SCC: Wilden, Martin, Davis, Caddell - Ford teleconference

This Week in Ford Racing: Teleconference October 1, 2009 An interview with Ken Wilden - Grand-Am Sports Car Challenge Dean Martin - Grand-Am Sports Car Challenge Brandon Davis - SCCA World Challenge Andrew Caddell - Ford Racing Mustang ...

This Week in Ford Racing: Teleconference
October 1, 2009

An interview with
Ken Wilden - Grand-Am Sports Car Challenge
Dean Martin - Grand-Am Sports Car Challenge
Brandon Davis - SCCA World Challenge
Andrew Caddell - Ford Racing Mustang Challenge

As the 2009 race season starts to come to a close, many Ford Racing drivers are finding themselves in the position to clinch their series championship. Ken Wilden, driver of the No. 59 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT, is leading the Grand-Am KONI driver point standings and with co-driver Dean Martin they have Rehagen Racing on top in the team competition with one race left in that series, With a win at Homestead this weekend Ford can capture a second consecutive manufacturers championship.

SCCA Speed World Championship GT Series driver Brandon Davis is currently leading the point standings with only one race to left in the season. Davis only needs to finish sixth or better in the last race next week to win the Speed World Challenge GT Championship.

For Andrew Caddell, those championship dreams have become a reality after winning his second back-to-back championship title in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Series a few weeks ago.

***

ANDREW CADDELL - 2008-2009 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Series Champion -

YOU'VE HAD A COUPLE OF WEEKS NOW TO LET YOUR SECOND MUSTANG CHALLENGE CHAMPIONSHIP SINK IN. HOW DOES IT FEEL?

ANDREW CADDELL: "It feels great. After last year, we went into this year thinking it was going to be another tough year, but I didn't think it was going to be as tough since we were going to race the full year. We struggled at the beginning of the year and just had to work that much harder, which made the second championship even more special."

WHAT DOES MENTAL TOUGHNESS MEAN TO YOU? WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN YOUR BRAND OF RACING IN A SPORTSCAR COMPARED TO OTHER MOTORSPORTS?

ANDREW CADDELL: "The mental toughness aspect of racing is pretty big because you have to have that mental toughness just to be able to go out there and show what you have the whole time. If you don't have the mental toughness, you're not going to do as good as you should be able to."

HOW DID THIS SEASON PROGRESS, AND NOW THAT IT'S OVER WHAT IS AHEAD ON THE HORIZON FOR YOU?

ANDREW CADDELL: "We won the first race of the year, and then we struggled after that. After the Barber Motorsports Park and the 45th Anniversary of the Mustang, we took the car to the dyno and found that we were 12 horsepower down. We changed the motor, and once we did that, the rest of the season went great. We won in New Jersey, we finished second at Laguna, we came from the back of the pack, and then we should have won at Mosport. We finished the season off with another win. It was just a great year. Next year is still up in the air. We're talking to a bunch of different people to figure out what's going on, just to be able to get in the seat next year. We have some potential sponsorship stuff happening, and then we have some teams that we're talking to. It would be great to run in the KONI GS Series and run a Mustang there, but it's all up in the air right now. We have a short winter so we have to start working even harder."

IS THERE EVER A TIME THAT YOU GET A CHANCE TO ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING WELL AND BEING SUCCESSFUL OR IS ALL YOUR TIME AND ENERGY FOCUSED ON THE JOB AT HAND?

ANDREW CADDELL: "Up until New Jersey and Laguna we went out there to try and win races, because Ted Anthony Jr. was putting a lot of pressure on us. We went to Mosport and Ted and I had a little bit of an incident on the first lap. I came back up through the pack, but he was riding around me the whole time, but he ended up getting into another wreck so that ended up giving us a little breathing room. After Mosport is pretty much when we started getting into championship mode and just go out there to try and win the championship. At Miller we looked at the points, and we had it pretty much wrapped up. We wanted to go out there and go out on top and just wanted to win the race. You can't let your guard down when you're trying to win the Championship. We knew that from the year before so this year we just kept it going."

***

BRANDON DAVIS - No. 10 ACS Ford Mustang GT

WITH ONE RACE TO GO, A SIXTH PLACE FINISH OR BETTER CAN CLINCH THE CHAMPIONSHIP. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO THE FINAL RACE?

BRANDON DAVIS: "There are so many variables that go into every race and to say we can finish sixth and clinch the championship is nice, but if you have a five dollar part that has a problem, and we don't finish the race, the championship is lost. Obviously we are optimistic going into the final round, and being able to be in the lead and in that position, but the fact is, it's not over yet. We're very aware of that, and we'll be celebrating afterwards hopefully, but for right now, we're still focused on the task at hand."

WHAT DOES MENTAL TOUGHNESS MEAN TO YOU? WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN YOUR BRAND OF RACING IN A SPORTSCAR COMPARED TO OTHER MOTORSPORTS?

BRANDON DAVIS: "To me, most of it has to do with showing up every time and especially in sportscar racing, being able to lay the fast lap down consistently and always be there. If you look at other sports, for example Tiger Woods, you can always expect him to be great every single time out. In sportscar racing success has a lot to do with consistency, and being able to just be fast on a consistent basis. A lot of the times you have a guy who is fast at a certain track or who can run a fast lap time, but if you can run fast consistently you can start to win championships."

You like to drive at Road Atlanta, and last weekend you had the opportunity to drive with your favorite driver Boris Said. How did that go for you? "It was a lot of fun. My father and I have been friends with Boris for a very long time since I was a lot younger, which I think was an interesting situation for him because he's known me since I was a teenager. To have me as a teammate was interesting for him. It was good. I think with the way our series works you get a lot of different cars from a lot of different manufacturers, and sometimes its hard to tell whether it's the car or the driver. It was good to have the insight and information from having Boris there and it showed us that we were on the right track. We had a lot of fun. We all get a long great and just to have everybody out at the track, my father included, it was a fun weekend. At the same time, it was great to take that next step toward the championship."

WITH ONLY ONE RACE LEFT IN THE SEASON, WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF NEXT YEAR? DO YOU PLAN ON STILL COMPETING IN THE SPEED WORLD CHALLENGE SERIES?

BRANDON DAVIS: "To be honest with you, I love our series. Just the fact that you get different types of cars, anything from our 2010 Mustang, which we rolled out last weekend, to Porsche, even the Volvo X60R. I would like to come back and look at defending the title, that is if we win it. Anything that keeps me busy, as long as I have a seat, I'm pretty happy. We would like to look at maybe some other series as well, to maybe run a Ford Mustang in. The way our series works in the SPEED World Challenge, is a ten race season, and there's a lot more than 10 weeks in a year, so I would definitely like to fill those open weekends up and just keep racing as much as possible."

IS THERE EVER A TIME THAT YOU GET A CHANCE TO ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING WELL AND BEING SUCCESSFUL OR IS ALL YOUR TIME AND ENERGY FOCUSED ON THE JOB AT HAND?

BRANDON DAVIS: "I think it comes down to looking at each race, like it's almost a mission. Looking at what our goal is for this weekend, and accomplishing that goal. We didn't even look at things from a strategic perspective until this weekend in Atlanta where it wasn't even that big of a change. It was more, if someone gets overly aggressive and its earlier on in the race, then just let them go because finishing fourth instead of third is better than finishing 15th or 16th because we had an issue. I don't think we'll be celebrating until after the checkered flag is flown this weekend, if we're celebrating at all, but hopefully we are."

***

KEN WILDEN - No. 59 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT

YOU HAVE HAD A TREMENDOUS SEASON, FINISHING IN THE TOP TEN ALL YEAR. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR SEASON TO DATE?

KEN WILDEN: "It was interesting, Dean [Martin] and I had raced a number of races the last couple of years and it seemed every time we race together we were able to put the car on the podium. We started off this year on a race-to-race basis. I don't think Dean was sure what he was going to be able to do this year with the team, and with the car. As it started to go on, we took over the points lead by the second race. It's been solid consistency. The Mustang has been a phenomenal car. Dean's crew every weekend shows up with a car that's fully refreshed and ready to go. Dean and I just seem to drive really well together, we like the car the same way, so that seemed to really advance our ability to set the car up quicker on the weekends and be better prepared coming into the weekends, and make the most of the practice sessions. We're not disagreeing on set-ups generally, so I think that's given us a big leg up, and the pit crew has been phenomenal. Some of the pit stops we've come out 10 or 15 seconds quicker than the other teams, and that's given us a big advantage as well. It's given us a really strong team effort, and I think our worst finish was in New Jersey coming in eighth place, and that was with some damage on the car. We're very pleased with the year. I'm ecstatic, it's been a wonderful year."

DID YOU EXPECT TO WORK WELL TOGETHER AND WHAT TRAITS TO YOU SHARE?

KEN WILDEN: "I knew coming in if we could get a full season put together we were going to do very well. In '07 we did a couple of races together. We won at Mid-Ohio, and finished second at Mosport, so we've had a history with each other and get along really well. I totally expected to be getting along quite fine. I thought it was going to be a really strong effort. I wanted to help Dean out. Part of his team had left and gone with another team and I called him up and asked him if he wanted to do something, and said lets get his car to the front in Daytona during testing and see if we could get some attention drawn to the team, and get some of his other cars rented out, so that's how it started out. I think Dean and I are a little bit the same. We're sort of seen as underdogs and we like that. We rise to the challenge and that fight, and we're both pretty aggressive guys. We've worked well together in keeping each other calm at the right points in the race, so it's been an excellent partnership."

IS THERE EVER A TIME THAT YOU GET A CHANCE TO ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING WELL AND BEING SUCCESSFUL OR IS ALL YOUR TIME AND ENERGY FOCUSED ON THE JOB AT HAND?

KEN WILDEN: "I think Dean and I are both the same way. It's a fight to the end. I don't mentally feel like I can ever let up, or change my approach going into each weekend. I think the only times that Dean and I have enjoyed our success a little bit was at our two wins, one at Laguna, and Mid-Ohio, that was probably until we got on the podium, and then mentally we were thinking about what we've got to do next race. This is a fight to the end and we can't let up at all, ever. You can't let your guard down, you can't relax."

***

DEAN MARTIN - co-driver No. 59 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW 2009 HAS GONE FOR YOU?

DEAN MARTIN: "It's been a very interesting year. It started out with a lot of turmoil and adversity. To be honest with you, we didn't think we were going to make it past Laguna Seca. We had budget to make Laguna Seca and that was it, but we started winning races. We left Laguna Seca with the win, so we had to keep on spending money, and that's kind of how it's been. Ken [Wilden] and I, we like almost the same car. For the bulk of the year I told Ken, you get the car handling the way you want, and I'll just drive whatever works for you. I've done a lot of driving when I was at Ford doing development, so I'm used to driving around certain things in the car that I don't particularly like, but the way Ken likes the car is pretty close to the way I like it, and I think that's why the driver pair works so well and why we're able to run very similar lap times with the same car."

IS THERE EVER A TIME THAT YOU GET A CHANCE TO ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING WELL AND BEING SUCCESSFUL OR IS ALL YOUR TIME AND ENERGY FOCUSED ON THE JOB AT HAND?

DEAN MARTIN: "It still hasn't sunk in that hey, we're going to win this championship, because you never know what could happen. The odds are good for us and I'm confident. For me, I have not had the opportunity to sit back and relax and think we could win this. We're kind of at the point where there is a chance to give this away, and we can't screw this up now. I think about seven or eight o'clock on Sunday night, after the race, we'll be more comfortable saying that we have this championship. It's just been focusing on the job at hand all year and not letting up. If it comes to it we're going to do everything we can, from a Rehagen Racing standpoint, we're going to make sure that we do everything to make sure Kenny wins the driver championship, and we win the team championship. I sat out a race, so if we win it, Kenny gets the drivers championship by himself. It's good for me, I'm happy if we win the team championship, that'll be great. We actually got Kenny signed up for three cars this weekend, we're bringing another car just for a back up too. And Brandon, if you want to come run some KONI Challenge this weekend, we have a seat available. We're going in with a strategy. Kenny's going to be listed on three other cars, and if anything happens to the primary car, the 59 car, then we're going to plug him into one of the other cars. If the JBS guys win the race, we've got to finish 13th or better and then we've got it. We're doing everything we can to make sure that Kenny, the driver, finishes 13th or better. Earlier in the year the first five or six races, it's just been win the race, win the race, but the last two races it's been alright, if somebody really wants that position, let's give it away. It's better to giveaway one or two points than give away 20 points and put yourself behind in the championship. We've taken a little bit of a conservative approach, but I wouldn't say that we've relaxed or backed off because you really can't until it's over."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am , Road racing , PWC
Drivers Boris Said , Ken Wilden , Brandon Davis , Dean Martin , Andrew Caddell , Ted Anthony Jr.
Teams Rehagen Racing