Series season opener news 2009-03-04

Mustang Challenge Homestead-Bound to Start 2009 Season 18 Entries for double-header season opener Tooele, UT-- (4 March 2009) -- The 2009 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge season will get off to a fast start next weekend, with 18 entries already ...

Mustang Challenge Homestead-Bound to Start 2009 Season
18 Entries for double-header season opener

Tooele, UT-- (4 March 2009) -- The 2009 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge season will get off to a fast start next weekend, with 18 entries already posted for the 2009 double-header kick-off at Homestead Miami Speedway on March 14-15. The Mustang Challenge event will be staged as part of the Grand-Am Sports Car Challenge Fan Appreciation Weekend, which is giving race fans the opportunity to attend the race free of charge.

Utilizing the Ford Mustang FR500S, which is the first-ever Ford production-line built race car, Mustang Challenge is sanctioned by Grand-Am and is a support series to major professional road racing events across North America. The Series enjoyed a strong inaugural season in 2008 as the partnership between Miller Motorsports Park and Ford Racing saw the series stage dramatic events over the course of the 8-round championship.

Mustang Challenge will build on that strong debut year with a 2009 season schedule which features 10 rounds of racing over eight race weekends, including a series-first race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May. The season-opening visit to the oval-based 2.3-mile Homestead Miami Speedway infield road course south of Miami is also the first in Mustang Challenge history.

With a racing platform and a rules package designed to keep costs contained and maintain the focus on the drivers, Mustang Challenge has attracted a wide scope of racers to the fun. From young up-and-coming racers looking to learn how to make the most of production-based race machines, to passionate Mustang enthusiasts who graduated from the Miller Performance School, Mustang Challenge has a diverse paddock of participants making the most of the cost-effective platform. Several drivers who were enthusiastic participants in the 2008 season have signed on to race again in 2009, with some new names also appearing on the entry list.

"I am very excited about the second season for the Mustang Challenge," said Greg Miller, Chief Executive Officer, Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. "I believe the fact that so many drivers are returning from our inaugural season illustrates how exciting, fun, affordable and well-run this series is."

The season opener comes less than one month after the passing of one the series greatest supporters, Larry H. Miller. The Mustang Challenge, which awards the champion a beautiful bespoke Miller Cup trophy, is just one of the many legacies of Mr. Miller, who made the commitment to support the partnership with Ford and Ford Racing and establish the only international race series operated by a race track.

"Everyone at Miller Motorsports Park was saddened by Mr. Miller's passing, but as we look ahead to the start of the second season of the Mustang Challenge, we are honored to carry on the tradition he has established," said Mustang Challenge Series Director Lynda Randall.

2008 Mustang Challenge Champion Andrew Caddell will be back for the season-opening races at Homestead after getting the call to race the Hot Rod-liveried Mustang FR500s for Kaufmann Racing. Caddell was strong in his KONI Challenge race debut at Daytona, which he earned as part of his Ford Racing Champions Package, as he overcame a procedural penalty to race his way into the top ten.

"I look forward to defending my championship in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge," said Caddell after being named to drive the No. 1 machine. "The series was fantastic last year and is promising to be even more competitive and successful in 2009. I am even more excited to be teaming up with car owner Chris Kaufmann for the 2009 season, his experience with over 40 years in racing and his long background with Ford Racing will give us every opportunity to make the 2009 season successful."

Some new names are also on the list for Homestead, including former karting champ and sprint racer Zach Lutz, who will be making his Mustang Challenge debut at Homestead along with Daytona Prototype racer Rob Finley, Jay Brown of Morgantown, West Virginia, and Jason VonKluge in the Green Filter Racing Mustang. In addition, SPEEDTV.Com writer and road racer James Hunt will be taking on the Mustang Challenge in race 1 of the Homestead weekend.

The race weekend will get started with Practice on Thursday, March 12 in the afternoon, with Friday setting the stage with qualifying for race 1, with the first race of the year slated for Saturday, as Sunday will be a busy one with both qualifying and racing on deck for round 2 of the 2009 championship.

-credit: www.mustangchallenge.com

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Series Road racing
Drivers Jay Brown , James Hunt , Andrew Caddell , Zach Lutz