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Ford Drivers Talk Mustang Memories (Part 2)
Posted by: newsla on Apr 17, 2014 - 06:19 AM
Ford Drivers Talk Mustang Memories (Part 2)

The 50th Anniversary of Mustang is tomorrow, Thursday, April 17, and with that in mind, Ford Racing asked some of its drivers to talk about their favorite Mustang memory. Here are some of their stories, along with another from Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing.


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JAMIE ALLISON, Director, Ford Racing - "My Mustang moment story is simple. As a kid who grew up in Dearborn and went to Fordson High School on Ford Road it was inevitable - all I wanted to do was work at Ford and drive a Mustang. My dream came true in 1987 when I was hired as an engineer at Ford and I bought my first new car, a 1987 Mustang GT convertible with a 225 HP 5.0L. Wow, I was in heaven every day I drove it. Every time I see or drive a Mustang it just reminds me of the feeling of joy a Mustang brings to our customers. That spirit of Mustang is what guides me as we develop performance parts or go racing with Mustang. Happy Birthday, Mustang!"

JOHN FORCE, NHRA Funny Car - "My brother Louie in 1966 came back from Vietnam and he bought a Ford Mustang 289 automatic green fast back. I had just purchased a Lincoln Continental with suicide doors, an older model like a 60 or something. Louie knew I was a hot-rodder so he swapped me for the Mustang and he took the Lincoln because he was a family man. Actually. I swapped the Lincoln and a pick-up for the Mustang. I drove it for years. It wasn’t my first Ford though because in high school I bought a Ford Fairlane. It was British racing green and really a cool car."

"I have owned a number of Mustangs over the years. It is just a great car. It can be a family car or it can be a cruising car or a hot rod. My favorite that I have now is a 1965 red convertible 289 Automatic and it is in my museum in Yorba Linda, California. I love that car and it was the first collector car I ever bought."

SCOTT PRUETT, Telcel Ford EcoBoost Riley prototype - "It’s always difficult for me to say ‘my favorite story,’ because I have so many great stories. With that being said, there’s truly one that comes to mind. It was 1986 and it was the Miami Grand Prix. Willy T. Ribbs was leading and I passed him for the lead with two laps to go. Putting the car in the lead was for sure, as a new driver, as new to Ford as I was, as new to the Mustang as I was, and all the things together it was a pretty sweet moment. I don’t have a favorite Mustang at home yet. Me and a good friend of mine, early, early on we spent a lot of time working on and fixing 1965, ’66 coupes and convertibles. There actually is a ’65, ’66 original race car that I have my eye on. Happy Birthday, Mustang. It’s been a great ride, and many, many more to come."

VAUGHN GITTIN JR., Formula Drift - "My first Mustang memory goes back to around 1986 or 1987 when I was six or seven years old. My father was a wholesaler and he brought a 1970 Mach 1 home on his tow truck. He let me sit in the driver’s seat on the short trip to his shop. I remember standing on the seat and moving the wheel back and forth, making noises like I was driving it. It was the COOLEST thing ever at the time. My dad was pretty awesome for letting me do that, you would probably go to jail today for letting your kid do that. I always reflect on that and wonder if that was the subconscious beginning to my love of the Ford Mustang."

BOB TASCA III, NHRA Funny Car - "Mustang has been a staple throughout my whole life. My first new car was a 1992 high-performance Mustang that had a white interior and a custom motor. It was the first car I ever took down a drag strip. That was at New England Dragway."

"All of my racing wins, in alcohol and nitro, came in Mustangs."

"Two other things really stand out. The first was at a Ford event in 2008 where Parnelli Jones, Carroll Shelby, John Force and I were standing in front of a line of historic Mustangs. The other was being involved in the design and direction of the 2015 Mustang as part of the dealer product committee. We worked on that project for more than three years. The dealer influence on that car is significant. To see that car really being born again has been a really cool, memorable moment for me. I’ll be able to look back decades later and say I had an impact."

BRITTANY FORCE - NHRA Top Fuel - "I have always loved the Mustang. When I turned 16 a Roush Mustang was actually my first car. I loved it and it was a beautiful car. It was a white convertible with a roll bar and black interior. I had four people in that Mustang every time I took it out. I remember when I got the car I was driving my mom home from the dentist and she kept asking me why I was driving so fast. I told her I was driving a normal speed, I was just anxious to get home. What I didn’t know was my dad had picked up the Mustang and was backing it into the driveway when we turned onto our street. He saw me coming up the street and he slammed on the gas and got it to the end of the driveway and he jumped out. There was a big red bow on it and I was just blown away in shock. I was so excited I was going to be driving a Mustang to high school. I would drive a couple of my friends to school every day and we would put the top down and turn up the music. We thought we were so cool.

"I remember we were racing Super Comp at the time and I was going 165 mph down the track. When we got our driver’s license our parents had a rule - we could only drive in a five-mile area around our house. I wasn’t allowed to go on freeways, either. I couldn’t believe I had this beautiful car and I couldn’t take it to the beach. Vonn’s Shoping Center was the farthest I could drive and I remember coming up with a reason to go to Vonn’s every day that summer after I got my license."

COURTNEY FORCE, NHRA Funny Car - "My best Mustang memory is when I went with my dad to pick up his Mustang GT, and I was so excited because I am really into fast cars. He had been looking at the GTs for a long time and we really talked him into it because we thought it was such a cool car. The look of those cars was so awesome and we were so excited he was getting it as a birthday present. I remember being with him in the passenger seat when he drove it home from the dealership. We pulled up to the first stop light and I couldn’t believe it, but he stalled it at that light. He had one of the fastest Mustangs out there, but my dad of all people was one of the slowest drivers."

JUSTIN PAWLAK, Formula Drift - "My best Mustang memory was 2011, the first time I won a Formula Drift event at the Long Beach Grand Prix in my Falken Tire Ford Mustang. That was the day I realized the true potential of the Mustang platform and since then has solidified my love of the car. Although I’m not a long time Mustang enthusiast, I appreciate the history of the Mustang and am amazed at the strong following of Mustang enthusiasts at every event I attend. I’m excited to be a part of that following and am extremely excited for the 50th anniversary of such an iconic American muscle car."

ROBERT HIGHT, NHRA Funny Car - "My favorite Mustang memory was winning the U.S. Nationals in Indy in 2008. Ford had just come out with the Ford Drive One campaign. On my top end interview after I won I was pretty amped up and at the end of the interview I looked right at the camera and said, ‘I drive a Ford Mustang and you should too!’ Everybody went nuts down there from the camera people to all the Ford people. I got a lot of calls from people thanking me for using the Ford Drive One slogan. I had just won the biggest drag race of the year in a Ford Mustang and I was really proud of that. I wanted the fans to know how special that was for me."

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