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DEARBORN – Henry Ford’s win over Alexander Winton on Oct. 10, 1901 in what proved to be his only race as a driver was a milestone victory that helped launch the Ford Motor Company.
Since then there have been several more memorable moments with the latest coming today at Michigan International Speedway, where Greg Biffle took the checkered flag and registered Ford’s 1,000th all-time NASCAR victory. That total includes 100 wins from Lincoln-Mercury in what is known today as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and 900 combined Ford-branded victories in NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Series competition.
“Here we are in the summer of 2013 celebrating Henry Ford’s 150th birthday and in the same year we’re celebrating our 1,000th win in NASCAR,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. “We all know how Ford Motor Company started, and I think reaching this milestone really honors the spirit of what Henry Ford started.”
Jim Roper won the very first NASCAR-sanctioned Sprint Cup Series race in a Lincoln on June 19, 1949 in Charlotte, NC. That was the first of Lincoln’s four all-time victories in the series with the others coming from Jack White, Harold Kite and incoming NASCAR Hall of Famer Tim Flock.
Mercury had 96 wins from 1950-80 in NASCAR’s top series as David Pearson and the Wood Brothers teamed up to win 43 times, including the 1976 Daytona 500 which is still considered one of the most dramatic finishes in the sport’s history.
The Ford brand recorded its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in 1950 when “Shirtless” Jimmy Florian scored an upset victory at Dayton (OH) Speedway, beating the likes of Lee Petty, Curtis Turner and Joe Weatherly. More than 60 years later, Trevor Bayne duplicated that unlikely win by capturing the 2011 Daytona 500 in only his second start to give Ford its 600th series triumph.
“That’s an indelible race for me because of all the circumstances involved,” recalled Allison. “It was Daytona, it was our 600th Sprint Cup win, Trevor had just turned 20 years old the day before, it was a 1-2-3 Ford finish, and our entire Ford team, including Edsel and his family, were there to celebrate that milestone. Every time we win it reminds me of these joyous moments and the passion our fans have for Ford.”
Bayne was front-and-center again last week as he recorded his second Ford Racing milestone victory in three years by winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway. The win was Ford’s 200th series win and second overall for Bayne.
In addition to 1,000 race wins, Ford has celebrated 20 manufacturer’s titles and 13 driver’s championships in NASCAR’s top three series while also seeing 19 of the first 25 inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame have significant Ford Racing backgrounds.
“Ford has been an important part of our sport since their first win,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “We congratulate the entire Ford Motor Company and the race teams, past and present, that have contributed in this very significant milestone of their 1,000th win.”
While drivers such as David Pearson, Ned Jarrett, Bill Elliott, Mark Martin and Dale Jarrett appear among Ford’s all-time leading winners, their success wouldn’t have been possible without a strong organization behind them.
From a Ford perspective, there has been no more successful operation than the one put together by Jack Roush, who has amassed 313 NASCAR victories in 25 years of competition. Now known as Roush Fenway Racing, the team boasts 131 wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and holds the record for most wins in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (132) and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (50).
Wood Brothers Racing has been aligned with Ford Motor Company since its inception in 1950 and ranks seventh on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win list with 98. Founder Glen Wood was the team’s first driver and won four races before taking control behind the scenes and teaming with his brother, Leonard, to form one of the most potent combinations in the sport’s history. Both men are members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and are credited with being the ones who revolutionized the modern-day pit stop.
Other NASCAR Hall of Fame car owners such as Bud Moore (43 wins) and Junior Johnson (38) combined to win more than 80 races in Ford products while the legendary Ford factory-backed team of Holman-Moody won 92 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and back-to-back championships with David Pearson behind the wheel. Roger Penske, who celebrated his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship last year with driver Brad Keselowski, has 31 Ford wins in his stock car career (27 NSCS, 4 NNS), including three Nationwide wins this season by three different drivers – Sam Hornish Jr., Joey Logano and Keselowski.
Overall, 124 different drivers have won at least one race for Ford Motor Company in NASCAR’s top three divisions, including superstar figures such as Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon.
“I’m sure if my great-grandfather was alive today he would be extremely proud of our racing program’s accomplishments,” said Edsel Ford. “We’ve come a long way since 1901 and still have more to achieve, but winning 1,000 races at NASCAR’s highest level is something we can all take great pride in.”
Ford Motor Company Wins By Series (1,000):
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: 715 -- Ford (615), Mercury (96), Lincoln (4)
NASCAR Nationwide Series: 200 -- Ford (200)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: 85 -- Ford (85)
All-Time Ford Motor Company Top-Five Winning Drivers (All Series Combined)
1. Mark Martin 89 (35 NSCS-47 NNS-7 NCWTS)
2. David Pearson 73 (73 NSCS)
3. Carl Edwards 64 (20 NSCS-38 NNS-6 NCWTS)
4. Greg Biffle 53 (19 NSCS-18 NNS- 16 NCWTS)
5. Ned Jarrett 43 (43 NSCS)
All-Time Ford Motor Company Top-Five Winning Owners (All Series Combined)
1. Jack Roush 313 (131 NSCS, 132 NNS, 50 NCWTS)
2. Wood Brothers 98 (98 NSCS)
3. Holman-Moody 92 (92 NSCS)
4. Robert Yates 58 (57 NSCS, 1 NNS)
5. Bud Moore 43 (43 NSCS)
All-Time Ford Motor Company Driver Championships (13):
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Ned Jarrett (1965); David Pearson (1968-69); Bill Elliott (1988); Alan Kulwicki (1992); Dale Jarrett (1999); Matt Kenseth (2003); Kurt Busch (2004)
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Greg Biffle (2002); Carl Edwards (2007); Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011-12)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Greg Biffle (2000)
Manufacturers Championship Seasons (20):
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: 1956, 1957, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, ‘02
NASCAR Nationwide Series: 1995, 2002, 2011
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: 1999, 2000