The Ford Mustang has a long history of winning in various divisions of motorsports, and this history continues with a pair of first-time victories in two different racing series. On Friday, Carl Edwards scored Mustang’s first-ever win in NASCAR by taking the checkered flag in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway, and while the Mustang is no stranger to victory lane in Grand-Am racing, the all-new Mustang Boss 302R came out on top in Saturday’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Barber 200 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Edwards, and his No. 60 Fastenal Mustang, started on the pole and led 169 of the race’s 200 laps to take home the checkered flag, but it wasn’t without any scary moments. He avoided a close call on lap 88 when a car blew a tire and ran up the track, but he cruised on to victory winning by a margin of .482 seconds. After the victory, Edwards did his signature back flip from the window of his car, which is always a crowd pleaser. Previously Ford introduced the Mustang in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last year in just four races, but this year the car is running the full schedule and managed to record its first win in the sixth race of the season. According to reports earlier this year, Ford is planning to run the Mustang body in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the 2013 season as well.
A day after Edwards’ dominating performance in NASCAR, the recently introduced Mustang Boss 302R not only finished in the top spot for the No.1 Ford Racing/Multimatic Motorsports car but it also scored a third-place finish as well for the No. 45 Roush Performance Products car. Like Edwards, the Mustang Boss 302R started the race at the front of the field thanks to the driving tandem of Joe Foster and Scott Maxwell. Unlike the Mustang that runs in NASCAR, however, the Boss 302R is available as a turnkey racecar and was the test bed for the street-legal Boss 302 that was officially introduced last month.
“What a great weekend for Mustang,” said Jamie Allison, Director Ford North America Motorsports. “I am down here in Texas and Mustang wins its first NASCAR race and then here we are on Saturday mid-day and Boss 302R claims its first victory since its return.”[expand] Edwards Makes History for Mustang in NASCAR
MUSTANG WINS FIRST NASCAR NATIONWIDE RACE
• Mustang added another series victory to its 47-year racing resume with today’s first NASCAR-sanctioned race win as Carl Edwards took home the checkered flag in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas.
CARL EDWARDS – No. 60 FASTENAL Ford “This is huge. I have a Mustang at home. It doesn’t run as well as this one. I drove it a little bit the last couple of weeks and this just feels so good. It is so cool to drive a Mustang to victory lane here at Texas. I can’t even fathom the historic nature of this win. Ricky and Trevor were just here and they are going to have lots of wins in this Mustang in the future. It is cool that my name will be next to the first win, but those guys are going to be carrying the torch.”
JACK ROUSH – Owner, Roush Fenway Racing
“This is great for Mustang. This being Mustang’s first win. It was apt that Carl did it because he has been the best Carl and the best leader in the program for all the Ford drivers. It is good that it came together. I thought it would come earlier in the season but we are going to win a lot of races in these Mustangs this year. Jamie Allison told us that we needed to get a win this weekend and it worked out. Mustang belongs in stock car racing and hopefully it will be here for a long time.”
JAMIE ALLISON, Director Ford Motorsports
“A historic moment today by Mustang … We are all proud of Mustang first win in NASCAR Nationwide race. This victory by Carl Edwards puts his name into the record books among the many great drivers who have won in Mustangs since it debuted in 1964. It was always said Mustang was ‘born to race,’ and this victory, along with the victories Mustang has won in drag racing, sports car racing and rally racing over the years, just further proves that point.”
Other Mustang Motorsports Milestones:
• A little more than a month after its April 17 introduction, Mustang was on the race track as a pace car leading the 1964 Indianapolis 500. Before the year was out, Mustang was a winner in competition, finishing first and second in class in the 1964 Tour de France international rally.
• By 1965, Ford was involved with cars competing in the National Hot Rod Association’s Factory Experimental, or A/FX class, as the 427-cubic-inch single overhead cam V-8 made a potent powerplant in Holman & Moody’s A/FX Mustangs. Ten of these Mustangs were built, and five of them qualified in the Factory Stock Eliminator field at the ’65 NHRA Winternationals. Bill Lawton drove his Tasca Ford Mustang A/FX to victory in the car’s very first race.
• In 1965, Carroll Shelby, responding to Ford’s challenge to build a winning road racing program, introduced the Mustang GT-350 – a stripped down Mustang 2+2 with modified suspension, shocks, steering, brakes and Ford 289-cubic-inch V-8s – for Sports Car Club of America competition. Jerry Titus, Bob Johnson and Mark Donohue drove GT-350s to national titles in 1965, and the GT-350 went on to win SCCA B-Production national championships for three straight years.
• To performance enthusiasts, 1969 was dominated by the hottest Mustangs ever — 428 Mach 1, Boss 429 and Boss 302. Three modified examples of this fearsome threesome were taken to the Bonneville Salt Flats in search of speed records. Driven by Mickey Thompson, Danny Ongais, Ray Brock and Bob Ottum, they collected 295 United States Auto Club-certified records, including a 24-hour run on a 10-mile course at an average speed of 157 miles an hour.
• In 1970, Bud Moore’s team raced against one of the most competitive Trans-Am fields of all time with six factory teams. Parnelli Jones and George Follmer fulfilled the promise of a year earlier by winning six races and the manufacturers’ championship as Jones took the drivers’ title.
• Mustang was a favorite of short-track stock car racers through most of the seventies. In 1972, Dick Trickle raced a Mustang to a national record of 67 short track feature wins in one season. And in drag racing, drivers like Connie Kalitta, Shirley Muldowney and Don Nicholson kept Mustang in the winner’s circle.
• Pro Stock gained popularity, and by 1975 a now-familiar name was in the record books. Bob Glidden drove a Ford Pinto to his first Pro Stock championship in ’74, and then switched to Mustang for ’75, winning four national events and his second NHRA championship — Mustang’s first Pro Stock title.
• John Force, perhaps the most dominant racer of a single race series, broke his own NHRA drag racing record by winning his 12th national crown in his Ford Mustang Funny Car in 2002 and registered his 15th series championship last season.
WINNING PRESS CONFERENCE FEATURING CARL EDWARDS, JACK ROUSH AND MIKE BEAM
JACK, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE MEANING OF THIS WIN TONIGHT? “It is really great to be here. God bless Texas, we enjoy every time we have a chance to come race at Texas. I wasn’t aware we have won that many times here. I knew we had seven wins in the Cup side but didn’t know how many Nationwide and Truck wins we have had here. It feels good being back here. We didn’t have the year we hoped to have last year. We didn’t put him in equipment that was as fast as he was. I think we are getting closer on that now. We made a move of the team into the Cup compound so that they can share information and that has been useful. We got the new FR9 engine and we are real proud of these Mustangs.”
CARL, WHAT DOES THIS NIGHT MEAN TO YOU? “This is a huge night for Mustang and Ford and this is a true team effort. A year ago we were struggling. We were not fast enough and Jack and all the guys at the shop, the engineers, Doug Yates and everyone pulled together. We have great engines now and great pit stops and Mike Beam puts the fastest car on the race track underneath me every week and Jack lets us go do all this. The pole today we talked about that pole run being a true team effort. Mike was adjusting while Jason was telling me the line and Jack was telling me what Ricky said. It is a good day. It ended the way you wish every race would. Teamwork led us to victory lane.”
MIKE, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE INCIDENT ON THE TRACK AND WHAT YOU WERE THINKING? “I couldn’t really see it but a photographer took a picture and I could see a close up of the brace hanging out of the left quarter panel and I thought it was broke off. I was really wanting to stop there and luckily it came to one to go and Carl made that call there and I am glad he did after it happened. I was concerned by that brace haning out there but luckily it wrapped around. We were very fortunate. It shows the commitment of Ford and all our sponsors and Jack and Doug and everyone. It is great that we could pull this off. Especially putting this Mustang in victory lane for the first time in NASCAR.”
CARL, WHAT CAN YOU TAKE FROM THIS RACE THAT YOU COULD USE TOMORROW? “Our Fastenal Mustang actually handled quite a bit like the Aflac Fusion we will race tomorrow. They didn’t feel the same in practice but once I got in the race I felt it did feel a lot like my Cup car. I learned a bit about the race track and how it changes. I learned a little and was reminded where the race track had grip and where it had some bumps and the character of the race track. I think it will help me for tomorrow. I think there are a couple of really fast cars tomorrow and it is hard to say who has the advantage because nobody has practiced racing in the night. I hope my car is as fast tomorrow as this one was tonight. That is really fun to drive a car that is that fast.”
CARL, HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK KYLE BUSCH WOULD HAVE BEEN A CHALLENGE FOR YOU IF HE DIDN’T HAVE THAT ACCIDENT? “I think he would have been a real tough challenge. Our car got a little better as we went but it looked like we were pretty well matched. I think he and I were going to race real hard. I was able to get in front of him on that restart which was huge. That says a lot about our engines. He was right behind me and we were passing that car and just by sheer luck behind me the car ended up missing us and caught him instead. That could have gone either way. I would have rather raced him for the victory though and I think it would have been a great race but I think or car was a tick faster.”
HOW ABOUT WITH SIX TO GO WHEN BRAD WAS CLOSING IN. YOU CAME ON THE RADIO AND SAID ‘THAT WASN’T VERY SPORTY’, WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT? “His teammate did a perfect job of sliding right up in front of me and boxing me in. I think he had the option and made the decision to go ahead and make me swerve to go under him. That might not be the case but it sure seemed awfully suspect that his teammate almost helped him get past me. That is okay though. That is racing. I will remember it (laughter). I am kind of joking around. I don’t really care. He got loose and it was 50/50 in my eyes. It was convenient though. Jack would probably like Ricky to do that for me. He aint saying anything (laughter).”
CARL, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE THE GUY THAT PUT MUSTANG IN VICTORY LANE FOR THE FIRST TIME? “It is an honor to put Mustang in victory lane. I think all of us are proud of that and everyone at the shop should be proud too. Those cars look really cool. That was neat of Ford to let us drive the Mustang. When I walk into the garage and see my Fastenal Mustang it gets my blood going. It is cool to drive that race car. I drive a Mustang on the street and the weather has been nice the last couple of weeks in Missouri and I have been driving it. It is neat to be able to drive the same car into victory lane. It is cool.”
JACK, WHAT ABOUT DAVID RAGAN WINNING THE POLE ON THE CUP SIDE? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR HIM? “I would like to say David has been an insant success but it has taken him a little while. He has been running well and has been fast in practice. Drew Blickensderfer has done a really nice job. I am glad that they were able to close the deal today. Carl came up to me after that happened and congratulated me for David as well. The whole team is behind David and we are hoping he can have the kind of result that his qualifying indicates tomorrow night. We are ready for David to close one of these big deals and tomorrow night may be the night.”
CARL, WHERE IS YOUR CONFIDENCE GOING INTO TOMORROW NIGHT? “It is really high right now, on both the Nationwide and Cup side. We talked about Martinsville and that was not a good race for us but other Ford guys were really fast. The way we qualified and practiced here I feel like we have a really good shot at running well and look forward to Richmond too. Darlington should be a fast race track for us too. It is good to be driving one of Jack’s Fords right now. It is fun.”