Jim Farley heads to the track after earnings, wins back-to-back races in '66 Cobra

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Jim Farley promises ‘Detroit swagger’ will carry Ford from Model T to Mach-E. Detroit Free Press

He raced the 1966 Ford Cobra again. And won on both days. 

Ford CEO Jim Farley, known as a classic car enthusiast, flew to California last week to compete in the Trans Am SpeedTour at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca series organized by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association. His race came after Ford released a first-quarter earnings report that exceeded investor expectations.

On Wednesday, he and his Chief Financial Officer John Lawler fielded questions from heavy hitters at Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and RBC Capital Markets on the forecast for the semiconductor shortage plaguing Ford and other automakers. 

Marion Harris, CEO of Ford Credit, called the situation “supply shock.”

Despite the headwinds, Farley told investment analysts, “I can’t remember a time in my life, in my career, to have had so many hot products in one market like North America as Ford does right now. I mean, Mach-E sold out. Bronco Sport sold out. Super Duty sold out. … I do know it feels like we’re going to be chasing demand for quite some time.”

As unpredictable as the stock market has been, as well as navigating the daily uncertainty of supply chain nightmares, Farley always heads to the track to relax.

By Saturday, he was dressed in his fire suit and behind the wheel in Salinas, California.

Farley won his class and placed second overall in Group 6 on the 2.2-mile historic raceway. His best lap of the session was 1:42:537 behind the wheel of his Cobra. To be clear, that’s 1 minute and 42 seconds. 

“Jim Farley had another great weekend of racing. Jim drives that Cobra the way it was meant to be driven,” Tony Parella, president of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, told the Free Press on Tuesday.

Music industry mogul Scott Borchetta of Nashville, Tennessee, founder and CEO of Big Machine Label Group, took first overall driving a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette. 

The 27 competitors in Group 6 race cars from 1961-69 model years, including Chevrolet Camaro, Shelby Cobra, Cobra 427, Mercury Cougar, Mustang GT350 and Ford Falcon. They traveled from California, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona.

On Sunday, Farley won his class and placed third overall in the Endurance Series race, which lasted 70 minutes. His best lap in that session was 1:42:029.

He raced the oldest car of the top six teams in the Enduro race, three of which raced with two drivers. Farley raced solo.

Don Young of Dallas, the founder and CEO of mortgage lender Southwest Funding, won first overall with partner Ryan Lewis in a 2007 Oreca Challenge Car in 1:22:416. Other teams represented cities in Idaho and California. 

“Business executives and titans of corporations from across various industries enjoy what we call ‘throttle therapy,’ ” said Mike Kessler, general manager of  Radford Racing School in Chandler, Arizona.

“Whether they’re participating in track days or competitive races, it’s an opportunity to step out of their high pressure jobs and relieve stress,” Kessler said. “It’s astonishing how therapeutic a session behind the wheel can be. Fueled by the rush of speed and the power of the engine, it helps to clear the mind and sharpen their focus.”

Farley has surprised race organizers by his steady commitment to racing despite starting his new role as CEO in October. This is his third event since then and he has made the podium each time.

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Pam Shatraw, editor of SpeedTour Quarterly, is a veteran of the sport. She said on Tuesday, after reviewing Farley’s weekend results, “His times are awesome — wicked fast.”

In November, Farley raced his dark green 1978 Lola T298 to victory, setting the best lap time at 1:25.592 and the session’s highest speed at 106.832 mph. That Enduro race lasted 70 minutes with one pit stop, and included 13 teams.

“I don’t know that a CEO from any car company has won a truly authentic auto race before,” Mark Dill, vice president of public relations for the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, said at the time.

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Contact Phoebe Wall Howard at 313-222-6512or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid. Read more on Ford and sign up for our autos newsletter.

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About Bazie 8428 Articles
I love anything to do with classic cars and vintage cars and I own a few classic cars. I regular attend classic car shows in my spare time.

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