FORD FOCUS 5-YEAR SUMMARY: 293 RACES AT 71 TRACKS IN 22 STATES Ford Focus Midget racing under the United States Auto Club banner is five years old and already it has become one of the most affordable and competitive forms of motorsports in ...
FORD FOCUS 5-YEAR SUMMARY: 293 RACES AT 71 TRACKS IN 22 STATES
Ford Focus Midget racing under the United States Auto Club banner is five years old and already it has become one of the most affordable and competitive forms of motorsports in existence!
Conceived as a formulative series to develop talent in a cost-effective, competitive atmosphere, it has done just that as it has spanned 71 different speedways in 22 different states, crowning 26 champions in nine series, culminating in a National Championship the past two seasons as drivers competed for the privilege of having their name engraved on the prestigious Henry Ford Sweepstakes Trophy!
"The growth of the Ford Focus Midget Series has been amazing over the past five seasons," said Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology. "It continues to be a competitive and affordable arena for drivers of all ages to come together and share their passion of racing."
Expansion has been realized each year since the first race in 2002 and 2007 will be no different as Utah is projected as the next region for Ford Focus competition under USAC sanction following a test program during 2006.
In many cases, the Ford Focus Midgets have augmented traditional USAC National programs, often generating memorable competition, as was the case Thanksgiving night at Irwindale, Calif. as Michael Faccinto claimed the 2006 National Championship.
The series has attracted a wide range of participants, from NASCAR stars Kurt Busch, J.J. Yeley and Bobby East, to Indy Car drivers Patrick Carpentier, Michel Jourdain Jr. and the late Paul Dana, to drag racer Gary Scelzi and reknowned sports broadcaster Jack Arute!
Don't forget the distaff involvement, too. Ladies have been a big part of the Ford Focus program, four of them actually posting feature victories! In 2006, one lady traveled from Holland to compete! A significant event occurred in American Motorsports History in August of 2005 when Stephanie Mockler, Alison MacLeod and Erica Santos occupied the podium with a 1-2-3 finish in the USAC Ford Focus Midget race at the Indianapolis Speedrome.
Car entrants have included some elite teams as well, including the famed Wood Brothers of NASCAR and drag racing's Scelzi Motorsports. "I feel being in the USAC Ford Focus series is a great entry-level class," said Gary Scelzi, whose team captured the 2006 National Championship. "Once the initial car is purchased the maintenance is extremely affordable. After a year in the series I realized that cost is inexpensive and the rewards still high. It is an extremely competitive class with minimal cost and close racing. It made me a believer in the series! I've enjoyed the Focus series so much that we are now joining the USAC Midget Series."
Tate Martz of Rushville, Ind., USAC's winningest driver of 2006 with 11 victories in Ford Focus and Midget competition, puts the series in perspective: "As a kid growing up I had a dream to one day compete in midget racing. The affordability of Ford Focus Racing helped me to make this dream become a reality. It is a great honor to be recognized as a champion of the USAC Ford Focus Midget Series."
"We've had 293 events in five years," said National Coordinator Eric Bunn, "and we'll probably add another 100 in 2007. Starting with nine cars in 2002 we've expanded to well over 150 cars in regions across the country, offering tremendous opportunities for young drivers to get started in professional racing at an affordable level. These cars have also directed national attention to the ladies who have exhibited their expertise in a competitive atmosphere. I'm excited about continuing our involvement with Ford Motor Company and appreciate what they have done to help this sport flourish."
"To have a series start from the ground up and come this far is very significant," stated USAC President/CEO Rollie Helmling. "The series participants have enjoyed great potential and success along with the tracks and fans. Ford has been a great partner and supporter and the Ford Focus Midget Engine package has far exceeded every criteria established for it."