Henry Ford Museum’s new exhibit celebrates motorsports

Aug 2, 2021, 11:07 AM | Updated: 12:12 pm
In this image provided by the The Henry Ford, various types of racing cars, including the 1967 Ford...

In this image provided by the The Henry Ford, various types of racing cars, including the 1967 Ford Mark IV Race Car, left, are on display as part of the Driven To Win exhibit at the The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. (Wes Duenkel/The Henry Ford via AP)

(Wes Duenkel/The Henry Ford via AP)

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — The first stop on Romain Grosjean’s monthlong tour of the United States with his family was the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, where his wife had arranged a tour for the race car driver and their three children.

On the day The Associated Press visited, IndyCar rookie Scott McLaughlin happened to be in the parking lot waiting for the doors to open.

Small wonder the drivers are so interested: The national landmark museum founded in 1929 by the creator of the Model T and father of Ford Motor Co. houses some of the most historic items in U.S. history, including the presidential limousine of John F. Kennedy, the chair used by Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater, the Rosa Parks bus and the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop.

The museum’s newest wing includes a sprawling, interactive “Driven to Win” exhibit that provides a comprehensive look at motorsports in all its forms. It took more than a decade from conception until the doors opened earlier this year as part of a rare collaboration between rivals Ford and General Motors, which is the presenting sponsor of the exhibit.

“Racing is the embodiment of American innovation in the world of sports, but its reach has long stretched beyond the track to our showrooms, our roads and our culture,” Mark Reuss, president of General Motors, told The Associated Press of the exhibit.

“‘Driven To Win’ documents and celebrates those contributions, with an exciting and comprehensive presentation of the past, present and future of motorsports,” he said. “I’m proud that GM could help bring it to members and guests of this great museum.”

The permanent exhibit takes visitors on a timeline of motorsports, from soap box derbies to Indy cars, stock cars and dragsters. The Sports Car Performance Center features a full-size clay model of a Ford GT. It’s housed in the same area as the winning car Ford used in the automaker’s 2016 return to Le Mans — a 50th anniversary celebration of Ford’s 1-2-3 finish in the 1966 endurance race.

One of the vehicles on display at the entrance of the 24,000 square-foot exhibit is “Sweepstakes,” the 1901 race car Henry Ford used following the failure of Detroit Automobile Co., his first car company. Amid doubts over his ability as both an engineer and businessman, Ford believed a successful race car would restore his credibility. On Oct. 10, 1901, novice racer Ford drove Sweepstakes to a victory over the more established Alexander Winton at a horse racing track in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

“What was impressive to me is that the exhibit takes you through the timeline of motorsports right from Sweepstakes all the way to today,” Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance, told AP. “It takes you through all the different racing series and disciplines, and ties in people and technology and how that has been transferred to road cars.”

It is done through interactive displays including simulators, a pit stop challenge and a hand-eye coordination test to measure motor skills and ability to make split-second decisions. A 15-minute short film is shown in a multi-sensory theater and highlights five racers pursuing their dreams.

The film follows two-time IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden (a Chevy driver) preparing for the Indianapolis 500; Brehanna Daniels, the first Black female tire changer in NASCAR; multi-generational Bonneville Salt Flats racer Megan Volk; drag racer Brittany Force; and Tim Hardy, a Pikes Peak International Hill Climb racer.

Trevor Bayne’s 2011 winning Daytona 500 car is on display, as well as the “Yellow Submarine” Chevy-Penske Indy car Rick Mears drove to his third Indianapolis 500 victory in 1988. Among the A.J. Foyt memorabilia is the 1960 Meskowski-Offenhauser Indy Roadster that helped Foyt to his first three Indy car championships in 1960, 1961 and 1963.

“The first time I saw the exhibit it completely exceeded my expectations,” Edsel Ford II told AP. Edsel Ford is a Henry Ford board member, longtime executive of the company founded by his great-grandfather and NASCAR Hall of Fame member based on his contributions to motorsports.

“The exhibits are sensational and many of us had seen the drawings, and had numerous meetings about what it was going to look like, but to finally physically see it, it just took my breath away,” Ford said. “I find it that overwhelming.”

McLaughlin, a New Zealander and three-time V8 Supercars winner now in his first season of IndyCar driving for Roger Penske, has made a social media series titled “Scott Learns America” in which he visits iconic stops along the racing circuit. The Henry Ford was the Chevrolet driver’s stop during IndyCar’s doubleheader in Detroit earlier this season.

McLaughlin enjoyed the exhibit although the interactive test of reaction time was a bust — “I was terrible, I was in the bottom half of the day, 64%, pretty shameful,” he said. But the pieces of American history throughout the museum left an indelible mark.

He spent some of his visit in the aviation portion of the museum, where a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer that Wilbur Wright used for the first heavier-than-air, machine powered flight in the world.

Wright’s journey lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet.

“I actually liked the Wright Brothers stuff and to see how far they actually flew, and I think that resonates to me because we always talk about downforce without completely trying to learn lift,” McLaughlin said. “They didn’t even know what downforce was, or they knew what it was and didn’t have a name for it, so it was cool that the Wright Brothers created lift for us.

“The whole museum just shows how incredible the history of America is and how much innovation moved the entire world forward.”

__

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              This image provided by the The Henry Ford, shows a display with the “Old 16” car from the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup race, part of the Driven To Win exhibit at the The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. (Wes Duenkel/The Henry Ford via AP)
            
              This image provided by the The Henry Ford, shows a drag strip display, part of the Driven To Win exhibit at the The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. (Wes Duenkel/The Henry Ford via AP)
            
              In this image provided by the The Henry Ford, various types of racing cars, including the 1967 Ford Mark IV Race Car, left, are on display as part of the Driven To Win exhibit at the The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. (Wes Duenkel/The Henry Ford via AP)

AP

Associated Press

Venezuelan publisher receives award from US book association

NEW YORK (AP) — One of Venezuela’s few remaining independent publishers is being honored by the Association of American Publishers, the trade association announced Wednesday. Editorial Dahbar, which publishes books that include interviews with political prisoners and critiques of the country’s criminal justice system, has been given the AAP’s International Freedom to Publish/Jeri Laber Award. […]
7 hours ago
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition...
Associated Press

Hogan to gather with supporters amid White House speculation

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Term-limited Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was holding fundraisers for future political activity Wednesday at events where the Republican is expected to talk about his eight years as governor, as well as plans for the future. Hogan, who leaves office in January, has positioned himself to run as a legitimate alternative to […]
7 hours ago
Lightning brightens the evening sky in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Area residents were ...
Associated Press

Tornado threat continues as southern towns assess damage

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Tornadoes damaged numerous homes, destroyed a fire station, briefly trapped people in a grocery store and ripped the roof off an apartment complex in Mississippi and Alabama, and meteorologists said the threat of dangerous storms remained Wednesday near the Gulf Coast in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The National Weather Service […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Germany seeks to boost immigration of skilled workers

BERLIN (AP) — The German government said Wednesday that it plans to ease entry rules for immigrants from outside the European Union to help meet Germany’s demand for skilled workers. Experts say Europe’s biggest economy needs about 400,000 skilled immigrants each year as the country’s ageing workforce shrinks, particularly to fill vacancies in the health […]
7 hours ago
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2019, file photo, Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg talks to th...
Associated Press

Gaetz friend says lighter sentence deserved for cooperation

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida tax collector whose arrest led to a federal investigation of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz learns this week how much prison time he gets on charges of sex trafficking a minor and identity theft, but not before trying to persuade a judge that his cooperation in several probes should […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Four of the cooling towers of the Dukovany nuclear power plant rise high above the natural s...
Associated Press

3 energy companies vying to build new Czech nuke reactor

PRAGUE (AP) — Three energy companies including U.S. Westinghouse, France’s EdF and Korea’s KHNP will by vying to build the Czech Republic’s newest reactor at the Dukovany nuclear power station, authorities said Wednesday, as the country strives to become more energy independent and wean itself of fossil fuels. State-controlled power company CEZ says final bids […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Henry Ford Museum’s new exhibit celebrates motorsports