Second Generation Racers Headed to VIR KONI Challenge Race DANVILLE, VA. -- According to the old tales, talent and abilities flow in bloodlines. Racing talent is certainly one of those, with the Unser, Petty, Earnhardt, Gregg, Donohue, and Roush...
Second Generation Racers Headed to VIR KONI Challenge Race
DANVILLE, VA. -- According to the old tales, talent and abilities flow in bloodlines. Racing talent is certainly one of those, with the Unser, Petty, Earnhardt, Gregg, Donohue, and Roush families all following one generation after another.
Yes, Roush. 32-year-old Jack Roush, Jr., son of successful team owner Jack Roush, is racing too. Not in drag racing, where his father started, but in the road racing sports car battles of KONI Challenge series, where he will be racing in the series' season finale October 7. The six-hour endurance race for the Mustangs, Porsches, BMWs and Pontiacs of the series, will determine the season championship for both driver and manufacturer.
"Obviously, a six hour race presents a completely different set of issues that we have to deal with," stated Jack Roush, Jr. "This is like a 'double race' so we need to bring additional brakes, fuel, several more sets of tires, and a third driver to help make it through the event. In some regards, this race is more like the survival of the fittest to see which teams and cars can make it through to the end."
Roush, after running in only seven of the eleven races leading up to the Danville classic is in 27th place, but with a win could vault into the top twenty at year's end. The team is 16th in the point standings and a win could move them well up in the standings at the season's final race.
Jack's racing career started, like so many others, in karting, where he and his father raced together at Flat Rock Speedway in Michigan, earning four championships and tying for the season crown in their final half-season. Moving on from karts, Jack Jr. tried drag racing, using that as a learning tool. Stepping out of the straight-line sport of drag racing into road racing sports cars is a hard leap for many; Roush made the move almost seamlessly, starting in a 2001 Mustang as driver and team owner.
Obviously taking advantage of family connections, Roush drives a Ford Mustang, the No. 59 Rehagen Racing team car, with co-driver Dean Martin. Not only a Ford, but with sponsorship from ROUSH Performance, one of his father's businesses. Martin is returning to the driving seat after taking a race off so he could recover from racing injuries. Joining the pair as third driver in the long race is Colin Braun, newly-signed to Roush Fenway Racing as a development driver and Grand-Am Daytona Prototype racer. Braun co-drove to a win at Daytona June 29, 2006, becoming the youngest driver to capture a DP race.
The race at VIR is not his first at the Danville, Virginia track: "I'm really looking forward to heading back to VIR and a track that I am familiar with," said Roush. "This season has been a challenge because I am still learning the feel of the Mustang as well as the layout on every other track we visit. At least I have some experience at VIR from the race last year and I think that this time I will be much quicker, and hopefully, the weather will be more cooperative," he added, referring to the 2006 event which saw a wide range of conditions.
"We're happy to welcome Jack to VIR on his return to our GT Live/KONI Challenge event," said VIR General Manager Josh Lief. "We truly appreciate the heritage that family ties bring to our sport and the Roush family is a great name in racing."
The younger Roush's "day job" is as vice president for product development with "What-U-Seek" in Livonia, Michigan, a web-based software company that assists companies with online marketing and web marketing initiatives.
The racing bug runs deep in the Roush family, as Jack Jr.'s sister Susan and her husband Dale are involved in drag racing, keeping the family name at the fore in that sport as well.