Caddell Wins Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Race 1 at Homestead Homestead, FL-- (14 March 2009) -- 2008 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Champion Andrew Caddell got his championship defense off to a strong start on Saturday as he won the opening...
Caddell Wins Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Race 1 at Homestead
Homestead, FL-- (14 March 2009) -- 2008 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Champion Andrew Caddell got his championship defense off to a strong start on Saturday as he won the opening round of the 2009 season in the Hot Rod-liveried Mustang FR500S at Homestead Miami Speedway. Polesitter Joe Lee Middlebrooks made the second Mustang Challenge podium appearance of his career with his run to second place, as Jim Click Racing's Mike McGovern took third position in the 45-minute event. Steve Phillips and D Rick Edwards both had strong runs to take fourth and fifth at the finish.
Starting from the front row, Caddell made the most of the race start to snatch the lead from Middlebrooks as the 18 car field made a clean start, with three-wide racing along the back straight in the opening laps. ?But before the race settled into a pace, a caution for an incident involving the cars of George Winkler, Zach Lutz, and Brad Adams entries slowed the field in the early stages of the race. After a clean restart, the field set back into a rapid race pace, running clean and green to the checkered flag as Caddell held on to the lead to start the season atop the points once again.
"This win is probably even more special after we lost Larry Miller in the off-season," said Caddell after taking the fourth win of his Mustang Challenge career. "Because we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him and Miller Motorsports Park. I talked to Terry Borcheller before the start, and he asked if I was going to put anything he taught me last year to use today. And I did-I got a good jump at the start and the car held the outside line there in turn three and I was able to get to the front. Joe Lee (Middlebrooks) raced me really clean. I want to thank Capaldi Racing and Kauffman Racing, they gave me a great car today, so this is for the team."
The pole position was a career-first for Middlebrooks, who was hoping to convert it into his first win, but he knows he'll have another shot at a win on Sunday for the second round of the two-race weekend opener.
"I have to say, my heart sunk a little bit when he got in front of me," said Middlebrooks about Caddell's move to the front. "You try, you try, you think, you plan, and still, he got me! It was a good race, and I'm glad to be up here on the podium again. Hopefully we can do well again tomorrow!"
"It was really slippery out there, so I had to be really careful about my approach speeds so I just backed it off a little bit," said McGovern, who finished third in the 2008 Mustang Challenge championship standings with Jim Click Racing. "I just want to thank the Jim Click Racing team--Mike, Jim, the whole team and the guys at Hyper Sport are just fantastic. I really appreciate all their hard work, and it's really good to be here!"
The slate will be set clean for round two, as the field will be set in the 9:40 AM qualifying session in advance of a 12:15 PM race start.
A pair of special awards were given in the post-race ceremonies, as James Hunt picked up the BFGoodrich "Take Control" award for gaining the most positions in the race with his move from 13th to 9th at the finish.
Carlo Speracio picked up the Mustang Challenge "Setting the Standard" Award TC Motorsports' dedication and support of the Mustang Challenge series. The team traveled over 4,000 miles to make it to the Homestead event, with D Rick Edwards leading the team with his fifth place finish, as Ted Anthony finished in 12th. ?
Mustang Challenge would like to thank the efforts of the Homestead Miami Speedway corner workers.