By Chris Syfert - Special to Motorsport.com On October 10, 1901, Henry Ford defeated Alexander Winton in a ten mile race in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Henry had no experience in racing and had to come from behind to win. The race was Henry Ford's...
By Chris Syfert - Special to Motorsport.com
On October 10, 1901, Henry Ford defeated Alexander Winton in a ten mile race in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Henry had no experience in racing and had to come from behind to win. The race was Henry Ford's only race in the driver's seat. More significantly, the win attracted enough attention for Henry to recruit financial backing to start his own auto manufacturing company in 1903.
The Ford racing heritage is older than Ford Motor Company!
Ford Motor Company recognized this huge milestone with a weekend celebration October 13th and 14th at Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum adjacent to the Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. An impressive group of both cars and stars in the form of major racing celebrities was gathered for the event.
The Greenfield Village grounds provided a spacious and fitting setting for nearly 200 racing vehicles to be displayed. There were sprint cars, midgets, stock cars, Indy cars, Formula 1 cars, sports cars, drag racers, and race trucks all arranged in their respective categories and nearly chronological order. The collection came from all over the country and included six GT-40's and a selection of cars and trucks from the Roush collection in nearby Livonia, Michigan. The original 1901 "Sweepstakes" was on display and ran demonstration laps each day.
Special guests were George Follmer, Bob Glidden, Dan Gurney, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Parnelli Jones, Tom Kendall, Don Nicholson, Carroll Shelby, Lyn St. James, Jackie Stewart and Glen and Leonard Wood. The fans were treated to autograph sessions and Q & A sessions with the special racing guests. The relaxed atmosphere of the Q & A sessions, hosted by Mike Joy, allowed the fans to see the real personalities behind the stars' names. The Q & A sessions were held throughout the day with three or four of the guests in each session. The fans filled the large tent and were given the entire time for their questions. The guests spoke of their long associations with Ford and retold much racing history with first hand recollections. One especially lively panel included Dan Gurney and Jackie Stewart trading barbs about beating each other in Formula 1 races in the 1960's. Dan said his favorite race was Spa in 1967 when Stewart finished second. Jackie said his favorite race was, "Any time I beat Dan Gurney."
In commemoration of the anniversary, Edsel Ford presented each of the honored guests with a trophy replica of the "Sweepstakes" 1901 race winning car. Historian of Ford racing, Leo Levine was on hand autographing copies of his new book, "Ford: The Dust and the Glory, Volume 2." The title derived from quote by Henry Ford's wife on the occasion of the 1901 race win, "He his covered in dust and glory."