This Week in Ford Racing July 6, 1999
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Rick Crawford, driver of the Circle Bar Motel and RV Park Ford F-150 made a gift of a new Ford SVT (Special Vehicle Team) Lightning F-150 to his team owner Tom Mitchell this past week. Crawford liked the truck from the first time he saw it in Dearborn during a private showing of future vehicles to NASCAR drivers.
14 RICK CRAWFORD Circle Bar Motel and RV Park Ford F-150 -- WHAT PROMPTED YOUR INTEREST IN THE LIGHTNING? "We were invited to come to a Fan Appreciation Day in Detroit and were able to go to see some of the prototypes they (Ford Motor Company) were coming up with for 1999. As soon as they unveiled that "99 super-charged Lightning, I knew that was the truck for Mr. Mitchell. In fact I told him about the truck before he had read anything about it. I called his daughter right after I'd seen it, and I said we have a special place for that. ...Kent Harrison (Ford NASCAR Craftsman Series program manager) helped with the paperwork so I could do this for Mr. Mitchell.
WHEN DID YOU TAKE DELIVERY OF THE LIGHTNING, AND HOW DID YOU PRESENT IT TO HIM? "It came into Jones Ford in Cleveland, Georgia the middle of June. They handled the deal for me. When I picked it up, it had 14 miles on it, ironically. (Fourteen is Rick's number in the truck series.) I put six on it taking it to the shop, and when I delivered it to Mr. Mitchell it had a little over 20 miles on it."
Crawford loaded the Lightning on a trailer, and drove to Texas this past week to give it to Mitchell. He unloaded it out of sight of Mitchell's home, and drove it up the drive.
WHAT DID HE SAY WHEN HE SAW IT? "What are you doing here? I thought you had a race this weekend. I said I brought you some keys. Maybe you can take me for a ride. A guy like Mr. Mitchell, you could get him a shotgun or a knife with John Wayne's autograph on it, which I've done. It's a deal where that's pretty special. But it just sets on the shelf. I've even got him some "Crawford" scotch, and that's pretty special, but that kind of stuff just sits on the shelf. But it's like now, wow he now has something he can cherish forever. It's not for sale. It's one of the kind of gifts he can use every day. Somebody walked up to him and asked where he was going to park this. And he said, "park it, I'm driving it home." He drives it every day. He's got a four-wheel drive F-150 he takes to his ranch and stuff, but he'll use that to go back and forth to home."
DID YOU GO FOR A RIDE WITH HIM? "No he was busy. But when he got un-busy he drove it around by himself to see what it would do. He was really tickled about the performance of it. He's had Lightnings, and GT40's and Cobras. And he still has them, as toys. But he was really tickled and pleased with the performance of the SVT Lightning."
"Later we took our motorcycles out and run about 100 miles through the Texas canyons and had a great day. When we got back he said, "Well I'll see you in the morning. I'm going home in my new Lightning."
"We got him a plaque for it. It says, "1999 Ford SVT Lightning, built especially for Tom Mitchell by Ford Motor Company. Thanks from all the people at Circle Bar Racing and Rick Crawford." And then at the bottom of the plaque it says two words - "Enjoy it".