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A Brief History of Ford Racing

Ford Racing History: 100-plus Years & Still Running Strong

  • 1901 - Henry Ford defeats Alexander Winton in a 10-lap race on a one-mile oval at the Detroit Driving Club, Grosse Pointe, MI.
  • 1903 - Ford 999, driven by Barney Oldfield, laps the Indiana Fairgrounds dirt track at a then-record 60 mph.
  • 1909 - Ford Model T wins New York to Seattle cross-country race.
  • 1932 - Ford V-8 "flathead" engine introduced, bringing V-8 power into mass production.
  • 1949 - Jim Roper, driving a Lincoln, wins first-ever NASCAR Grand National race.
  • 1950 - Jimmy Florian drives a Ford-branded car to a NASCAR victory for the first time ever.
  • 1956 - Ford tops NASCAR manufacturer point standings for the first time.
  • 1957 - Automobile Manufacturers Association ban on factory-sponsored racing makes manufacturer racing involvement a "back door" operation until 1962.
  • 1962 - Ford begins its "Total Performance" racing program of the 1960s.
  • 1963 - Colin Chapman teams with Ford to build rear-engine Indy cars. Jim Clark drives Lotus-Ford to engine’s first victory in Milwaukee 200. Tiny Lund scores Ford Racing’s first Daytona 500 win.
  • 1964 - Ford introduces DOHC V-8 Indy car engine.
  • 1965 - Jim Clark scores Ford Racing’s first Indy 500 victory. Mario Andretti becomes first Ford-powered driver to win the United States Auto Club championship. Ned Jarrett is first Ford driver to win the NASCAR Grand National title.
  • 1966 - Ford Mk IIs finish 1-2-3 in 24 Hours of Le Mans.
  • 1967 - Ford-Cosworth DFV V-8 engine makes Formula One debut, driven to victory by Jim Clark at the Dutch Grand Prix.
  • 1971 - Ford (North America) ends all racing support and involvement.
  • 1976 - Al Unser wins Pocono 500, first victory for the Cosworth DFX V-8 engine.
  • 1977 - Tom Sneva, driving a McLaren-Cosworth, wins USAC national championship.
  • 1981 - Ford establishes Special Vehicle Operations as its center for all racing activities. The Miller Mustang scores the first two victories in Ford’s resurgent program.
  • 1985 - Ford Thunderbird driver Bill Elliott wins a record 11 NASCAR superspeedway events, including the Talladega 500 at 186.288 mph.
  • 1988 - Bill Elliott wins NASCAR Winston Cup championship in a Thunderbird - first Winston Cup title for a Ford driver since 1969.
  • 1992 - Ford re-enters Indy car racing with the new Ford-Cosworth XB engine. Ford wins its 10th NASCAR manufacturers’ championship, the first since 1969. Alan Kulwicki wins Winston Cup title in a Thunderbird.
  • 1993 - Nigel Mansell wins Indy Car PPG Cup and Rookie of the Year, Ford’s first drivers’ title since 1971.
  • 1994 - Ford introduces the Zetec R V-8 Formula One engine. Michael Schumacher wins the F-1 World Championship, Ford Racing’s first since 1982
  • 1995 - Jacques Villeneuve scores the first Ford Indy 500 victory since 1971.
  • 1997 - Ford launches the Taurus NASCAR Winston Cup car for competition in 1998 and beyond.
  • 1998 - Ford buys Cosworth Racing, a partner in racing engines for more than 30 years.
  • 1999 - Ford purchases the Stewart-Ford Formula One team.
  • 1999 - Dale Jarrett’s Ford Quality Care team wins Winston Cup Championship
  • 2000 - Stewart-Ford becomes Jaguar Racing, signaling the entry into F1.
  • 2001 - John Force wins fifth consecutive NHRA Funny Car Championship for Ford
  • 2001 - Ford celebrates its 100th year of racing.
  • 2003 - Matt Kenseth wins the last Winston Cup Championship in a Ford Taurus
  • 2004 - Kurt Busch wins the inaugural Nextel Cup Championship, delivering to Ford and owner Jack Roush back-to-back championships. John Force captured his 13th championship in the Funny Car class of NHRA.
  • 2005 - Roush Racing’s entire fleet of Ford Tauruses makes the NASCAR Chase to the Nextel Cup playoff format. The Ford Five drivers Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch make up half of the 10-drivers championship competition. Frank Kimmel won his seventh ARCA championship. Sébastien Bourdais won his second back-to-back CCWS championship.
  • 2006 - Ford debuts the Fusion NASCAR Nextel Cup car and Busch Series car at Daytona and ends the season with Greg Biffle’s victory in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. John Force won his 14th NHRA Funny Car championship. Frank Kimmel took home his eighth ARCA ReMax championship in a Ford Fusion. Sébastien Bourdais won The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford championship for the third year in a row. The all-new Ford Focus World Rally Car made its racing debut and went on to capture the Manufacturer’s Championship with Marcus Grönholm behind the wheel. Jörg Bergmeister and Krohn Racing delivered Ford its first Grand American Rolex Series Daytona Prototype driver championship.


Read more at the Ford Racing website

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