FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: DAYTONA 500 NOTES
The 63rd Annual Daytona 500 is scheduled for this Sunday as the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season begins at Daytona International Speedway. Ford has won “The Great American Race” a total of 15 times with Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett and Matt Kenseth each taking the checkered flag twice with the Blue Oval. Joey Logano has a chance to join that list as he looks to add a second Daytona 500 victory to his 2015 triumph.
FORD CHANGES IN 2021
There will be a few newcomers to the Ford Cup Series roster with the most notable one coming at Stewart-Haas Racing, where Chase Briscoe is replacing the retired Clint Bowyer in the No. 14 HighPoint.com Mustang. Briscoe led the NASCAR XFINITY Series with nine wins last season before finishing third in the playoff standings. Anthony Alfredo will also get an opportunity to race full-time as he takes over the No. 38 Mustang at Front Row Motorsports while B.J. McLeod pilots the new No. 78 entry for Live Fast Motorsports.
TINY LUND COMES UP BIG FOR WOOD BROTHERS
Ford won the Daytona 500 for the first time on Feb. 24, 1963 when Tiny Lund took the Wood Brothers to Victory Lane and completed a script that would have made Hollywood envious. Lund didn’t have a ride for the 500, but was at the track watching Marvin Panch test a Maserati when the car went out of control, flipped upside-down and started on fire. Lund, along with four others, rushed to the scene and eventually pulled Panch to safety. Panch, who was the primary driver for the Wood Brothers, was unable to race in the 500 due to his injuries, so the team tabbed Lund as a substitute. Lund defied the odds by winning the race on one set of tires to give Ford and the Wood Brothers their first win in “The Great American Race.”
KENSETH WINS EXPLOSIVE DAYTONA 500
When Ford won the Daytona 500 on Feb. 27, 2012 with Matt Kenseth, it marked his second victory in three years. But while Kenseth will be remembered for becoming the ninth multiple winner of “The Great American Race,” the weekend will forever be remembered for a series of unforeseen events. For the first time in its 54-year history the race had to be postponed until Monday due to rain. As lingering showers persisted the next day, NASCAR officials decided to make it a primetime event for the first time. The race was building to a climax when caution came out on lap 157. During the ensuing caution, something broke on Juan Pablo Montoya’s car and sent it careening into a jet dryer that was working on the track. An explosion ensued and resulted in a red flag that lasted more than two hours as officials repaired the track. There were no major injuries, but the incident resulted in one of the more memorable photos ever taken as driver Brad Keselowski used his cell phone to post a shot from his vantage point on the backstretch. Kenseth eventually held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle on a green-white-checker finish to win.
A CINDERELLA STORY
Ford won the Daytona 500 for the 15th time after Kurt Busch took the checkered flag for Stewart-Haas Racing in its debut event with the manufacturer in 2017. That Cinderella story marked Ford’s fourth Daytona 500 win in a seven-year period, a streak that started with another Disney-type story when Trevor Bayne became the youngest Daytona 500 winner in 2011. The victory was even more memorable because it came one day after his 20th birthday and in only his second career NASCAR Cup Series start for the Wood Brothers.
LOGANO GIVES FORD FIRST SWEEP OF DAYTONA SPEEDWEEKS
Joey Logano survived an intense final 10 laps, including a green-white-checkered finish, to give Ford a sweep of Daytona Speedweeks by winning the 57th running of the Daytona 500. The win came on the heels of Tyler Reddick winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Ryan Reed taking the checkered flag for the first time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series event. It also capped an undefeated month of racing at Daytona for Ford, which also won the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours. In the end, Logano used a push from Clint Bowyer to get in front of the pack, but when caution came out with three laps to go for an accident involving Justin Allgaier, the field bunch back up for the deciding restart. As the leader, Logano opted for the outside line and that proved to be the right decision as he got ahead of Denny Hamlin on the inside and stayed in front until the caution came out on the final lap to officially end the race.
FORD’S DAYTONA 500 WINNERS
1963 – Tiny Lund (Wood Brothers)
1965 – Fred Lorenzen (Holman-Moody)
1967 – Mario Andretti (Holman-Moody)
1969 – LeeRoy Yarbrough (Junior Johnson)
1978 – Bobby Allison (Bud Moore)
1985 – Bill Elliott (Harry Melling)
1987 – Bill Elliott (Harry Melling)
1992 – Davey Allison (Robert Yates)
1996 – Dale Jarrett (Robert Yates)
2000 – Dale Jarrett (Robert Yates)
2009 – Matt Kenseth (Jack Roush)
2011 – Trevor Bayne (Wood Brothers)
2012 – Matt Kenseth (Jack Roush)
2015 – Joey Logano (Roger Penske)
2017 – Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas)