It’s a time-honored tradition in NASCAR racing for competitors to have family members as guests at a team’s home track. It’s only fitting that as the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team competes this weekend at the sponsor’s home track, Michigan International Speedway, the iconic No. 21 Mustang will carry the names of 163 individuals who achieved their 20-Year Senior Master Technician status in 2020.
Having established the Senior Master Technician Program in 1999, Ford honored the first class to reach the 20-year milestone at the 2019 MIS race. Ford Senior Master Technicians are experts in engines, drivetrains and chassis. Each year, senior master technicians take part in new required training to improve upon their expertise.
Working together with Ford is a big part of the history and heritage of Wood Brothers Racing, which has fielded Ford vehicles exclusively throughout their 71 years in the sport.
For the past 21 years, the team has been sponsored by Ford’s Motorcraft division. Over those years, the No. 21 team has worked with Ford to help attract and retain highly skilled individuals that are needed for the automotive technician field.
New Ford Tech is an avenue for high school and technical college students to pursue a career as an automotive technician. Multiple programs, including Ford’s Automotive Student Service Educational Training (ASSET), partner with colleges across the country for education and job placement upon graduation. Learn more at newfordtech.com. Some of Ford’s 20-Year Senior Master Technicians being honored this week began their careers in the ASSET program.
Eddie Wood said years of turning wrenches on the family race cars have given him and his family a special appreciation for those members of the Ford family who service passenger cars.
“Recognizing these incredibly skilled and loyal technicians was a great honor back in 2019,” Wood said. “We are glad to be able to do this again this year, because these are the men and women who keep our cars safely on the road every day.”
Matt DiBenedetto said he and the entire Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are working hard to make it a special weekend for their fellow members of the Blue Oval team.
He said he and spotter Doug Campbell are hoping to capitalize on restarts, as they did at MIS last year en route to finishes of 15th and seventh in the two Cup races there.
“Doug and I study really hard for this one and treat it like a superspeedway as far as being prepared for restarts,” DiBenedetto said. “That’s a big key to success for the race.”
He also said the team is hoping to build on its recent string of strong finishes. His fifth-place finish on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the team’s fifth finish of 11th or better in the past five races.
“Our Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has really been clicking so well,” he said. “My crew chief Jonathan Hassler and the whole team have been doing an excellent job.”
“Hopefully we win one of these things. That’s the main goal.”
There will be no practice or qualifying prior to the start of Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400, which is set to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. Eastern Time.
NBCSN will carry the TV broadcast, and there will be Stage breaks at Laps 60 and 120.