NO. 59 ROUSH0/VALVOLINE MUSTANG ROUNDS OUT ALL-MUSTANG PODIUM BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 19, 2008) - It has been often-claimed that Barber Motorsports Park, the 2.3-mile, 16-turn natural road course is just "not a Mustang track." Today, that notion...
NO. 59 ROUSH0/VALVOLINE MUSTANG ROUNDS OUT ALL-MUSTANG PODIUM
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 19, 2008) - It has been often-claimed that Barber Motorsports Park, the 2.3-mile, 16-turn natural road course is just "not a Mustang track." Today, that notion was proved wrong as Jack Roush, Jr. and his co-driver Dean Martin stood on an all-Ford Mustang podium in the KONI Challenge race.
"It's great; really awesome," Roush said about his career-best and first podium finish in KONI Challenge competition. "It definitely feels like we earned it today. I started out a little conservative as I didn't want to crash right at the start. But I have to give a ton of credit to the Rehagen team for putting an awesome setup on the car today. I was able to jump on the back of the Porsche's and BMW's and really pressure them into making a mistake. They were spending as much time looking in their rear view mirror as out the front window which tends to lead to driver errors.
"It was a real surprise to everybody that the Ford Mustang swept the top three sports," Roush added. "It was a great day to be a Mustang driver."
"We never expected to be on the podium here," Martin said following the race. "We had hoped for a Top-10, but to be part of an all-Mustang podium is just amazing and something I never thought we would see at Barber. I have to give all the credit to Jack for what we did here today. He did all the hard work and drove an awesome first stint. All I needed to do was just put the car in cruise control and run it to the end."
Roush qualified the No. 59 ROUSH0/Valvoline Mustang in 12th position on the grid and when the green flag flew he settled into a rhythm and steadily moved through the field one car at a time. By the one-hour mark of the two-and-a-half hour race Roush had already risen into the fourth position, and then picked off another two spots when it came time for him to make a green flag pit stop and turn the car over to Martin.
Martin came out in sixth following a great service by the Rehagen Racing crew and was up to fourth just a couple of laps later. But fourth place was seemingly the best that Martin could do for much of the race as he just couldn't quite catch the third place driver, Andy Lally in a BMW M3.
Surprisingly, Lally had to make a late dash into the pits for a splash of fuel on lap 74 which allowed Martin to move into the podium position where he remained until the checkered flag flew after 89 laps.
The Ford Mustangs finished first, second and third and added to their storied history in road racing. The duo of Joe Foster and Scott Maxwell won from the pole, followed by Bret Seafuse and James Gue. Roush and Martin finished third overall, 28.1 seconds behind the leader. The entire event was contested without a single caution flag.
The other Rehagen Racing teams had mixed results. The No. 52 Columbus Truck & Equipment finished 12th with Ray Mason and Dion von Moltke behind the wheel. The No. 58 Sunset Hills Vineyard Mustang with Mike Canney and Hugh Plumb came into Barber Motorsports Park with high hopes as they were third in the points prior to the race. Unfortunately, the team experienced mechanical difficulties the entire weekend, and Canney spun at the start of the event and hit the wall on the straight between Turn 4 and Turn 5 causing heavy suspension damage. Though they came back to finish 29th, the hit to the points will be more costly than the damage to the car. Both of these cars also run the ROUSH 427R0x2122 Mustang graphics.
This race was taped for a broadcast on Saturday, July 26 at 2 p.m. (Eastern) on SPEED Channel. The next event on the KONI Challenge schedule takes place at Iowa Speedway on August 9 and 10.