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PORTLAND TO POTHOLES

ANAHEIM, CA., July 11, 1988… The SCCA Escort Endurance Championship took the Saleen Mustangs to Portland International Raceway for the second race of the season on Saturday, June 11.

The driver line-up included Steve Saleen and Pete Halsmer in the #19; Lisa Caceres and Desire’ Wilson in #20; and Rick Titus and Calvin Fish in #21. The cars qualified in the same order in 4th, 5th and 6th position. After challenging for the lead, the #19 Saleen Mustang was soon sidelined with brake problems that could not be remedied in the pit stops. The #20 and #21 car suffered like problems, which cost the team valuable time off the track during the four-hour race. Finishing 3rd, 5th and 6th still keeps the team in a close battle for championship standings going into the next event at Brainerd, Minnesota, July 16.

Meanwhile, the Saleen Sportrucks were being prepared for another street race. This time over the potholes of Niagara Falls, New York on June 25. The #20 Ranger was driven by George Follmer and, remaining with the team for this event, Pete Halsmer took #21. Steve Saleen’s Ranger suffered through the weekend, but did make the inverted grid pole position with George and Pete side-by-side just two rows back.

On lap 2 of the 31-lap race, the forth-placed competitor in a Mitsubishi drove straight into a wall taking Halsmer and Follmer and three other trucks out of the race, due to a very close bump drafting style of the Racetruck Challenge. When the green flag fell again, Saleen had to ask his Ford Ranger for everything it had and more. Despite significant horsepower disparity, he finished second and was also awarded, for the second time this year, the Timex “Speedtrak Move of the Race”. This event is being televised on Sunday, July 17 on the TNN Network, “American Sports Cavalcade”. Look for the action!

HUNTING SEASON OPENS

BREA, CA., May 10, 1988... The “hunting season” opened for the SCCA Escort Endurance Championship and the Coors Racetruck Challenge on April 23, 1988 at Sears Point International Raceway. Saleen Autosport campaigned three Saleen Mustangs and three Saleen Sportrucks at the opener. After a very competitive start, the #19 Saleen Mustang was sidelined out of first place due to a faulty brake light, Steve Saleen and George Follmer in #19 finished only 25 seconds behind the leader with Desire’ Wilson and Lisa Caceres in #20 in third and Rick Titus and, newcomer to Endurance Racing, Calvin Fish in fourth.

“All three cars led the race at some point during the four hours and all three came back with no damage – a very successful weekend and a great start in the hunt for our second championship”, said Steve Saleen, Team Owner.

Rainy weather aside, the Saleen Autosport sponsored Mustang Corral had a great weekend as well. Classic Mustangs and Saleen Mustang owners from all over Northern California gathered at Sears Point for free prizes, which included a set of General Tires and an Escort Radar Detector provided by Cincinnati Microwave. The group also enjoyed their own parade lap around the racecourse on Saturday afternoon.

The Coors Racetruck Challenge began on Sunday afternoon with the #19 General Tire Ford Ranger driven by Steve Saleen, on the pole. George Follmer and Winston West star, Herschel McGriff drove the #20 and #21 Saleen Sportrucks. With a first lap, first turn crash amongst three trucks, the field bumped and crashed their way for 20 laps. Avoiding the crunch, Steve Saleen was awarded the “Timex Speedtrack Move of the Race Award” and finished fourth. Transmission problems put Follmer in the pits after 11 laps and Herschel McGriff fought a very tough battle to finish 12th.

The trucks move on to the Dallas Grand Prix and Riverside International Raceway right away. The cars will next be seen June 11th at Portland International Raceway for the Rose Cup Week.

SPONSOR LISTING 1988

FORD MOTOR COMPANY is “Racing into the Future” in 1988 with the Saleen Autosport team. The Saleen Mustangs and Ford Rangers will prove Ford’s performance, endurance and reliability standards in “head to head” competition with General Motors, Porsche, Nissan, BMW, Audis and others.

GENERAL TIRE is returning with the Championship winning “General Tire Performance Team” this year. Saleen Autosport will be their representative in the GT Class and Sportruck class. The Saleen Mustangs will be featuring the XP2000Z and the XP2000V will be choice for the Saleen Sportruck, demonstrating General’s new generation of high performance tires.

MONTGOMERY WARD is entering their second year of motorsports in 1988 to broaden their exposure of their “Auto Express Centers”. Their sponsorship includes the entire General Tire Performance Team in both the SCCA Endurance Series as well as the SCORE/HDRA Off-Road Series

HUNTER ENGINEERING is also returning in 1988 to motorsports promotion. Their support of the Performance Team will help to highlight their quality alignment and balancing equipment, which is also used in the production of the Saleen Mustang and Sportruck street models.

MONROE FORMULA GP SHOCKS AND STRUTS are engineered with individually selected valve components for precision control. Gas-charged Formula GP shocks feature polyurethane bushings for a firmer ride with more control, adding up to a winning performance for the Saleen Mustang and Saleen Sportruck on the track and street.

GNB/CHAMPION BATTERIES are planning a big year with the Performance Team with their new line of quality products for performance vehicles.

WALKER DYNOMAX MUFFLERS significantly reduce exhaust backpressure, which increases flow and horsepower. The Super Turbo and Turbo Tube mufflers help the Saleen Mustang and Saleen Sportruck achieve optimum engine output for championship performance again in 1988.

CHAMPION SPARK PLUG COMPANY is joining Saleen Autosport in their efforts to put the Saleen Mustang and Sportrucks in the Winner’s Circle. As a long-standing supporter of motorsports, Champion and their affiliate, Anco Wiper Blades will make the difference.

MUSTANG TIMES is the Mustang Club of America’s monthly magazine. Its purpose is to report on all aspects of the Mustang hobbies, both past and present. The Mustang Times staff members are enthusiastic supporters of Saleen Autosport’s racing efforts and have signed on as official sponsors for 1988.

THE YEAR THAT WAS

BREA, CA. December 31, 1987… The year that was – a first. They say there’s a first time for everything. Steve Saleen designed a car based on a classic Ford chassis for the performance enthusiast, developed a nationwide dealer base for sales and took it one step further. “Putting a true performance car on the market, I felt, deserved to be put to the test in an arena unique to the automotive and motorsports community. That arena proved to be the SCCA Escort Endurance Showroom Stock Series”, Saleen commented. After successfully debating the merits of the Saleen Mustang, Steve was rewarded with the opportunity to campaign the car “heads up” against the world’s top manufacturers by the Sports Car Club of America. “I was given the chance to prove the value of our car in many different formats and we were very determined'”, said Saleen.

The Saleen Mustang and the new Saleen Sportruck (based on the Ford Ranger platform) were showcased in various “pro” and amateur aeries across the country. The efforts of Dave Frezza, of Beaverton, Oregon, took the Saleen Mustang to the winner’s circle in the SCCA Northwest Regional Championship and the Pacific Coast Race of Champions in the CP-1 category. Dave also won two Solo II events with his Saleen. Saleen Autosport also went to the drags in an NHRA A/Gas Comp Eliminator in the Northwest Region where Jim Van Cleve captured four national records with an ET of 8.06 and 166.97 MPH. Winner of two events at Yakima and Seattle, Jim also made the semifinals at Calgary and the prestigious U.S. Nationals at Indy.

Saleen Autosport’s reasons for racing and winning were many, but one of the more important has been the sponsors’ commitments, some of whom had never been involved with a motorsports program, or manufacturers like General Tire and Monroe Shocks, who had developed their own performance line and needed a platform on which to prove their products. Montgomery Ward Auto Center, Hunter Engineering, Flofit Seats, Team One Ford were all valued first time motorsports sponsors. Ford Motor Company, Motorcraft Quality Parts, American Racing Equipment, and TRW are experienced sponsors who believed in the program and contributed to a most successful year.

The year that was – a generation later. Twenty years ago, another determined young man by the name of Carroll Shelby campaigned his Mustang to a championship for Ford. His drivers – Parnelli Jones, George Follmer and Jerry Titus helped bring him this honor. A generation and three legendary careers later, P.J., George and Jerry’s son, Rick, helped bring like honors to Steve Saleen and the Saleen Mustang. Steve Saleen and Rick Titus won the Drivers Championship Award in the #19 car and finishing 3rd and 4th in the #20 car were our most talented all woman team of Lisa Caceres and Desire’ Wilson.

These regulars were joined throughout the year by: Trams Am Starts Pete Halsmer and Scott Pruett: new lady drivers – Donna Sue Landon and Molly Elliott, as well as Skeeter McKitterick, Danny May, Danny McKeever and Saleen Sportruck drivers – Tim Evans and Rob Stevens.

The year that was -memorable. There are many memories in a championship year. Some reflect statistics – 5 wins out of 7 races, 3 pole positions for the Mustangs and 2 wins and 2 pole positions for the Sportrucks. So many more reflect the emotions and physical efforts-so-often pressed in an endurance series.

Four championships won in 1987:

  • SCCA Escort Endurance Team Champion – #19 Saleen Mustang
  • SCCA Escort Endurance Manufactures Champion – Ford/Saleen Autosport
  • SCCA Escort Endurance Drivers Champion – Steve Saleen/Rick Titus
  • SCCA Escort Endurance Tire Manufacturer Champion – General Tire

The year that was – an end to the beginning.

A BLAST FROM THE PAST

BREA, CA. September 16, 1987… Titus, Follmer and Parnelli Jones – legendary names in legendary cars of automotive racing history. All three championship-winning drivers for Ford team up a generation later in a Saleen Mustang to run the 24 Hours at the magnificent Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Saleen Autosport has brought together a team of drivers – the likes of which many of us race fans never expected to see again.

Rick Titus proudly steps in for his father, Jerry Titus, the 1967 Trans Am Champion driving a Ford Mustang prepared by Shelby. As co-leader with Steve Saleen in the Drivers Championship and a Saleen Autosport team driver for two years, Rick will more than expertly fill in for his father to bring the Manufacturers Championship back to Ford in a Mustang chassis.

George Follmer, 1972 and 1976 Trans Am Champion, is a very welcome addition to our “All Star” Mustang driver line up.

Parnelli Jones, not only a 1970 Trans Am Champion, in his Bud Moore prepared Mustang, but a 1963 Indy 500 winner, honors Saleen Autosport and its sponsors in joining us for one of the most important and grueling races of the year on September 25, 26, and 27.

Our driver line up for #19 will be Team Owner, Steve Saleen, Trans Am and Indy star, Pete Halsmer and GTO pilot, Danny May. Saleen Mustang #20 will again be fielded by our most impressive all-woman team of internationally famous, Desire’ Wilson and Hollywood stunt driver, Lisa Caceres. Can Am and current GTU driver Skeeter McKitterick will again be joining the Saleen team with his “fast lane” skills.

The Saleen Mustangs are currently leading the GT category of the SCCA Escort Endurance Championship over the 944S Porsche. With only two races remaining, the #9, #19, and #20 Saleen Mustangs are being prepared for their final tests for 1987.

Saleen Autosport and its sponsors, Ford, General Tire, Montgomery Ward, TRW, Motorcraft, American Racing, Monroe, Hunter Engineering, Team One Ford and Flofit are proud to present our team of drivers to represent their products.

The past meets the future at Mid-Ohio. Saleen Autosport, Ford and General Tire will be there.

THE BURNING OF ATLANTA

BREA, CA. September 15, 1987… After 122 years, Atlanta was on fire again, Saleen Autosport came to town. Bearing 3 Saleen Mustangs and 2 Saleen Sportrucks, the track at Road Atlanta on Sept. 6 & 7 “felt the heat”.

Out of 5 vehicles representing Saleen Autosport and its sponsors, they took home a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th.

In a 6 hour SCCA Escort Endurance race the Saleen Mustang #19 driven Steve Saleen & Rick Titus took 1st, the #20 “ladies team” of Desire’ Wilison & Lisa Caceres took 2nd and newest entry #9 piloted by Trans-Am and Indy star Pete Halsmer and Danny May took 4th. All 3 cars finished on the same lap and all 3 cars led at some point during the 6-hour event.

The Saleen Sportrucks had their best finish yet in the Coors Racetruck Challenge with Steve Saleen, team owner and designer, finishing 3rd in his #20 and Pete Halsmer in the #19 finishing 6th after losing the lead due to an “altercation” with a Nissan and a subsequent flat tire.

The “Saleen March” through the South continued on to Memphis and to the brand new Memphis International Motorsports Park for the 6th round of Coors Challenge on Sept. 12 & 13.

Steve Saleen and Pete Halsmer returned to field #19 & #20 Saleen Sportrucks against the best of the imports. Nissan, Toyota and Jeep had proved to be the fiercest competitors for the Ford Ranger, but the “March through Georgia” kept up the steam through Tennessee and brought home a first win for Ford and General Tire in the new Racetruck series.

The Saleen Sportrucks grabbed a 1-2 lead in the first turn and showed their off shore buddies the rear bumper view the remainder of the race.

Saleen Autosport, Ford, General Tire, and all the associate sponsors are appreciative of the support received by the team at every location across the country. We continue on to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the second 24-hour race of the year. The heat is on!

BACK TO WIN

BREA, CA. August 24, 1987… For the second year in a row, Saleen Autosport has captured the win in the most difficult of all endurance races – the 24 Hours of Mosport Park, Ontario Canada. The #19 Saleen Mustang took another checkered flag – 6 laps ahead of their nearest competitor.

A 53-member crew campaigning 3 cars, for the first time in the ‘87 season, dominated the GT class of-the SCCA Escort Endurance Championship Series to take the lead for the year. The 3 Saleens all qualified in the top 5 and finished 1st, 3rd and 4th. A remarkable accomplishment in a most competitive series.

Saleen Autosport team drivers, Steve Saleen, Rick Titus and Lisa Caceres, were joined by Trans Am and IMSA stars, Pete Halsmer, Scott Pruett and Skeeter McKitterick, as well-as veteran racer, Danny McKeever. Complimenting the women’s team are drivers Donna Sue Landon and Molly Elliot.

Ford, General Tire and Saleen Autosport are setting a pace others find difficult to match.

Saleen Autosport heads for Road Atlanta, September 5 and 6 with their 3 car team as well as the Saleen Sportrucks, #19 and #20, looking for their first win after an impressive 1st and 2nd in qualifying at Mosport. After 4 races and 3 wins, Saleen has no intention of backing off now.

TWO FOR TWO FOR FORD

BREA, CA. June 15, 1987… Saleen Autosport, Ford Motor Company and General Tire are setting a pace their competitors find difficult to match. Two races and two wins for the Saleen Mustangs place them in the enviable position of first overall in the Manufacturers Cup and Team Championship in the SCCA Escort Endurance Championship.

Steve Saleen and Rick Titus in the #19 Saleen Mustang started from the first row at Portland International Raceway and never let up to capture a two-lap margin of victory over the 944S Porsche. “The tires worked great! I felt as though I could drive anywhere on the track,” commented Saleen. The General Tire engineers are always working with the team for development and with just a tire pressure adjustment on Saturday’s morning warm-up, all the hard work paid off, when the car and tires became an unbeatable combination.

Another great asset of the team this weekend came in the form of our sponsor, Hunter Engineering. They provided a free wheel alignment diagnosis available to all competitors over the weekend. Pete Whiting, Roger Creason, Jim Ackerman and Dan Savageau were available to provide their expertise. Their assistance at the track proved to be invaluable.

Four of the best drivers in the series: Steve Saleen, Rick Titus, Lisa Caceres and Desire’ Wilson will again be competing their Saleen Mustangs when the series continues on to Brainerd International, July 18 and 19.

After development work has been completed on the Ford Rangers, the Saleen Sportrucks will resume their campaign in the Coors Racetruck Challenge in Brainerd, Minnesota the same weekend.

Saleen Autosport, Ford and General Tire are a new dominating force in the Showroom Stock, High Performance and Endurance arenas. Word is spreading.

THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT

BREA, CA. April 30, 1987… The Women’s Movement was more than evident this last weekend as Lisa Caceres and Desire’ Wilson “moved” to the front of the pack of their male counterpart competitors in their first win and first race of the 1987 Escort Showroom Stock Endurance Series. In their #20 Saleen Mustang, Lisa and Desire’ not only qualified on the pole with a new GT class track record, but led the most laps during the race to win by a 2 lap margin over the new Porsche 944S.

“We really had no idea how we stood competitively with the rest of the field until the first qualifying run of the year on Saturday morning,” commented Ken Brown, Crew chief. “Our girls will be very hard to beat this year,” said Steve Saleen, Team Owner. Steve and Rick Titus, of Motor Trend Magazine, should know, as they are fielding the #19 Saleen Mustang which finished 3rd in class. After a major “incident’ in Turn 2 during Friday’s practice, the #19 was literally rebuilt overnight and placed on the grid for Saturday morning, ready for qualifying. After overheating problems were solved in the first pit stop of the of the race, the injured Saleen Mustang moved from 8th to 3rd position.

The General Tire XP2000V’s were definitely put to the test at Sears Point Raceway, which is one of the most demanding road cares in North America. “The Saleen Mustang and the XP2000V’s were an unbeatable combination this weekend,” said Dave Erickson, Motorsports Coordinator for General Tire. “We are obviously looking forward to Portland!”, he went on to add.

June 5 and 6 at the Portland, Oregon Rose Festival is the next stop, for the Saleen Autosport Endurance Team. With the support and enthusiasm of our sponsors: Ford Motor Company, General Tire, Montgomery Ward, TRW, Hunter Engineering, Motorcraft, Team 1 Ford, American Racing, Monroe Shocks, Flofit seats and Kenwood Electronics. Saleen Autosport will strive to continue their “winning ways” for the remainder of 1987.

SPONSOR LISTING 1987

FORD MOTOR COMPANY is “Racing into the Future” in 1987 with the Saleen Autosport team. The Saleen Mustangs and Ford Rangers will prove Ford’s performance, endurance and reliability standards in “head-to-head” competition with Porsche, General Motors, Nissan, BMW and others.

GENERAL TIRE is premiering the “General Tire Performance Team” this year. Saleen Autosport will be their representative in the GT class and Sportruck class. The Saleen Mustang will be featuring the XP2000V and the XP2000H will be choice for the Saleen Sportruck demonstrating General’s new generation of high performance tires.

MONTGOMERY WARD is entering the field of motorsports for the first time in 1987 to broaden their exposure to the performance car enthusiast as “The Tire Specialists”. Their sponsorship includes the entire General Tire Performance Team in both the SCCA Endurance Series as well as the SCORE/HDRA Off-Road Series.

TRW is a long-standing supporter of auto racing and has joined General Tire and Montgomery Ward in their sponsorship and support of the Performance Team with TRW parts.

HUNTER ENGINEERING is another newcomer to motorsports promotion. Their support of the Performance Team will help to highlight their quality alignment and balancing equipment, which is also used in the production of the Saleen Mustang street models.

MOTORCRAFT QUALITY PARTS is again sponsoring Saleen Autosport’s teams for second year by providing quality automotive parts and accessories.

TEAM 1 FORD is an authorized Saleen Mustang dealer located in Omaha, Nebraska. Their support of the Saleen Autosport racing team serves to promote their image of an “ultimate performance” dealership serving the Mid-West.

AMERICAN RACING WHEELS offers quality wheels for the Performance Teams and also manufacture the Saleen Autosport Edition OE wheels for the 1987 Saleen Mustang.

MONROE SHOCKS are specially prepared with individual attention for the Saleen Autosport team. Monroe’s engineers take part in all test sessions to provide their expertise in performance handing.

FLOFIT manufactures the many racing seats provided for the Performance Team as well the OE seats used in the street version of the Saleen Mustang.