With less than one day's experience behind the wheel of his new Ford Racing Mustang GT race car, car owner and driver Tom Nastasi, with co-driver Ian James, claimed victory in the opening race of the 2005 Grand-Am Cup season at Daytona International Speedway. The win marks the first race and first win for Ford Racing's Mustang GT race car built off the new 2005 Mustang GT that is currently available in Ford dealerships.
"The car is awesome," said Tom Nastasi, owner of the #5 Ford Racing Mustang GT run by Blackforest Motorsports. "It was delivered to me on Wednesday, and the race was Friday. I was only able to put practice laps on the car, and didn't make any changes. It was that good right out-of-the box."
Ford Racing's development team, a two-car effort run by Multimatic Motorsports, finished in 2nd and 9th place. Two other Ford Racing Mustang GT race cars were campaigned, with 11th place captured by the # 37 JBS Motorsports car with drivers Jim and Bret Seafuse, and 22nd place by the #10 Champion Motorsports car with drivers Brad Lehmann and BJ Zacharias.
"When we started this program our goal was to build and sell identical Mustangs that people could win with and I think we proved that here at Daytona," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. "I'm thrilled that Blackforest Motorsports, one of our first customers, won the season-opening Grand-Am Cup race in one of these cars. It just goes to show that these new Mustangs are very competitive and they give their owners a legitimate shot to win. It wasn't the fastest car on the track, but it won, and this is a great way to kick off Speedweeks for Ford in Daytona."
The race wasn't without excitement right down to the finish when the #5 Blackforest Motorsports car was being chased down by the #55 Multimatic factory team. Ian James drove the first stint in the #5 Ford Racing Mustang and made the brilliant call to just take on gas, and no new tires, during their only pit stop and driver change in the race.
"The engine started to stumble coming down the final stretch, and actually ran out of gas just as we crossed the finish line," said Nastasi. "The team had to push the car into Victory Lane."
"It's a testament to how good this race car is and the development that went into it that we could run the whole race on one set of tires, and win."
The Ford Racing Mustang GT was developed by Ford Racing Performance Parts, in conjunction with Multimatic Motorsports, and will be sold as a complete "ready-to-race" package for the Grand-Am Cup Series.
"We couldn't have asked for a better start for our Mustang competition program," said Primo Goffi, Mustang program manager, Ford Racing Performance Parts. "We're extremely happy with the results of the Grand-Am Cup 200 here at Daytona, especially for our customer teams."
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