Video: Petty Paces Daytona in 2011 Mustang GT

2010 Daytona 500 Pace Car

Carl Edwards & Kasey Kahne chat
w/ Richard Petty (From foxsports.com)

For one lap yesterday at the Daytona International Speedway, a 72 year old driver led the NASCAR pack.

Racing legend Richard Petty was back in a familiar position at the start of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. But rather than strapping into a ride stenciled with the fabled #43 and doing 200 laps on the Daytona oval, Petty piloted the pace car, a 2011 Ford Mustang GT.

Richard Petty Motorsports, which recently acquired Yates Racing, has returned to the Ford Racing family for the 2010 Sprint Cup season.

Prior to the race, the record holding seven time winner of the Daytona 500 told fordracing.com:

“There’s nothing like the Daytona 500,” Petty said. “It’s one of the biggest races in the world and to be a part of it in this way is the next-best thing to actually being able to race. Who knows, maybe I’ll just stay out there for a few laps and see what those guys have got.”

At the end of the first lap, the green flag waved, and the field split around the pace car. King Richard eased the Mustang down pit row, and the strange race that followed, marred by long stoppages for track problem repairs, was underway.

2/25/10 update: Here’s a video from Ford Racing of the pace lap, and comments from Richard Petty – pretty cool!

NASCAR Rebirth: 2011 GT Pacing Daytona 500 on Sunday

Roush Fenway NNS No. 16 Mustang

Roush Fenway No. 16 Mustang (From aussiev8.com)

Even before Roush Fenway Racing unveiled their entry into the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series, buzz was building about Ford’s official release of the deets and specs on the 2011 Mustang GT. When the presser was held for the No. 16 Con-way Freight Mustang this past October, it was clear that Ford’s marketing team was working overtime with its FRPP division and racing partners, such as Roush Fenway, to breathe new life into the Mustang brand. There was a potential Catch-22 though: would the CIA-level secretive work of Ford’s design and engineering teams match the enthusiasm of the PR effort? Muscle car junkies around the world waited for the word. Think of it this way:

Cue up your favorite road warrior music, and close your eyes for a moment. Take a deep, dual-exhaust cleansing breath. You’re standing in line at a world-class amusement park, waiting for your turn to board the newest and most awesome roller coaster ride on the property. Remove those earrings, eyeglasses, and loose jewelry. Anticipation, anticipation. You’re itching to be shot out of the barrel of a cannon. Now, open your eyes. It’s 2010.

Your ride has arrived — and it’s pacing the kickoff of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season this Sunday in Daytona…

Green Wheel Weights?

Image from ecocenter.org
Image from ecocenter.org

Absolutely! No, they’re not a special color to match green Mustangs. But they are environmentally friendly! Most of the weights used to balance wheels these days are made out of lead. As anybody who’s ever hit a pothole knows, those lead weights can fall off your wheels. This means that not only are your wheels unbalanced, but there’s a big ol’ chunk of lead sitting on the street. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you realize how many millions of cars are on the road everyday, and how many of those are hitting potholes and losing weights.

What Kind of Spark Plug is Best for My Mustang?

Component Confusion Part I: Spark-ing Controversy

Question: How do I know if I need to upgrade my spark plugs?

Answer:

NGK Iridium IX Performance Spark Plugs
NGK Iridium IX Performance Spark Plugs

These days it seems there are ten different spark plug variants for every one vehicle application – what’s up with that?  What happened to the days when a car had more cylinders than spark plug options?  When I started researching this topic I soon found myself up to my eyeballs in new and different spark plug technologies and pages upon pages explaining how they would indeed make your car better, faster, and stronger.  Many brain cells were sacrificed trying to distill the abundance of information into something concise and effective but fear not!  Those little neurons didn’t die in vain!

Stay in Touch With E-mail Updates

Are you going crazy trying to keep up with the dozens of sites you and all your friends are on? Do you check pages four or five times a day? Do you live in fear of missing an update? If that’s the case, let us ease your mind and lighten your load a little. Email updates are available for the AmericanMuscle blog, so you can sign up and be notified whenever there’s a new post. There’s no need to check dozens of times per day, and no need to worry about missing anything cool.

To sign up, just follow these three quick steps:

  1. Click on the envelope icon in the top right corner of your screen.
  2. Fill out your email address and a quick anti-spam verification.
  3. A confirmation email will be sent to the address you used. As soon as you confirm your subscription, you’re set and ready to receive a notification any time a new post goes up.

AmericanMuscle, helping simplify your life.

It’s Never Too Cold to Modify Your Mustang!

For most of us, the weather has turned pretty hostile. And while working on your Mustang in the middle of a snow storm may not be a great plan, the cold weather doesn’t mean that your ‘Stang has to stay penned up in its corral until spring. There are plenty of easy mods you can do in a few hours when the weather happens to give you a break.

Universal Winter Preparation

Image from justinmatson on Flickr
Image from justinmatson on Flickr

Whether you’re in California or New England, these tips for winter preparedness will serve you well.

  • Check your tire pressure. The change in temperatures will affect your tires, and they need to be properly inflated in order to grip the road. Not sure what your tire gauge should read? Check the side of the tire or the driver’s doorjamb for the recommended psi.
  • While you’re at it, check your fluids. It sounds like a minor thing, but making sure that you have the correct amount of washer fluid (one that’s designed not to freeze in cold conditions or includes a deicing agent is ideal), coolant, etc. will not only help your ‘Stang cope with the cold weather, it’ll help prevent maintenance-related breakdowns.
  • Wash your car, preferably about once a month. Instead of looking at all the road salt that’s crusted on your car and thinking ‘well, that’s gross!’, take it to your local car wash. If you’re doing it yourself, make sure you clean the undercarriage, too. It sees its share of salt and is just as vulnerable to rusting as the body.
  • Consider a car cover if you’re not going to be driving your ‘Stang for a while. It will protect your investment from the snow, salt, slush, and environmental contaminants until you’re ready to hit the open road again.

What Do I Need to Lower My Mustang?

Question: I want to lower my Mustang; do I need anything other than lowering springs?

Answer:

Lowering springs are one of our biggest sellers, and if you want to slam your Stang to the pavement and tighten up your handling they’re undoubtedly the way to go, but installing just springs could lead to a slew of other problems down the road.  Check out our article on suspension basics and terminology, it will help you visualize what’s going on with your suspension from stock to slammed.

A Shocking Revelation…

$200-$300 for a 1”-2” drop seems like a steal, but in a few thousand miles your OE shocks and struts will be crying for help – aftermarket shocks/struts are a must.  Lowering springs are shorter than factory, so they compress the factory shock/strut beyond what it’s designed to handle. The additional pressure will eventually break through the seals, resulting in a “blown” shock/strut.  Lowering a car over stock shocks/struts causes the suspension to react uncharacteristically and can result in bottoming out and/or loss of control of the vehicle.  Tokico HP shocks/struts are a great match for any aftermarket spring and would be my recommendation for a daily driver or non-track car.  Adjustable shocks struts are great for street/track use, but keep in mind that they do not change the ride height – they allow the dampening to be fine-tuned for race applications.

AmericanMuscle Sends Mustangs to Troops

Not everybody can be home for the holidays. It’s sad but true, especially for the people who are deployed far from home while serving in the military. There are a few ways to help deployed military personnel make the best of their situations, including sending care packages. Two of the members of ModdedMustangs.com, a forum AmericanMuscle has worked closely with for years, decided to put together care packages for any deployed member of the forum who would like to get one. The organizers, Bob and Brandon, have both been deployed themselves, so they knew exactly what would be most useful and most appreciated.

Several members stepped up to the plate and donated cash or supplies, and AmericanMuscle was among them. We decided to send radio-controlled Mustangs, since the folks getting the packages hadn’t seen their ‘Stangs in a while. They were our favorite contribution, but we rounded things out with some coffee, beef jerky, and other provisions that are generally in short supply when you’re overseas. Other donations followed the same pattern and mixed the fun and the practical, too.

AMs donation to the care package for the troops
AM's donation to the care package for the troops


Happy 87th Birthday, Carroll Shelby!

Carroll Shelby is an icon in the Mustang performance world. Today, he’s celebrating his 87th birthday. His main goal in life has simply been to move faster, whether it was in the airplanes he’s flown or  the cars he’s raced. Shelby’s legacy is one defined by the many roles he took in the automotive world and by the legendary high performance Mustangs he created.

Carroll Shelby
Carroll Shelby - Image property of carrollshelby.com

Shelby has worn many hats over the years, and one of the very first was an aviator’s cap. He was a flight instructor and test pilot in Texas during WWII. When he returned to civilian life, he started farming chickens and driving in local races, often neglecting to change out of his work clothing before a race. The odd racing uniform didn’t seem to discourage major racing teams from asking him to drive for them.

Shelby’s racing career lasted from 1952-1960. During that time, he raced for some of the most famous teams of the era, including Cad-Allard, Aston Martin, and Maserati. In the 1959 season, he and Roy Salvadori won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is one of the racing world’s most grueling, challenging events. Shelby’s racing career ended shortly after this win, however, because of health reasons.