Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Well-Represented at Daytona Tooele, UT--11 January 2010-- While the countdown for the 2010 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge still has over 50 days to go until the field takes the green flag at Homestead Miami Speedway,...
Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Well-Represented at Daytona
Tooele, UT--11 January 2010-- While the countdown for the 2010 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge still has over 50 days to go until the field takes the green flag at Homestead Miami Speedway, there is still a lot of action taking place as the 2010 racing season kicks off in the new year.
This weekend's "Roar Before the 24" three-day test at Daytona International Speedway saw a significant presence from a variety of Mustang Challenge drivers, teams, and alumni racers as the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 and newly re-named Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) series were both in action on the 3.56-mile oval-based road circuit.
Leading that list was two-time Mustang Challenge Champion Andrew Caddell, who will race with 2009 CTSCC Champion Ken Wilden after winning the seat as part of his Champions Package from Ford Racing and Miller Motorsports Park. The duo will contest the Fresh From Florida 200 in a Ford Mustang FR500C prepared by the championship-winning Rehagan Racing squad, and were right on the pace in testing to open up the season as Ford pursues a second consecutive Manufacturer Championship.
Caddell made two CTSCC starts in 2009, including one at Daytona, as he looks to put his previous Mustang experience to good use to start the 2010 season off with a flourish.
"I'm feeling much more comfortable with the car than I was at this point last year," said Caddell. "I'm able to be more aggressive in the corners than I was before, and I'm really excited about our opportunity because I think we are going to be very competitive. You can't be sure what to exactly expect with some of the new cars out there and we will have a better idea where everyone is when we come back at the end of the month, but I'm just really looking forward to the race."
"Andrew adjusted to this car really fast--he's just a very quick driver, no question," said Wilden. "We were mostly concentrating on working through some procedure practice--making sure we are perfect with our pit lane entries and our driver changes. You have to have a flawless race to win at Daytona so we were just focusing on some of the small details that can make a big difference. Everything we've thrown at him, he's passed with flying colors!"
It wasn't just the champ who was preparing for the race as scores of drivers and teams with Mustang Challenge race experience were putting in laps on the famed high-banks of Daytona. TC Motorsports was in action with the team's two-car assault for the 2010 CTSCC season, with Mustang Challenge veterans Ted Anthony Jr. and D. Rick Edwards teaming up in the same entry.
Compass 360R principal Karl Thomson, who first noticed the talents of Zach Lutz while racing against him in Mustang Challenge competition, was impressed with what he saw from Lutz at Daytona as Lutz has signed for a full-season CTSCC effort with 360R. Lutz is also expected to contest the season opening Mustang Challenge race at Homestead as he continues to grow his experience in GRAND-AM competition.
Besides Thomson, several pilots who made guest appearances in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge "Media Car" last year were also hard at work in Daytona. Andy Lally will look to defend his 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona GT Class victory this year, with CTSCC regular Jack Roush Jr. also targeting another strong season in a Ford Mustang this year. 2008 Mustang Challenge race-winner Terry Borcheller was putting his new Daytona Prototype Action Express entry through its paces during the three day test, and kept his schedule full as he also shared a CTSCC GS-Class entry with fellow StableOne pilot Andrew Hendricks.
"This has been a blast for me," said Hendricks, who is also looking to keep active in the Mustang Challenge in 2010. "Getting to run on this track has been a dream of mine for some time, so I'm just very excited to be here. I've been karting and keeping in shape to be ready for this and things have gone very well down here. All the experience that I got in Mustang Challenge has been a huge help for me to prepare to move up in GRAND-AM, and now I'm just looking forward to coming back here and racing!"
Mustang Challenge racer and Ford dealer Jim Click was also hard at work during the Daytona test, with both Jim Click and Mike McGovern doing driving duty in the Jim Click Racing Ford Mustang FR500C machines. Click raced the 2009 Daytona event with Caddell, and has been a longtime stalwart for the Ford Mustang on race day. Charlie Putman and Gunter Schaldach, who both have Mustang Challenge race starts on their racing resumes were also in action during the three-day test.