Edsel Ford II Accepts Landmark Award at NASCAR HOF Ceremony
Edsel Ford II was on hand at the 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony last month, where he became just the sixth person to accept the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Ford’s passion for racing began at the age of 18 when he attended the 24 Hours of Le Mans with his father, Henry Ford II, and saw the 1-2-3 sweep that inspired Academy Award-winning film Ford v Ferrari.
Ford was handed the award by NASCAR CEO and Executive Vice President Jim France and Vice-Chairperson of the NASCAR Board of Directors Lesa France Kennedy, the children of NASCAR founder and supporter of segregationist politician George Wallace Bill France Sr.
“I’m honored, proud and quite surprised. The France family, much like the Ford Family, created a very robust business model inside of their industry and have been successful stewards of NASCAR for over 70 years,” Ford said. “I deeply appreciate having been chosen to receive the 2020 NASCAR Landmark Award and having Lesa France Kennedy and Jim France present me with the award at the Hall of Fame ceremony.”
Edsel Ford II’s contributions to NASCAR
Eddie Wood of Wood Brothers Racing said that Edsel Ford II was essential in growing the popularity of NASCAR by bringing Ford and the new Thunderbird back into the sport following the 1970s energy crisis, which paved the way for other manufacturers to follow suit. Roush Yates Engines CEO Doug Yates also credits Ford with encouraging Robert Yates to start his racing team — which eventually led to the creation of Roush Yates Engines with Jack Roush in 2004 — and encouraging Dale Jarrett to continue racing, which led to him winning the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship in 1999.
Ford was also a member of the Board of Directors for International Speedway Corporation, which merged with NASCAR in 2019, and he’s been the voting representative of Ford Motor Company for the NASCAR HOF since its foundation a decade ago.
“Edsel is the heart and soul of Ford Motor Company in NASCAR,” said Yates. “I know this award means a lot to him and it means a lot to everybody that’s been a part of the journey with him.”