LAS VEGAS - When Mike Bliss made his decision to leave Roush Racing's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team for the Winston Cup Series, Roush found a unique way to hire his replacement. Roush conducted auditions to find the...
LAS VEGAS - When Mike Bliss made his decision to leave Roush Racing's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team for the Winston Cup Series, Roush found a unique way to hire his replacement.
Roush conducted auditions to find the perfect driver for the Exide Batteries Ford F-150. After sifting through nearly 100 candidates, Roush hired Las Vegan Kurt Busch following auditions in Phoenix and Toledo, Ohio. On Wednesday and Thursday, Roush Racing will be hoping to find the next Kurt Busch during an audition at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"Kurt Busch was hired to drive for Roush Racing after going through the same type of auditioning process that we will be holding at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this week, " said Max Jones, who heads up Roush's Truck Series program. "What we do is bring a group of four or five drivers out and put them behind the wheel of a Roush Racing prepared truck. Of course we look for driving skills, but we also test their abilities in other categories as well. We are looking for drivers that have solid backgrounds regarding chassis setups, and ones that are able to give in-depth feedback when requesting adjustments.
"Kurt Busch excelled in all of the categories and therefore ultimately received the job. Another trait that is important to us is the willingness to learn about the trucks and how the Roush Racing system works. We use the truck series to develop are next fleet of Winston Cup racers, so we are not looking for guys that just need a job for one season and then will jump ship. We take a big interest in the drivers we hire for the truck series, and we ask them to take the same interest in our organization."
Jones and current NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points leader Greg Biffle will be on hand to put four candidates through a rigorous two-day test for the two vacant Truck rides in Roush's stable for 2001.
Busch, who has established a new Truck Series rookie record with three wins this season and is the likely rookie of the year in the series, is moving to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Biffle, who won the 1999 Truck race at LVMS, will be competing in the NASCAR Busch Series next year.
"Kurt Busch has done an outstanding job for the Roush truck program," Jones said. "We knew he was going to be a great driver, but we had no idea he would develop so quickly. We are looking for some of that same talent and we are hoping the Gong Show format we've used in the past will help us find it."
Current Truck Series regular Scott Riggs, Re/Max Challenge Series driver Nathan Haseleu, Tim Peters, a late model stock-car driver from Martinsville, Va., and Concord, N.C., late-model driver Chuck Hossfeld will be the four drivers auditioning for the rides.