Anthony Jr. Celebrates Mustang Challenge Victory at Barber Motorsports Park Race entry grows to 22 for Sunday's round two... Birmingham, AL-- (18 April 2009) Ted Anthony made a clean sweep in round 3 of the 2009 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge ...
Anthony Jr. Celebrates Mustang Challenge Victory at Barber Motorsports
Race entry grows to 22 for Sunday's round two...
Birmingham, AL-- (18 April 2009) Ted Anthony made a clean sweep in round 3 of the 2009 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge championship at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday, converting the pole position he won in the morning to a race victory in the afternoon to score maximum championship points as he crossed the line ahead of Andrew Caddell after the duo battled closely through the entire 45-minute race distance.
Tony Buffomante started from sixth on the grid, but brought his Strang Motorsports machine across the line in third after passing hometown racer Joe Lee Middlebrooks late in the event as Pratt Cole rounded out the top-five finishers.
The race, staged as part of the 45th Anniversary Celebrations of the Ford Mustang, ran under green flag conditions for the entire race distance, and featured several battles through the 21-car field, starting from the very first corner of competition.
While the charts will show that he started and finished in first, the race was far from straight forward for Anthony, who has now won three of the last four Mustang Challenge Races. At the drop of the green, Caddell made a strong surge from the outside of the front row to take the lead cleanly in the downhill turn one left hander. Anthony fought right back, going side by side into the corkscrew-like corner nearly side by side before Caddell emerged as the clear leader by the end of lap one. The two stayed in close competition as Caddell was shadowed by Anthony, who made his move on lap 13 and made it stick to grow his lead to the checkered flag.
"The TC Motorsports guys gave me a great car over the long runs," said Anthony. "At the end of the race, the car was perfect. It was so balanced, and I could put the car wherever I wanted and I just took care of those BFGoodrich Tires to take the win. We were going see-saw back and forth there--he was quicker in some places, and I was faster in some others, but then he made a small mistake and went off and I was right there to take the spot and made it stick. I could get used to this!"
Caddell looked to be showing a replay of his round 1 victory, moving to the front from the outside front row and taking the lead, but the champ had to settle for second place, matching his result from the Mustang Challenge visit to Barber Motorsports Park in 2008.
"I got a good start, and I'm starting to like the outside a little bit more!" said Caddell. "I got beat on the outside a couple times last year, but now I'm learning how to make the most of it this year. He (Anthony) ran a really good race and was keeping right there with me, and I just overshot the keyhole that lap and he was right there to get by me. It was a good race. He tried me one time when we were going into the kink and I though we were going to come together but he raced me clean. We just need to work on some things with this car for tomorrows race so we can be a little bit stronger here tomorrow."
The final podium spot was taken by Tony Buffomante, who was anxious to move up after his qualifying session was less than satisfying as he started 6th on the grid.
"I learned a couple of things last year and am trying to put them to good use this season," said Buffomante. "I think he was having a problem, so when I caught him I started to go one way, then came back over to make the pass. We know that in Mustang Challenge, it's all about getting a great exit and that was key for the pass. I just want to thank Mike, Barb, and Bill, they've been working so hard and it's great to get back up on the podium again!"
The battle for the lead wasn't the only one that was captivating the gathered crowds of Mustang fans. As Grand Marshals Scott Pruett and Tommy Kendall made for one of the most championship-intensive PA booths in the sport as the two called the race, the clean and green laps saw several battles emerge.
Pratt Cole and Mike Harvison raced so closely for fifth, that the two formed what nearly looked to be one big orange Mustang as the two similarly-liveried machines raced door handle to door handle for lap after lap before Cole emerged to take the position. Harvison subsequently fell back when he was the victim of contact, but then recovered to stage another close duel with Dan Aweida as the two came home 8th and 9th.
Sunday's race 4 of the championship season will be even more competitive, as experienced racer Paul Brown has entered the event to drive the SpeedWorks R&D machine with backing from K & N as the field grows to 22 Ford Mustang entries.
"I've driven a lot of different cars in my career, but it always seems that I end up coming back to the Mustang, so I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow," said Brown. "This is the first time that I've driven something with my dad (Kenny) engineering, so I'm excited about it. This is a great event, and I like that tomorrow, it will come down to talent and set-up. Of course, I've never driven on this track, so I'm going to have to learn the car and the corners at the same time, but this is a great event and I'm just really looking forward to the race tomorrow."
SpeedWorks R&D was awarded the GoPro "Be A Hero" award for the team's sportsmanship and dedication to the Mustang Challenge Series. SpeedWorks R&D has signed an exciting young new driver in Ben Crosland, and also prepared the Mustang FR500S machines for Grand Marshals Scott Pruett and Tommy Kendall to drive for VIP guests during the weekend.
Pratt Cole Takes Control
Pratt Cole scored the BFGoodrich Take Control Award with his run after qualifying 14th and coming home 5th in the 45-minute race. The cagey veteran was happy to pick up his award from BFGoodrich Tires, but is hoping not to win the honor in Sunday's race. "I hope I qualify better tomorrow and can start up front!"
Roush's Strong Effort:
Jack Roush Jr. scored 7th in his Mustang Challenge debut driving the ROUSH Performance-liveried No. 00 "Media Car," and picked up a bespoke Media Trophy from Mustang Challenge for his strong effort in the race.
"I just want to thank Ford Racing for inviting me here for the race and I had a blast out there today, this is a really fun series," said Roush Jr., who is a front-running Mustang campaigner in the Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge series. "Capaldi Racing did a great job preparing the car for me. The spring and tire package was the biggest thing for me to adjust to, but the car kept getting better as the race went on, and I had a lot of fun today."
The No. 00 will be piloted by Steven Cole Smith in Sunday's race.