Anthony Jr. Breaks Through For Mustang Challenge Victory at Miller Motorsports Park Tooele, UT (21 September 2008) --Ted Anthony Jr. made a dramatic entrance for his debut Ford Racing Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup podium appearance as...
Anthony Jr. Breaks Through For Mustang Challenge Victory at Miller Motorsports Park
Tooele, UT (21 September 2008) --Ted Anthony Jr. made a dramatic entrance for his debut Ford Racing Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup podium appearance as the Kenmore, Washington, native emerged from a fierce four-way battle up front to take the race victory at Miller Motorsports Park in the final event of the 2008 Mustang Challenge season in the No. 9 TC Motorsports-prepared Ford Mustang FR500S.
Mid-Ohio round winner Jamie Slone returned to the Mustang Challenge podium with a second place finish after leading much of the 45-minute race. Joe Lee Middlebrooks rounded out the Miller podium after withstanding tremendous pressure from Mustang Challenge Champion Andrew Caddell, as Middlebrooks crossed the line just .012-seconds ahead of Caddell. Flying Horse Motorsports pilot Dan Aweida converted his ninth place qualifying effort to take his second fifth place finish of the weekend at the 4.468-mile Miller Motorsports Park facility.
The race dynamic changed before the green flag flew as four drivers, including front-row occupants Caddell and Terry Borcheller, were moved to the back of the starting grid after missing the mandatory drivers meeting for Sunday's race. The race saw Joe Lee Middlebrooks lead the pack to the green, with Jamie Slone emerging with the lead after the first lap. As Borcheller was slowed by damage from opening-lap contact, Caddell made a strong start to move up to ninth by the end of the first lap as he delivered a champions drive to the front, moving up into the lead pack of four drivers, which were separated by just two seconds in the closing laps.
Slone and Anthony were the highlight battle as the lead was disputed, with Anthony taking the point and then building a two-second gap over the field to score his first career Mustang Challenge victory.
"I am going to savor this, its something to treasure," said Anthony Jr. as he received congratulations from TC Motorsports' Carlo Sparacio. "I figured I'd try to stay behind Jamie and see if I could find a way by him. We were pretty even, but I was quicker than he was from turns 14-21. We had a really tough race, but I got a run on him and he tried to make it as tough as he could, but I made it stick and just built a gap to the finish."
Slone was hoping to add to his race win collection, but had to settle for second at the checkers.
"That was a crazy start, and I had fun out there but I feel like I got punted out of the lead," said Slone, who carried notes of encouragement from his daughters in his drivers suit during the race. "It's too bad. But I have to say congratulations to Andrew Caddell because he's a deserving champion, a clean racer, and a guy who can get it done on skill alone, so congratulations to him."
After opening the race from an unexpected pole, Middlebrooks kept the fight going through the full race distance, and was thrilled to close the season out on the heights of Miller Motorsports podium on Sunday. Caddell was clearly focused on keeping his perfect record of Mustang podium appearances in tact in the late stages after driving through the field, but Middlebrooks played the final sprint to the finish line just right to earn his first podium by less than a fender.
"This feels fantastic," said Middlebrooks. "It's almost like I am still in a dream. I really didn't think I could hold him off. When he came up on me, I was thinking I was going to end up in fourth. Andrew is a very clean, sportsman racer, and a real champion. I can't say enough about him. Being able to hold him off was amazing. That right there made up for all the ills I had all season, it was a tough year, but that cured it all!"
Jamie Slone picked up the BFGoodrich Tires "Take Control" Award for picking up the most positions during the race. Slone also netted a $250 check for scoring the "Zantrex-3 Insta-Shot" award for leading the most laps on Sunday.
Joe Lee Middlebrooks' .012 second edge over Andrew Caddell netted him the Barbasol "Closest Shave" award in the Hypersport-prepared Metro Motor Sport Mustang.
Rob Kinnan collected the Sunoco "Setting the Standard Award" after showing teamwork, sportsmanship, and a strong measure of both camaraderie and competitiveness.
Thank you to all Ford Racing Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup sponsors, partners, staff, and participants for a tremendous inaugural season. The series would also like to thank the volunteers and corner workers who made every race possible all year long. Thank you, and see you in 2009.