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DEARBORN -- Racing is about winning, pure and simple. Jack Roush Sr. celebrated his 400th all-time win last weekend when his son, Jack Roush Jr., and co-driver Billy Johnson won the Homestead 200 (Grand Sport Class) at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This weekend, Bob Tasca III, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang Nitro Funny Car heads to Gainesville for the NHRA Gatornationals where he achieved his first career win in the Funny Car class last year. For every driver, winning is always a great feeling, but some wins just have a little something extra. Ford Racing had a chance to talk with NASCAR and NHRA owners and drivers about getting that milestone win.
NASCAR Sprint Cup
JACK ROUSH SR. – owner, Roush Fenway Racing – ON HITTING A MILESTONE OF 400 WINS AS A TEAM OWNER THIS PAST WEEKEND WITH A CONTINENTAL TIRE SPORTS CAR CHALLENGE MUSTANG VICTORY BY HIS SON, JACK JR.
It makes me feel old. It was ironic that my son was there. I know that when he was about three weeks old I had a serious drag racing wreck in my pro stock car. I had purchased a gasoline-power, four-cycle Briggs and Stratton jeep for Jack to ride around in. He was three or four weeks old, and I got home with my concussion after spending a week in the hospital. My wife, Pauline, stayed with the three children at home – Susan, Patricia and young Jack – and this jeep was parked on the front porch. She wouldn’t let it in the house and when I got home she asked me, ‘What is that all about?’ And I said, ‘Well, the boy needed to have his first race car and I figured I couldn’t get started too soon.’ But he closed the deal [last Saturday] and got the 400th victory for our organization and I’m very proud of him.
EDDIE WOOD – co-owner, No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion – HIS THOUGHTS ON ONE OF THE WOOD BROTHERS’ MILESTONE WINS
The Richmond race back in 1986 with Kyle Petty. It was a milestone for us because we had always ran a limited schedule up until the 1985 season, which is what we’re doing now. But at that time, we had just started running all of the races, and had just come close to winning a couple of races with Kyle. We fortunately won that race in 1986, which was a second full season year. The reason to me it was a milestone was because it was the first time we had won running full time, and the other reason was it was with Kyle Petty. There were a lot of people around the world that didn’t think the Petty family and the Wood family could get along because of the rivalry we’ve always had through the years. It worked great. We had a really good relationship the whole time he drove the car. Probably the most fun I’ve had in my career, was while Kyle was driving our car. We proved to a lot of people that we did get along. You have to think back at that time that was the two biggest rivalries in the sport and all of a sudden Richard’s son was driving our car. It was pretty cool.
JOHN FORCE – driver/owner Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car – HIS MILESTONE ON WINNING THE 50TH ANNUAL KRAGEN O'REILLY NHRA WINTERNATIONALS IN FEBRUARY OF 2010.
I was humbled beyond belief. That was really huge. People say what is it like to win? It wasn’t so much the winning as it was the coming back from the cellar. I was in the cellar. When you have won all those championships you think winning was easy. Then it got real tough and we just couldn’t do anything. To be at Auto Club Raceway and win that race, the 50th Winternationals a 50th won’t ever come again. You’ll win a lot of races. I’ve won the Winternationals and the World Finals, but to win this race that has the magic.
That was special because it’s my home track. My legs were broken and I’ll be honest. They said I might not win again. That gets in your head. They really said I might not walk again. (In Topeka in 2008) Tim Wilkerson smoked the tires and I knew he was going to outrun me because he had me covered all weekend. I always felt like just to come out of that hospital and then win again that meant a lot. We gelled this team and I got back on my game. I really wanted it. The hardest was running up against Ashley (Force Hood). I said, ‘I love you baby but I may not get another chance so I have to go. I have to give you all I got.’ She said, ‘OK dad.’ I just love that kid.
ROBERT HIGHT – driver, Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car – ON HIS FIRST WIN
Until you win a race you really don't know if you can do it. You believe you can but you still have that doubt. When I got that first win in Houston I knew I could compete. That just solidified my confidence. It put me on track to go after the Funny Car championship. I came close a couple of times and won it last year. Now I am focused on winning another one.
ASHLEY FORCE HOOD – driver, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car – ON WINNING THE U.S. NATIONALS
Winning the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in 2009 was a huge day for me because it is the biggest event on our NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing tour and is such a historic race. Every driver dreams of winning Indianapolis, and to race alongside my own teammate and brother-in-law Robert Hight in the final round was very exciting and a great way to finish. I was also the only female racing in the Funny Car category that day. In spite the pressure that always goes with Indy and being one of the less experienced drivers in the highly competitive category of fuel Funny Car, we managed to come out on top at the end of the day. It is a race win that my Castrol GTX Ford Mustang team and I will always cherish.
BOB TASCA III – Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang Nitro Funny Car – ON GAINESVILLE AND HIS SUCCESS THERE
Someone asked me in Pomona, they said what’s your favorite race track and why? Without hesitation, Gainesville, Florida for two reasons. One, because I broke the record in alcohol funny car, fastest run ever, and I got my first win in a Top Fuel Funny Car there last year. Gainesville is one of those historic race tracks; it’s up there with Indianapolis and Pomona. For me, Gainesville is about the atmosphere and environment. It’s just an incredible place to race. I’m so fortunate not only to get my first win, but my first pole at such a special venue. As a racer, you look forward to it. As a defending race winner, it adds that much more excitement for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team and me. We’re looking forward to getting back there and it’s a track that we’ve done very well at. We’re going into Gainesville with a lot of confidence, both as the defending champ and with a Shelby Mustang that’s arguably the most competitive car I’ve ever driven.
TIM WILKERSON – driver/owner Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Mustang Funny Car – ON WINNING AT HOME AND INDY
Every win on the NHRA tour is big, but we've had a couple that were a notch above. We consider St. Louis to be our home track, so winning there in 2008, with about 900 of our closest friends from Levi, Ray & Shoup on hand to cheer us on, was pretty special. But, it would be hard to say anything was better than winning the US Nationals in Indy. It's the biggest and most historic race of the year, and most racers will tell you they'd trade any number of other wins just to win Indy once. We won Indy in 2003, and at the time it was only the second win of my pro career, so it was not only a big accomplishment, it also really put our team on the map. I think a championship is about all there is that could top winning Indy.