FORD RACING FINISHES SECOND AND THIRD IN KONI CHALLENGE SEASON OPENER DAYTONA BEACH, FL, (January 23, 2009) -- After Mustang teams spent most of the day leading the field around Daytona International Speedway, a late-race caution flag with only...
FORD RACING FINISHES SECOND AND THIRD IN KONI CHALLENGE SEASON OPENER
DAYTONA BEACH, FL, (January 23, 2009) -- After Mustang teams spent most of the day leading the field around Daytona International Speedway, a late-race caution flag with only minutes remaining in the season-opening Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series race ended the Mustang's day just one position short of a perfect weekend.
The driving duo of Jack Roush Jr. and Hugh Plumb were the top-finishing Mustang drivers with their second-place showing. The Horsepower Ranch team combined to lead 10 laps of the race, with Roush Jr. at the wheel for eight of those lead laps.
"It was a little bit of a rough start, finding our way up, but eventually I was able to get some momentum and go up to the front," said Roush Jr. "That was definitely a lot of fun. As soon as I got out of the car, Hugh Plumb did an awesome job of racing out there so I'm really happy with how we did."
As the second driver in the No. 61, Plumb spent most of his time battling around the second and third positions. As the end of the race neared, Plumb went to make a move towards the front, but got a little loose and lost track position. Immediately following, a car veered off track and triggered the race-ending caution.
"What a battle," said Plumb. "When it came down to the last 10-15 minutes, we were all thinking [that] we've got to make our move to the lead. We got a tap from behind, but that's a bit of a racing incident and we moved back to third. I think with a couple more laps to go with [this] fantastic car, I could have brought it back to the lead."
Following right behind Horsepower Ranch was the No. 59 Rehagen Racing Mustang with co-drivers Dean Martin and Ken Wilden. The team led a race-high 24 laps in the race with 23 of those coming with pole winner, Martin, behind the wheel.
"The start of the race was good; I actually had Jeff Segal work me over pretty good on the start," said Martin. "On the restart, I got back by him and got up on the banking and was able to let the Mustang stretch it's legs a little bit and get ahead of him; and just had a good solid run. Towards the end of the stint, Jack [Roush Jr.] got a real good run on me and drafted past me down on the straight and we just kind of hung out and messed around for a little bit.
"I'd be lying if I told you that I wasn't very disappointed with the outcome of the race," continued Martin. "We did what we could. I've really got to give some accolades to our pit crew. Those guys rocked. We had such an awesome pit stop. We were out way ahead of everybody and we just didn't have the car to win this weekend. But we'll be back in Homestead."
Martin handed off his Mustang to co-driver Ken Wilden almost exactly at the halfway point of the three-hour race. Wilden battled right to the very end to gain track position, but when the final caution flag came out, the No. 59's position in third was final.
"It was a good battle out there for sure," said Wilden. "I was trying to save my brakes; we had a pretty low pedal. I did some pretty aggressive moves to get by Bill [Auberlen] there and wasn't sure if I was going to stay on track. I was giving it my all. We had a good test; we had the pole and we wanted to win this race. I don't think that we're satisfied and we'll be working hard at the next race."
"The Mustang had a really strong showing here this weekend," said Jamie Allison, manager, Ford Performance Group. "While that last caution prevented us from having a chance to get back up into the lead, we're very proud with how our team's performed. Rehagen Racing and Horsepower Ranch demonstrated to fans and competitors alike, that the Mustang is a powerful performance car, and we look forward to a great and successful racing season."
-credit: ford racing