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Feb 18, 2014 - 07:10 PM
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This Week in Ford Racing: NASCAR (Special Edition; The Race that Changed My Life ...)
Posted by: newsla on Feb 18, 2014 - 07:04 PM
This Week in Ford Racing: NASCAR (Special Edition; The Race that Changed My Life ...)

Sometimes there isn't much drivers agree upon, but one thing that is pretty unanimous within the garage is that winning a Daytona 500 is a life and career-changing event. But for those that haven't won the Great American Race, we wanted to know what race to this point in their career had been a life-changer. Some of the answers may surprise you.


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Continuing a week long series are the Roush Fenway Racing trio, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

CARL EDWARDS, No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – “My first pavement race was in the USAC Silver Crown series at Phoenix and the last-chance race was 10 laps and I think I started 23rd or something like that and I had to finish in the top-six. The last lap I passed one of my heroes, Jack Hewitt in turn three and finished fourth in the race and made the show. That race changed everything. People started calling me and asking me to drive their race cars after that. That one race, that 10-lap race in 2001 changed everything for me. It was on ESPN I think and it was a really cool race. I will always remember that.”

GREG BIFFLE, No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “If I had to pick one race it would be winning my first Cup race at Daytona in the July race. Everybody’s first Cup win is kind of an iconic moment but also it was a restrictor plate win and in my opinion, not everyone’s, but in my opinion those don’t quite carry as much power or cache as a downforce type of race track. It is more right place, right time, right lane, right push. I almost said my first win at Michigan because of that. That came the year after my Daytona win and that one was an iconic moment for me. To win on a driver type of race track where you have to beat all the guys and compete was a big deal. Then we won at Homestead later that year as well, so I won two races that season. That was a “you’ve made it” moment at that point when you are winning at the top-level.”

“My trip to Winter Hear in Tucson, Arizona, is what launched me in this sport. I saved my money all year, begged, borrowed and stole to get there. I borrowed money from my parents and got some money from a sponsor that was local to Washington and they don’t want to sponsor someone to run in Arizona, but I talked him into giving me some money so I could afford to go down and do it. I went down there and won two of the three races and finished fourth in the other one. That was back in 1995-96 and then I did it again in 1997-98. That event was televised and Benny Parsons and Bob Jenkins were doing the TV so I because friends with Benny and he is the one that noticed I could drive. Half the field were cars that I had built. He compared me to Ernie Ervin and said I knew a lot about the car and could drive, like Rusty Wallace. That is where the drivers came from, it was a transition era. Then I went and found Kurt Busch. Jack asked me if there were any other guys out there like me and so they had me go do the scouting and I went to Toledo, Ohio, and there were 12 guys there and I handpicked Kurt. I told them he had a lot of car control and could drive. Then we raced the Truck Series together and then there was the shuffle in the Cup Series and he leapfrogged Nationwide and went Cup racing. A lot of people thought I had heartburn over that but I really didn’t because I had a sponsor and a path and I had helped Kurt get started. I was proud of that. The rest is history.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Nationwide Insurance Ford Fusion – “For me it was in 2007. We won a lot of races up through the years but in 2007 came the biggest win for me. It was two wins in the same night actually. There were sprint cars, midgets and silver crown cars racing out in a USAC race out in Phoenix. We won the Silver Crown and Sprint Car race in the same night. Tony Stewart had his cars out there and it was the biggest race of the year. It was early in the year, so not many other series’ were running at that time. That was a huge race for us to win, two really big ones. About a month or so after that, one of Tony’s drivers got hurt and since his cars were out in that race and we won both races and they had two cars in both races, he had seen first hand what I had done and they asked me to drive for them. That is what got me going, got me running on more asphalt in 2007. He helped talk to Jack (Roush) for me and really got me over to Roush Fenway. I would say that one weekend, that one night, was really big.”

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