SETBACKS CAN'T KEEP ROUSH, MARTIN FROM ANOTHER TOP-10 FINISH
LIVONIA, Mich. (September 23, 2008) - It was an up-and-down day - literally - for Jack Roush Jr. and Dean Martin at the KONI Challenge race on Sunday, September 21 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. The team started near the front of the field of more than 60 cars, was penalized and fell towards the back, then rallied to finish sixth when the checkered flag flew over their No. 59 ROUSH/Valvoline Mustang.
Roush qualified the Mustang in 11th position, near the front of the field considering that there were more than 60 cars competing on the tricky 4.486-mile track, nearly double the length and twice the number of turns of any other racetrack on the KONI Challenge circuit.
He marched steadily towards the front, and at one point found himself in a spirited skirmish with the No. 79 Kinetic Motorsports BMW for fifth position.
"As I was making a pass on the (No.) 79 for position, he kept ramming into my car and trying to run me off the racetrack," Roush commented after the race. "I ended up having to turn in hard and hit his door just to keep from running off the road as we went through one of the turns. But that's what the Grand-Am officials saw and they penalized me with a drive-through down pit road. They seemed to miss all the times I was hit and didn't see that I was just trying to keep my car on the racetrack. Yet I got the 'rough driving' penalty which didn't really seem fair since I got run off the track anyway, but it was their call."
Roush lost 18 positions serving the penalty, made one more lap, and turned the No. 59 ROUSH/Valvoline Mustang over to Martin. By the time the driver change and pit stop was finished, the team found themselves mired well back in the field around the 30th position.
Martin took this as a challenge and set his sights on each car in front of his windshield, carefully calculating the pass and taking the position. Through a combination of strategic passes on the track and moving up as cars pitted, Martin was able to work his way into the Top-10 and then all the way to seventh by the time the two-and-a-half hour race concluded.
"Dean did a great job getting us back into contention. The team never hung their head or gave up after the penalty. The Rehagen Racing crew just dug in deep and as a team we rallied for another solid finish. I wish he hadn't gotten ourselves in the hole with the penalty like that, but we proved that we are fighters today for coming back like that," Roush said.
The final results will show the No. 59 ROUSH/Valvoline Mustang in sixth. Though their Rehagen Racing teammates Mike Canney and Hugh Plumb finished ahead of them on the track, the No. 60 Sunset Vineyards Mustang was disqualified in the post-race inspection for a ride height violation. This moves Roush and Martin up one position, and makes five consecutive Top-10 finishes for the team dating back to July.
The No. 52 Columbus Truck & Equipment Mustang piloted by Ray Mason and Billy Johnson fared the best among the three Rehagen Racing cars with a third place showing. This was the second podium finish of the season for the duo. Each of the three Rehagen Racing Mustangs carries the ROUSH 427R graphics scheme.
This event was taped for a SPEED Channel broadcast on Sunday, October 12 at 11 a.m. (Eastern). The final race on the KONI Challenge schedule takes place at Virginia Motorsports Raceway on Sunday, October 5. This is a six-hour endurance event, the longest on the schedule.
The No. 59 Ford Mustang, based out of the Rehagen Racing shop in Livonia, Mich., carries sponsorship from ROUSH Performance and Valvoline. In 2006, this was the highest-finishing Mustang in the series.
-credit: Roush Performance Products