Ford CEO Jim Farley makes pro racing debut at Daytona as motorsports legends watch

Ford Jim Farley racing
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Tucked in the back corner of an outpost paddock at Daytona International Speedway stood Jim Farley, the chief executive of Ford Motor Company, leaning against a cart having a casual conversation with the heads of the Wood Brothers Racing team.

Farley was wearing a firesuit and hardly looked the part of a high-powered business executive.

On Saturday, he was a racer.

The 60-year-old made his professional racing debut with a 12th-place finish in the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge at Daytona. An accomplished historic racer, Farley drove a Multimatic Motorsports-run Ford Mustang GT4 in the GSX class of the support race during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona test session.

ROLEX 24 DETAILSHow to watch, entry lists schedules for the IMSA season opener

It was the first sprint race in the new multiclass series that features Bronze- or Silver-rated drivers.

Farley tried to fly under the radar and roam Daytona as any other “gentleman driver” and not the head of one of the most active automakers in motorsports. As his Twitter bio indicates, he certainly is a longtime racing fan.

But he’s still the head of Ford, and that’s why Eddie and Leonard Wood traveled from Friday night’s NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Charlotte, North Carolina, to Daytona to watch Farley race.

Across the speedway in his motorhome, Roger Penske and Tim Cindric watched Farley race on a massive TV screen with timing and scoring of the event on a second screen.

“I should have used a fake name on the entry form,” Farley joked to The Associated Press.

He said motorsports is a vital part of Ford Motor Co., particularly in employee morale. Ford last year won the Daytona 500 with Austin Cindric and the NASCAR Cup championship with Joey Logano.

“It’s so good that he’s interested,” Penske said of Farley racing at Daytona. “It’s good for Ford because he understands what motorsports means to the company. You know, both General Motors and Ford have the top leadership really invested into motorsports and how it can evolve in making a better car.”

Dylan Ferrandis in concussion protocol after Houston Supercross accident, Tampa status undetermined

Ferrandis Houston accident
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After suffering a frightening accident at Houston in the Monster Energy Supercross race, Dylan Ferrandis reports he is okay, but will be on concussion protocol and his status for Tampa this week is not yet determined.

Two laps into last week’s Main, Ferrandis was engaged in a battle with Ken Roczen for eighth place. Ferrandis landed on the back Roczen’s bike and was thrown, landing headfirst on the track. Ferrandis momentarily lost consciousness and the race was red flagged so he could be attended to by the Alpinestars medical team.

“I’m okay after my crash in the main event. I hit my head first and got knock[ed] out for some minutes,” Ferrandis posted in an Instagram story. “Everything else is fine and I am okay now fortunately. Will follow the concussion protocol and will see when I can ride again.”

Ferrandis regained consciousness, the medical crew fitted Ferrandis with a neck brace and he was able to stand and walk to the cart under his own power. Ferrandis was sitting up when he left the track with a member of the crew stabilizing his neck.

“It was an awesome ride [for Eli] and a good way to come back from last weekend,” said Jeremy Coker, Team Manager for Star Racing Yamaha at RacerXOnline.com. “It was also the lowest of lows. Unfortunately, it’s part of the sport, but to see one of your guys crash the way Dylan did and to see him lying there was pretty tough. Fortunately, when I got to him, he was able to open his eyes and looked at me and said my name, and it was a huge relief to see him stand up and walk away.”

Ferrandis was off to a strong start in 2023 with a worst finish of sixth at San Diego in the first three races. He entered Houston sixth in the standings, one point behind Jason Anderson.

Ferrandis’ teammate Eli Tomac went on to win the race.

Also riding for Star Racing Yamaha and making his 450cc Supercross debut, Justin Cooper advanced from 13th at the end of Lap 1 to finish seventh.