Ford notes: Sprint Unlimited

Posted On Wednesday, 11 February 2015 19:00 Written by
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The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season kicks off on Saturday night with the annual Sprint Unlimited where five Ford drivers – Aric Almirola, Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – will be looking to win the race for the first time.

THE FIRST TIME…Ford won the Sprint Unlimited was on Feb. 8, 1987 when Bill Elliott captured what was then known as the Busch Clash. The format that year was a single 20-lap run (50 miles) with no pit stop required. Elliott, who started on the pole in his No. 9 Coors Thunderbird after a blind draw, fell back to sixth on the start after Terry Labonte and Ricky Rudd were involved in an accident on the first lap. On the ensuing restart, Elliott steadily reeled in leader Darrell Waltrip and passed him on lap eight. Elliott led the final 13 laps and won with an average speed of 197.802 mph, a record that still stands for the event. A week later, Elliott won his second Daytona 500.

THE LAST TIME…Ford won the Sprint Unlimited was on Feb. 7, 2004 when Dale Jarrett won the event, which was called the Budweiser Shootout at the time, in his No. 88 UPS Taurus. The race was broken up into two segments – an initial 20-lap run followed by a 50-lapper to the finish – and marked the beginning of Nextel as series sponsor. Jarrett and Kevin Harvick were side-by-side at the white flag, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave Jarrett the push he needed to complete the pass on the outside going through turn one. Even though Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray got into an accident on the backstretch, the race finished under green with Jarrett holding off Earnhardt Jr. for the win.

IN BETWEEN…Ford won the Sprint Unlimited five times, giving it a total of seven all-time victories in the event. The best stretch for Ford in the event undoubtedly came during a three-year winning streak in which Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and Dale Jarrett all reached victory lane from 1998-2000. Jarrett owns three of Ford’s seven victories (1996, 2000, 2004) in the event and on two of those occasions (1996 and 2000) he went on to win the Daytona 500.


1987 – Bill Elliott
1992 – Geoffrey Bodine
1996 – Dale Jarrett
1998 – Rusty Wallace
1999 – Mark Martin
2000 – Dale Jarrett
2004 – Dale Jarrett

-- Press release courtesy of Ford Racing

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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