Widely known as both the “godfather” of Ford Motor Company’s racing efforts and a prominent ambassador for the sport of auto racing globally, Edsel B. Ford II will be honored as a Bob Russo Heritage Award winner at the 2024 Induction Celebration for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA).
Ford will be formally presented with the award March 12, 2024, during the 36th Annual MSHFA Induction Ceremony presented by Toyota Racing at The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach.
The MSHFA’s highest honor next to induction, the Bob Russo Heritage Award is named in recognition of the longtime motorsports journalist and historian and is presented only by the recommendation of the MSHFA board of directors in recognition of the recipient’s contributions to motorsports.
Ford attended his first race at age 17 with his father, Henry Ford II, in 1966, and it just happened to be one of the most iconic races in motorsport history—the famous 1-2-3 finish by the Ford GT40s at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It sparked a passion for the sport that remains decades later, where he is still a familiar sight on starting grids at major races.
“I am honored to be considered for the Bob Russo Heritage Award by the Motorsport Hall of Fame of America,” said Ford, who is often seen at the racetrack with his own sons. “Outside of my family, the sport of motor racing has been one of the great passions of my life and to be honored by the MSHFA in this way is humbling. I have said many times that the sport produces such amazing people and personalities, and it’s been my honor to have been around so many of the people who have been inducted into this Hall of Fame, and, better yet, to consider so many of them my friends.”
Ford was named president and chief operation officer for Ford Motor Credit starting in 1991 and was widely credited for helping bring the Ford Quality Care and Ford Credit brands to NASCAR, where Dale Jarrett took the colors to a NASCAR Cup Series championship for Robert Yates Racing in 1999.
He was also influential in helping bring Robert Yates and Jack Roush (MSHFA Class of 2022) together to form Roush Yates Engines just a few years later.
Ford served on the Ford Motor Company board of directors for 33 years before retirement and has been active over the years in philanthropic efforts, including the Detroit 300 Conservancy, the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, the Detroit Children’s Fund, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and The Henry Ford.
In 2013, he was presented with the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award for his achievements in the automotive industry with Ford Motor Company and was named the Landmark Award winner for the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2020. Last month, he and his longtime friend and 1995 MSHFA inductee Roger Penske were inducted into the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
He currently is the owner and chairman of Pentastar Aviation in Waterford, Michigan.
The MSHFA is housed in Daytona International Speedway’s Ticket & Tours Building located in front of the famed 2.5-mile DIS tri-oval.