Five Landmark Days in Ford’s NASCAR History

November 13th, 2023 by

In 1901, Henry Ford stunned the automotive world when he defeated renowned auto designer Alexander Winton in a 10-lap race at the Detroit Driving Club in Michigan. In doing so, Ford’s new company announced itself as a racing brand to be reckoned with – nearly fifty years before NASCAR had even formed. 

Ford was there at NASCAR’s inception, and it maintains one of racing’s most consistent track records to this day. Billy Wood Ford looks back at just five pivotal days throughout Ford’s decorated NASCAR history: 

June 25, 1950: Jimmy Florian wins first NASCAR race in a Ford vehicle. 

Stock car racer Jimmy Florian made history in two ways when he won the 100-mile race at the Dayton Raceway in Dayton, Ohio in 1950: it was the first NASCAR victory for a Ford vehicle… and Florian won the race half-naked 

The mechanic-turned-racer cruised past the favored, speedy Oldsmobile racers en route to capturing the checkered flag. Upon pulling into the winner’s circle, Florian emerged from his No. 27 Ford in only pants, shoes, and helmet, having ripped off his shirt in the middle of the race due to the day’s humidity. The feat earned him the nickname “Shirtless” Jimmy, and it caused NASCAR to quickly implement a rule requiring its drivers to remain clothed during the race. 

February 24, 1963: Tiny Lund wins first Daytona 500 for Ford. 

DeWayne Louis “Tiny” Lund wasn’t even supposed to be behind the wheel of the No. 21 Galaxy 500 the day Ford captured its first Dayton 500. Unfortunately, the car’s prospective driver, Marvin Panch, flipped his Maserati sports car during practice for a preliminary race at Daytona, suffering serious (though not life-threatening) burns as a result. One of the mechanics who rushed to rescue Panch from the burning wreckage was Tiny Lund. 

From his hospital bed, Panch suggested that Lund replace him in the race, even though the journeyman was winless in 132 Cup Series events. But the team devised a risky strategy that proved (barely) successful, as Lund completed the entire race in the same set of tires and made one fewer pit stop than his competitors. 

February 20, 2000: Dale Jarrett wins Ford’s 10th Daytona 500. 

Dale Jarrett spent the largest chunk of his illustrious career with Ford’s Robert Yates racing team. In 2000, he won his third Daytona 500 (and second driving a Ford, after winning the 1996 race in his second year on the team). It was also Ford’s tenth total Daytona 500 victory, nearly 37 years after the underdog Tiny Lund brought home the inaugural win. 

At the time, Jarrett became just the second driver to win multiple Daytona 500 races in a Ford. (Bill Elliott was a Ford winner in both 1985 and 1987.) Matt Kenseth would later tie their mark thanks to wins in 2009 and 2012. But between those wins… 

February 20, 2011: Trevor Bayne wins the Daytona 500 for Ford’s 600th NASCAR victory. 

Talk about having yourself a day at the race track! Ford nabbed all three podium spots at the 53rd running of the event, as rookie Trevor Bayne, Carl Edwards, and David Gilliland finished the race 1-2-3, respectively. Bayne became the youngest racer to win the Daytona 500, doing so just a day after his twentieth birthday. In doing so, he nabbed Ford their 600th NASCAR victory. Again – not a bad day at the office. 

June 17, 2013: Greg Biffle wins the Quicken Loans 400, Ford’s 1000th NASCAR win.  

Though the race itself was just one of many events in NASCAR’s Cup Series in 2013, Biffle’s win marked a major milestone for Ford: 1,000 combined victories in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck Series. 

Today, Ford continues to dominate the NASCAR circuit. The past two Cup Series champions – Joey Logano in 2022 and Ryan Blaney in 2023 – are both members of Team Penske, who fields Ford Mustangs in the circuit.  

At this point, chances are your blood is pumping and you want to get behind the wheel of a sleek, performance-first Ford vehicle today. You’re in luck! Race on over to Billy Wood Ford and check out our entire selection of new and used cars, trucks, and SUVs. Whether you need new brakes or an oil change, Billy Wood is Jena’s ultimate pit stop.

Posted in Ford History