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NASCAR WCUP: 100th Anniversary of Ford Racing: The Great Race, Daytona 500

Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., - Who will be the next NASCAR Winston Cup driver to pull into Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway?

Will he be with a first-year team, like Dale Jarrett in 1996? Will he be driving - very, very slowly - a car with a badly damaged front end, like David Pearson in 1976? Will he be a winless veteran filling in for an injured driver, like Tiny Lund in 1963? Will he be a champion from another series, like Mario Andretti in 1967 or A.J. Foyt in '72? Will he be a past Winston Cup champion like Jarrett in 1996 and again last year?

Will he be driving a Ford Motor Company product, like the aforementioned drivers and like Fred Lorenzen in 1965, Cale Yarborough in '68, LeeRoy Yarbrough in '69, Bobby Allison in '78, Bill Elliott in '85 and again in '87, and Davey Allison in '92?

Ford Motor Company - Ford and Mercury divisions - has won the Daytona 500 13 times starting with Lund's victory in 1963. Ford swept the top five spots that year. Lund, who was filling in for the injured Marvin Panch, was followed across the finish line by Lorenzen, Ned Jarrett, Nelson Stacy and Dan Gurney - all in '63 Ford Fairlanes. (See accompanying story.)

Lorenzen, who collected six top-five finishes in the Great American Race between 1961 and '67, earned his only victory in '65, leading a procession of 13 Ford Motor Company products - 11 Fords and two Mercurys - to the checkered flag in a rain-shortened race. Car owners Holman-Moody and Bud Moore both put two cars in the top four.

Andretti, winner of USAC championships in 1965 and '66, traded open wheels for fenders - specifically a Ford Fairlane - and won in '67. Cale Yarborough collected the Wood Brothers' second Daytona 500 victory when he won in a Mercury in 1968. One of LeeRoy Yarbrough's seven victories in 1969 was in the Daytona 500 - in a Ford.

Foyt, who succeeded Andretti as USAC champion in 1967, won at Daytona in '72, driving a Wood Brothers-prepared Ford. David Pearson would earn the Wood Brothers' fourth victory in the Great American Race when he managed to coax his Mercury across the finish line after he and Richard Petty made contact with each other - and more - coming out of the last turn on the last lap of the 1976 Daytona 500. (See accompanying story.)

Bobby Allison won in 1978, piloting a Bud Moore Ford Thunderbird - Moore's only Daytona 500 victory, and Thunderbird's first. Bill Elliott, who had collected three of his four Winston Cup victories in 1984, opened a record-tying '85 by winning the Daytona 500 in a Thunderbird, his first of 11 superspeedway victories that season. Awesome Bill from Dawsonville would win the Great American race again two years later.

Davey Allison, who finished second to his father, Bobby, in the 1988 Daytona 500, drove a Ford Thunderbird to victory in '92, the first of owner Robert Yates' three Daytona 500 victories. Jarrett, in the very first race for Yates' No. 88 team, debuted his Thunderbird with a victory in the 1996 Daytona 500 (see accompanying story), and then, in a Yates-prepared Taurus, won again last year.

So, who will win in 2001? Jarrett, again? Jeff Burton, who was second in last year's race and third in the championship quest? Rusty Wallace, who won four times and led the circuit with nine poles in 2000? Mark Martin? Ricky Rudd? Jeremy Mayfield? Matt Kenseth? Brett or Todd Bodine? Elliott Sadler? Kurt Busch? Andy Houston? Robert Pressley? Ricky Craven? Jimmy Spencer? Hut Stricklin? They will, after all, be driving Fords.

Text Provided By Ford

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