David Ragan helps drive Mustang 1,500 Bristol laps on one tank

Running 500 laps at Bristol is tough. Now imagine running nearly three times that amount, and doing it on a single tank of gas.

The folks at Ford just ran the Mustang 1,000-Lap Challenge with the new 2011 Ford Mustang, and guess what — they hit their mark and blew it away, going 1,457 laps or 777 miles at an mpg of 48.5 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Not bad, right?

The Challenge team included four Ford Mustang engineers and driver David Ragan, and they completed the entire circuit in 17 hours and 40 minutes. Ragan was the one who hit the 1,000-lap mark at about 7:30 Wednesday night, but the car kept on running until after midnight. (Let's throw the other drivers some love: They were Seong Park, Tom Barnes, Jonathan Mehl and Carl Ek. Each one took a one-hour stint on the circuit.)

Now, this isn't like you're going to get 1,500 miles on your next tank of gas. The engineers took several precautions, like driving smoothly and keeping air conditioning at a minimum. (Mmmm ... southwestern Virginia in the summer with no air conditioning. Bet that Mustang smells lovely right about now.)

Anyway, congrats to the Mustang team on a hell of an achievement. OK, so — two Bristols' worth of laps on a single tank of gas. I think I know Junior's strategy now for the Bristol night race — can't have a pit problem if you don't have to pit!

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