2021 and beyond. I am fortunate to be surrounded by extremely talented people throughout the organization and have no doubt we will continue to compete for wins and championships well into the future.”

Through the first three races of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, Blaney leads the Cup Series point standings and has found himself in contention to be in a position to win in each event – which included a second-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500.  He also leads the series with a 6.3-average running positio

*Courtesy Ford Performance

FORD PERFORMANCE WINS WITH A 1-2 FINISH AT PHOENIX

Posted on: March 9th, 2020
Location: post
AVONDALE, AZ – March 9, 2020 – Ford Performance wins at Phoenix Raceway with Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick coming in first and second. Logano drove the Team Penske Pennzoil Mustang to Team Penske’s 122nd NASCAR Cup Series race win while recording a milestone 200th win for the Ford FR9 engine, since it’s racing debut in 2009 with Ford Performance and Roush Yates Engines.
“Congratulations to Joey, Paul, Roger, and the No. 22 crew,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “Anytime a Ford wins is special, but today is even sweeter, winning our 200th with Ford Performance and the Ford FR9 engine. I’m so proud of our team at our shops, they put their hearts and souls into these engines. We are thankful to everyone at Ford Performance for their commitment and partnership as well as our Ford Performance racing teams.”
After several late-race cautions, it came down to an over-time, two-lap shootout between Ford Performance teammates, Logano and Harvick. Logano, in the P1 position, lined up on the inside of Harvick. Logano had a great restart and was able to take the lead over Harvick and control the race, holding the No. 4 off, taking the white flag .276 seconds ahead of Harvick.
“We learned that this No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford team is just stout and is not going to get beat if we have the opportunity,” commented Logano in Victory Lane. “We tried everything we could to regain our track position and get control back of the race. I knew that last restart was going to be crazy. I have to thank my partners, Moneyline, Auto Trader, AAA, Ford, Coca‑Cola, Snap‑on, everybody that helps this program at Team Penske. Roush Yates motors {Engines}. It was cool to see two Fords on the front row at the end of a race like that. This is a motor racetrack as much as we don’t think it is. Proud of the team effort today.”
The Ford teams led a combined 210 laps out of the 316-lap race. The Stage 2 winner, Brad Keselowski led for a total of 82 laps while the Stage 1 winner, Harvick led 67 laps. They were followed by race winner, Logano with 60 and Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher with one lap.
Five Ford Mustangs finished in the top-10, led by Logano, winning his 25th NASCAR Cup Series race, Harvick in P2 with Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Clint Bowyer in P5, Aric Almirola P8, and NASCAR Cup Series newcomer Cole Custer in P9.

Ford has won two of the first four Cup races of the 2020 season. The Ford teams will take this momentum into Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Reference the full 2020 schedule on Roushyates.com.

27 CHAMPIONSHIPS – 382 WINS – 357 POLES!
 

*Photography courtesy of NASCAR Media & Ford Performance

NXS FORD MUSTANGS FINISH TOP-10 AT PHOENIX

Posted on: March 9th, 2020
Location: post

AVONDALE, AZ –  March 9, 2020 – Brad Keselowski drove himself through the field late in Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Phoenix Raceway, finishing fourth to lead Ford.

Team Penske teammate Austin Cindric was eighth and Chase Briscoe finished sixth to put all three Mustangs inside the top-10.

All three Ford drivers dealt with issues that forced them to work their way back into the top-10 late.

Keselowski recovered from an off-sequence pit stop and a brush with the outside wall. Briscoe recovered from a pit road miscommunication and Cindric with late race contact from Ross Chastain.

The NASCAR XFINITY Series continues next Saturday afternoon with the EchoPark 250 from Atlanta Motor Speedway. Green flag coverage begins at 4 pm (ET) on FS1.

FORD FINISHING ORDER
4th – Brad Keselowski
6th – Chase Briscoe
8th – Austin Cindric

BRAD KESELOWSKi, No. 12 XPEL Ford Mustang — Finished 4th
“We started off and we were really tight. We made some adjustments and got to that next to last restart and got wrecked. Recovered from that and drove through the field. I think we would have had a shot to win if we didn’t have to come from so far behind. The team on the XPEL Ford worked pretty hard and got us in position there at the end. We gave it our all. I gave it all I had, it just wasn’t enough.”

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang — Finished 6th
“I think we were definitely better than a sixth place race car. We just had a miscommunication when the whole field pitted. My crew chief told me to do what the 7 and the 9 do but the 9 pitted and the 7 stayed out, so I stayed out. Then we were at a disadvantage tire wise. I restarted last and was able to drive to sixth. Overall, it is a good learning weekend for November.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang — Finished 8th

 

*Courtesy Ford Performance

FORD HISTORY AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Posted on: March 10th, 2020
Location: post

HAMPTON, GA – March 10, 2020 – This weekend the NASCAR series shifts to Atlanta Motor Speedway, where the Blue Oval has won three straight Cup events, defending winner Brad Keselowski also won in 2017 and Kevin Harvick 2018 winner.

 FORD IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES AT AMS

  • Ford has 33 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins at AMS.
  • NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen won the Atlanta 500 three straight years (1962-64).
  • Brad Keselowski (2017/2019) and Kevin Harvick (2018) have Ford wins at the track.
  • Georgia native Bill Elliott is Ford’s all-time leader at AMS with five wins.
  • The Wood Brothers rank second with 12 series wins at AMS.

 FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT AMS

  • Ford has 10 NASCAR XFINITY Series wins at AMS, all but two by Roush Fenway Racing.
  • Kevin Harvick is the defending champion of this event.
  • Jeff Gordon won his first series race, and the first one ever held at AMS, with Ford in 1992.
  • Harvick leads all drivers with five series wins.
  • Mark Martin has the most Ford wins with three while Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards have two each.

 FORD IN THE GANDER RV & OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT AMS

  • Ford is still looking for its first series win at AMS.
  • Matt Crafton has one win (2015) and leads all drivers with 10 career Top-10 finishes.
  • Ford has 100 all-time series victories.

 KESELOWSKI GETS FIRST CUP WIN FOR MUSTANG

Brad Keselowski gave Mustang its first NASCAR Cup Series victory as he held off Martin Truex Jr. at the finish to win last year’s Folds of Honor 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Keselowski, who was battling an illness all weekend and had Austin Cindric standing by in case he needed relief, led the final 33 laps to post his 28th career victory.  In all, Ford led 177 of the 325 laps and won for the third straight year at the 1.5-mile track.

HARVICK DOMINATES

Kevin Harvick led eight times for a race-high 181 laps in winning the Fold’s of Honor 500 in 2018 and completing a sweep of the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY races.  After winning all three stages the day before in his Ford Mustang, Harvick took the first stage in the Cup race and then led the final 25 laps to post his 38th career victory and third with Ford.  Brad Keselowski finished second and Clint Bowyer third to give Ford a 1-2-3 sweep.  Ford dominated from start to finish as four drivers combined to lead 272-of-325 laps.  Harvick became the first Ford driver to sweep a Cup/XFINITY weekend since Joey Logano did it in 2015 at Watkins Glen International.

KESELOWSKI CAPITALIZES

Brad Keselowski took advantage of a pit road speeding penalty by Kevin Harvick to pull away from the field in the final 14 laps to win the Folds of Honor 400 in 2017 and snap a 10-race Ford Performance draught in the NASCAR Cup Series.  The win was Keselowski’s first at AMS, but it didn’t look likely because Harvick dominated the afternoon, winning the first two stages in convincing fashion.  He appeared headed to victory, but on his final stop he was hit with a speeding penalty on pit road and didn’t have enough time to recover.  That proved to be a major storyline on the day as NASCAR handed out a total of 11 speeding penalties.

EDWARDS DOES BACKFLIP FOR THIRD TIME

When Carl Edwards beat Jimmie Johnson to the finish line by 2.684 seconds in 2008, it marked his third at the track and first since sweeping both events in 2005.  In addition, it moved Edwards up two spots into second-place in the point standings, but he was still a distant 183 points behind Johnson with only three races to go.  Edwards eventually finished runner-up in the Chase that season by 69 points.

SNOW DAYS

Morgan Shepherd capturing Ford’s 400th series victory in 1993 when snow delayed the Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 for nearly a week.  The original race date was Sunday, March 14, 1992, but a blizzard that would eventually be called the ‘Storm of the Century’ pounded the Atlanta area with 6-8 inches of snow.  An estimated 82,000 fans came back the following Saturday, where they were greeted by souvenir rigs that sports t-shirts proclaiming ‘I Survived the Atlanta Blizzard 500.’  When the race started Mark Martin had the dominant car as he led 140 of the first 225 laps, but engine problems put him out of the running and Shepherd took advantage as he stretched his fuel mileage to the finish, leading the final 12 laps and winning by a whopping 23.50 seconds.  The win for Shepherd, who was 51 at the time, was his fourth and final victory in the NASCAR Cup Series.

SWEEP DREAMS

Marvin Panch was the first driver to sweep both AMS races in a single season when he did it in 1965 with the Wood Brothers.  Georgia native Bill Elliott posted a pair of season sweeps (1985 and 1992) and won five times overall while Carl Edwards registered the first win of his career at the speedway in 2005 and matched it later that fall.

LORENZEN LAPS THE FIELD

Ford went to victory lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time in 1961 when NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen captured the Festival 250 on July 9 while driving for Holman-Moody.  He did it in dominating fashion as well by lapping the field.  Lorenzen, who led 52 laps on the day, beat runner-up Bob Welborn by one lap in his 1961 Ford.  Richard Petty finished third that afternoon, but was three laps down.  That victory served as a springboard for Lorenzen’s future success at AMS, which included becoming the first driver to win the Atlanta 500 three straight years (1962-63-64).

FORD’S ATLANTA CUP WINNERS

1961 – Fred Lorenzen

1962 – Fred Lorenzen

1963 – Fred Lorenzen

1964 – Fred Lorenzen and Ned Jarrett

1965 – Marvin Panch (sweep)

1967 – Cale Yarborough and Dick Hutcherson

1968 – LeeRoy Yarbrough

1969 – LeeRoy Yarbrough

1975 – Buddy Baker

1978 – Bobby Allison

1981 – Neil Bonnett

1985 – Bill Elliott (sweep)

1987 – Ricky Rudd and Bill Elliott

1990 – Morgan Shepherd

1991 – Mark Martin

1992 – Bill Elliott (sweep)

1993 – Morgan Shepherd

1994 – Ernie Irvan and Mark Martin

1997 – Dale Jarrett

2002 – Kurt Busch

2005 – Carl Edwards (sweep)

2008 – Carl Edwards

2017 – Brad Keselowski

2018 – Kevin Harvick

2019 – Brad Keselowski

FORD’S ATLANTA XFINITY WINNERS

1992 – Jeff Gordon

1997 – Mark Martin

1998 – Mark Martin

2000 – Mark Martin

2004 – Matt Kenseth

2005 – Carl Edwards

2008 – Matt Kenseth

2011 – Carl Edwards

2012 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

2018 – Kevin Harvick

Sunday, Mar. 15 – NASCAR CUP SERIES
2:00 P.M. Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on FOX, PRN

Saturday, Mar. 14 – NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
4:00 P.M. EchoPark 250 on FS1, PRN

*Courtesy of Ford Performance and NASCAR Media

NEWMAN’S FIRST INTERVIEW WITH THE TODAY SHOW, SINCE DAYTONA

Posted on: March 11th, 2020
Location: post

March 11, 2020Ryan Newman said Wednesday morning that he’s “thankful for so many people” as well as the safety enhancements made during his time in NASCAR as he recovers from his last-lap wreck in the season-opening Daytona 500.

Newman’s appearance on NBC’s TODAY show in New York City marked his first sit-down interview since suffering serious injuries Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway. The 42-year-old driver briefly answered questions on his way through the garage last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

“It’s still humbling to watch (the wreck) and know that I am sitting here without a headache, which is amazing,” Newman said Wednesday. “It’s just a miracle on so many levels. I’m thankful for so many people for prayers, and for all the things that went into me being safer in that situation. … The angels aligned and held a really good grip.”

“It’s not just me,” Newman added when asked about his personal commitment to safety over the years. “There’s a whole group at NASCAR that’s done a great job, from the tracks to the safety personnel, the drivers inside the cars, the cockpits, the containment seats that we have. There are so many levels of things that happened in the last 20 years that I’ve been part of the sport that helped me be able to sit here today.”

Newman was starting his 19th full-time season in NASCAR’s top division at the time of his crash. He spent less than two days in the hospital before his release, walking out of Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach with his daughters by his side.

Newman has missed the last three NASCAR Cup Series races and was not on the initial entry list for this Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM). Xfinity Series regular Ross Chastain is currently scheduled to drive the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver said Wednesday that he’s been diagnosed with a bruised brain and was unconscious in his car for a period after the wreck. While his timetable to return to the track remains uncertain, Newman reiterated he hopes to return as soon as he is cleared.

“I love it,” Newman said of his desire to race. “It’s been a little bit painful to be out of the race car and to not be doing what I’ve done for so many years. I’ve been racing since I was 4, 4-and-a-half years old. It’s just kind of who I am.”

*Courtesy Roush Fenway Racing & NASCAR

TONY STEWART ‘FREE WHEELING’ WITH FREE TIME

Posted on: March 19th, 2020
Location: post

KANNAPOLIS, NC – March 19, 2020 – Born in 1971, Tony Stewart grew up in a robust era of car culture, where manufacturers catered directly to the consumer with unabashedly loud graphics splashed across premium versions of its cars and trucks.

One of the most prominent and iconic graphics packages came from Ford, and it’s one that caught the eye of NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart when he was an 8-year-old racing go-karts in and around his hometown of Columbus, Indiana.

Ford’s Free Wheeling package featured a bright, kaleidoscope color palate that oozed 70s-era swagger. The limited-edition run was available on the F-100, F-150, Bronco, Econoline van and Courier, and even the Pinto Cruising Wagon. But the Free Wheeling version that resonated the most with Stewart was the one on a black Ford Bronco.

“Every year when we went down to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, I would join Edsel Ford and on race morning and we’d judge the Mustang show,” said Stewart, the three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion who co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas. “This past year they had a bunch of Ford Broncos there too, and that got me thinking about those Broncos with those cool graphics packages I remember seeing back when I was still racing go-karts. I started looking around on the internet and when I finally found it, I knew I had to have it.”

It is a 1979 Ford Bronco Ranger XLT. The year prior, the Bronco migrated to the F-series chassis, giving it full-size proportions. The big, tall sides and wide hood provided the ideal canvas for those vivid stripes that signified the Free Wheeling edition. The Bronco, in particular, amplified those bright graphics with blacked-out bumpers and mirrors. And the sharp looks were more than skin deep, as the Bronco came with a rumbling, 400 cubic-inch V8 that made its presence known even while sitting idle as it rode on quad, heavy-duty shocks and big, 15-by-8-inch wheels. It was this look that Ford featured prominently in its ads, and has since become a cult classic.

“It looks badass,” Stewart said, “but it’s also pretty simple, especially under the hood. I can work on it, and that’s the fun part. There’s an Advance Auto Parts not far down the road from where I went to high school. I can pick up a case of Mobil 1 synthetic, a filter, and do the oil change myself. I can work on it and tinker with it and, you know, I’ve got plenty of time now.”

Stewart, like the rest of the sporting world, is sidelined due to the coronavirus outbreak. Even after retiring as a fulltime NASCAR driver at the end of the 2016 season, the Hoosier has filled his schedule with nearly 100 sprint car races a year. He’s won 23 of those races across a variety of series since his last NASCAR race at Homestead on Nov. 20, 2016. But not being tied to a schedule for the first time in seemingly forever has provided a glimpse of what resides outside a racetrack.

“The rear roof of the Bronco comes off and, honestly, once the weather gets nice, it’ll probably stay off,” Stewart said. “It’s got captain’s chairs up front, but a big bench seat in the back, and with the roof off, that’ll be awesome. I’ve always thought being able to remove the roof was the coolest thing about these Broncos, and now I’ll get to actually enjoy it.”

As much as Stewart relishes his retro Bronco, he’s acutely aware that a new-generation Bronco is getting ready to debut.

“I’m really looking forward to what the new Bronco will look like,” Stewart said. “We kind of got an idea of what it’ll look like when it ran in the Baja 1000 late last year, but that was more of a prototype than anything. I want to see the real deal.”

Would Stewart like to see that real deal with some retro Free Wheeling stripes?

“I’m sure my ’79 Bronco would make a really good big brother,” Stewart said. “Seeing the new one decked out in black with those retro stripes, it would fit right in.”

*Courtesy Ford Performance

IMSA Announces Updates to 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Schedules

Posted on: March 25th, 2020
Location: post

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – March 24, 2020 – The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) today announced schedule updates for three 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge events.

  • The Acura Sports Car Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio has been moved to the weekend of Sept. 25-27, 2020. It was originally scheduled for the weekend of May 1-3.
  • The IMSA Monterey SportsCar Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca has been moved up one weekend to run on Sept. 4-6. It was originally scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 11-13. This date adjustment was made to accommodate IMSA competitors planning to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which now will run on Sept. 19-20.
  • The 23rd annual Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta has been moved back one week and now will run Oct. 14-17 to provide teams a more balanced schedule as the season comes to its conclusion. The original dates of the event were Oct. 7-10.

These three event date changes are in addition to the previously announced reschedule of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, which now is set for Nov. 11- 14.

Previously purchased tickets for all four events will be valid on the new dates. IMSA will provide additional series updates, broadcast information and event schedules as they become available.

* Courtesy of IMSA

HAILIE DEEGAN GAINS PRECIOUS ROAD COURSE EXPERIENCE AT ROAR

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.’’