Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Confetti covered car earns prestigious parking place in Driving America

March 23, 2012 Archive Insight

“If we ever do anything worth doing, maybe we can get a car in here.”

That’s what Wood Brothers Racing's Eddie and Len Wood said following a 2008 visit to Henry Ford Museum when they had the opportunity to get up close and touch the 1965 Lotus-Ford race car that is part of their family’s 60-year racing legacy.

Well, to make a long (great!) story short: They did something. And it was big. Really big.

The Wood brothers and driver Trevor Bayne were in Dearborn yesterday to present to Henry Ford Museum that really big something: the famous No. 21 Ford Fusion that a 20-year-old Bayne drove to an unlikely victory in the 2011 NASCAR Daytona 500.

Len Wood shares the story of the road to the 2011 Daytona 500 win.

Fans and press were on hand to see and cheer on the unveiling of the museum's newest artifact.

Fans take photos as the car is unveiled at Henry Ford Museum.
The car will be on display in the Racing in America area of the Driving America exhibition in Henry Ford Museum. The Fusion's permanent home will be right between the 1901 Ford Sweepstakes car and the 1965 Indy 500-winning Lotus-Ford. The Sweepstakes marked the beginning of Ford racing, the Lotus-Ford changed everything, and now the No. 21 Ford Fusion has earned a spot as part of the Ford racing story.

The car is in the exact same condition it was when it left victory lane at Daytona in 2011. The exterior is ornamented with confetti - stuck to the car thanks to a glue of cola and Gatorade that bathed the car when celebrating the win. The car is authentically dirty; even Bayne's water bottle is still under the seat in the cockpit.

Pictured, left to right: The Henry Ford's executive vice president Christian Overland, Ford Racing's Jamie Allison, Len Wood, Trevor Bayne, Eddie Wood, The Henry Ford's president Trisha Mooradian, and Edsel B. Ford II .

Eddie Wood gave a moving account of how events that led to the win just seemed to fall into place. Edsel Ford II told the crowd that although he's witnessed some exciting races in his life - including the 1966 Le Mans when Ford beat Ferrari - the Feb 20, 2011 win at Daytona topped them all.

Trevor Bayne graciously autographs fan's hat at Henry Ford Museum.

Fans were eager to hear from Trevor Bayne who shared his account and gave some insight into all the people who are part of the story that led to victory lane. He also shared his own excitement about his car being part of Henry Ford Museum.

"When I walk up to my car and they call it an artifact, it kind of throws me off a little bit," he joked. "I got to flip the ignition switch. I never thought it'd be something I'm not allowed to touch anymore."

After the unveiling before the cheering crowd, there was a fan Q & A led by Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis.

Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis leads a fan Q & A with Eddie Wood, Trevor Bayne, Len Wood, Ford Racing's Jamie Allison, and The Henry Ford executive vice president Christian Overland.

Fans collected some autographs and had some photo ops with car and crew.

Fan John Furmanski took the opportunity to have his die cast of the winning Motorcraft Ford Fusion signed by Len and Eddie Wood and Trevor Bayne.

 Kristine Hass is a writer and long-time member of The Henry Ford. 

race cars, racing, Racing In America

Facebook Comments