* Reunited 1967 Mercury and 1970 Ford Championship Trans-Am Teams
* Bud Moore, Parnelli Jones, George Follmer, Dan Gurney, Ed Leslie and David Pearson meet fans at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca
* Bud Moore Trans-Am Cougar and three Boss 302 Mustangs will race again
MONTEREY, Calif., August 2, 2003 - Racing fans can be excused for checking their calendars when they attend the 30th annual Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Aug. 15-17, at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. They might think it's 1970 all over again, or 1967, as the Bud Moore Trans-Am teams reunite for the first time in more than 30 years.
In its early days after its establishment in 1966, the Trans-Am series pitted "pony cars" - the new Ford Mustang and its competitors - in hard-fought competition for bragging rights among Detroit's manufacturers. >From 1967 through 1970, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler and American Motors engaged in competition that has rarely been equaled in motor racing, pitting the best of car builders and drivers in a series of road racing events across the U.S. and Canada.
One of the most formidable teams in this era was headed by the legendary Bud Moore, who had built a celebrated reputation as a winner in NASCAR. Retained by Ford Motor Company to take on Trans-Am in 1967, Moore assembled a team of Cougars that very nearly won the championship for Mercury, ultimately losing to Carroll Shelby's Mustang team in the season's final race at Kent, Washington. Both the Moore team and the Shelby team won four races in the 1967 season, but total points including second-place finishes favored the Mustangs.
The 1967 Cougar team included drivers Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Ed Leslie and David Pearson - all of whom will be present at Monterey - and the late Peter Revson. The team's reunion at Laguna Seca will include one of the famous burgundy and silver Cougars, an entry in the Historic Races that is owned by Ross Myers of Worchester, Pennsylvania.
At Ford's request, Bud Moore turned his attention to Mustang in the 1969 and 1970 seasons, concentrating on a two-car effort with drivers Parnelli Jones and George Follmer in Boss 302 Mustangs. In an interview with journalist Stan Creekmore, Moore said, "Ford wouldn't allow the Mustang to run against the Cougar in 1968 and they never won a race, so they called me in late that year to observe and then report back to them. They wanted me to take over Ford's Trans-Am effort in 1969."
The battle among Detroit's manufacturers reached a crescendo in 1970, producing what is generally called the best season of racing in this era. It was certainly the best season for Bud Moore, as his team won the Manufacturer's Championship for Mustang (there was no drivers' championship in Trans-Am until 1972).
No major league baseball player has a season average of .545, and no top NASCAR team has won more than half the races in a season. But Bud Moore's Ford team did just that in 1970, taking six victories in 11 races. Jones takes credit for five of those wins, beginning at Laguna Seca and continuing at Lime Rock, Connecticut; Lexington, Ohio; Riverside, California and Kent, Washington, while Follmer led the team to victory at Loudon, New Hampshire. Illustrative of the intense competition in Trans-Am, even with those victories, the team won the Championship by a single point.
Moore continued in his interview with Stan Creekmore, "Parnelli was a heck of a competitor and still is. Follmer, he was a little different kind of person from Parnelli. He was a good competitor and the two got along well. Follmer knew he was number two and sometimes I know he thought Jones was getting better stuff. But, he won his share of races. We never gave Parnelli anything better, they both got the same equipment. Just the fact that we won races, sat on poles, set records...that made it all fun. I really wish I'd hung onto one of my pony cars. All that is left are the memories."
Memories will surely come flooding back with the presence of three of the team's famous Mustangs in the reunion. George Follmer's stunning red, black and white Boss 302 Mustang owned by Vic Edelbrock of Torrance, California will represent the 1969 season, and two of the famous "school bus yellow" Boss Mustangs will recall the 1970 season. They are George Follmer's No. 16 car also owned by Ross Myers, and Parnelli Jones' No. 15 car owned by Harry Lipetz of Vancouver, British Columbia. All of these cars and the 1967 Cougar will be racing at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, August 16, in "The Historic Trans-Am" race that features 1966-1972 cars.
Seeing the reunited Bud Moore team will provide enthusiasts a memorable experience in addition to the specially-constructed "100 Years of Ford Racing Heritage" display Ford is creating for this year's Historics. More than 11,000 square feet of exhibits will be highlighted by Ford's Le Mans winning GT 40s, early racers, engine displays, biographical profiles and much more.
Racing Legends autograph sessions will be held Saturday, August 16, 10:00 -11:00 a.m. and 2:30 -3:30 p.m., and Sunday, August 17, 1:00 -2:00 p.m. Fans can obtain free 11x14 "hero cards" from the Ford Racing display and have the legendary Ford drivers autograph them. The cards feature the 21 cars in the Ford Racing exhibit. A limited number of tickets will be available at the Ford Racing display on Friday and Saturday for those interested in obtaining autographs from racing greats. Autograph seekers must obtain these tickets prior to the autograph sessions.
"With its fantastic wealth of historic race cars and legendary drivers, Ford is presenting racing enthusiasts a rare overview of its 100-year heritage in motorsports," said Steve Earle, chairman of the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races. "Reuniting the legendary Bud Moore and his storied team of drivers will be one of the highlights of the weekend. Watching these significant Ford cars driven in Saturday's Parade Laps by the Moore team will be fabulous, as will their participation in the race on Saturday afternoon. It's what the Rolex Monterey Historics are all about."
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the "Monterey Historics" at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The event pays tribute to motor racing history, historic automobiles and the people who made them. Each year, hundreds of the finest historic sports and racing cars are entered in 14 separate races over the two days that span nearly every era of motorsports history. More than 40,000 visitors worldwide attend the Historic Races, which supports the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula's (SCRAMP) contribution to local charities. Last year, SCRAMP made donations to 70 Central Coast charitable and service organizations.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is the world's second-largest automaker with approximately 350,000 employees and operations in more than 200 markets on six continents. Its automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Credit, Hertz and Quality Care. The company's world headquarters is in Dearborn, Mich. Ford Motor Company observed its 100th anniversary on June 16, 2003. Additional information can be found on the company's Web site at www.ford.com.