LIVONIA, Mich. – The last race of the season always presents unique challenges as teams prepare to gain as many points as possible for a solid finish in the standings, or just to end the racing year on a high note with that one last “hurrah.”
However, the Grand-Am KONI Challenge season-finale at Virginia International Raceway presents the teams with a rather unique twist; this race is a six-hour enduro which, effectively, makes it like competing in two races back-to-back with no break. The KONI Challenge normally races to a set number of laps, or a two-and-a-half hour time limit, whichever comes first.
“Obviously, a six hour race presents a completely different set of issues that we have to deal with,” stated Jack Roush, Jr., one of the drivers of the No. 59 ROUSH Performance Mustang. “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’s normal co-driver, Dean Martin, will return to the driver’s seat at VIR after taking off the last race to recuperate from injuries sustained in racing incidents. The third driver for the No. 59 ROUSH Performance Mustang will be Colin Braun, a former Grand-Am Daytona Prototype driver that has recently signed a developmental contract with Roush Fenway Racing. Braun comes to the team with a strong resume and the notoriety of being the youngest driver in North America to win a major league motor race when he won at Daytona International Speedway driving for Krohn Racing in the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype series on June, 29, 2006.
In his rookie season of KONI Challenge competition, Jack Roush, Jr., also has another reason to look forward to the VIR race – it is the only racetrack on the schedule that he has competed at previously. In preparation for the 2007 season, Roush raced in this same event last year to gain some experience in the Ford Mustang race car. The team started last year in 35th position, and finished in 16th.
“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 everything from warm, sunny weather to bone-chilling cold and heavy rain.
Virginia International Raceway is a 3.27-mile natural road course located in Danville, Va. The race begins on Sunday, October 7 at noon (Eastern) and is scheduled to run until 6 p.m. Qualifying takes place on Saturday, October 6 at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern). Live timing and scoring throughout the race weekend can be found online at .
Roush’s team currently sits 16th in the point standings and are hoping for a good finish to help move up a few positions. The No. 59 Ford Mustang, based out of the Rehagen Racing shop in Livonia, Mich., carries sponsorship from ROUSH Performance, ROUSH Brakes, Kenwood, ROUSH Filters by K&N, siteLevel, RacerBargains.com and Piloti. Last season this was the highest-finishing Mustang in the series.
Based in Livonia, Mich., “The Art of Performance Engineering” takes place at ROUSH Performance. To get a look behind the scenes at what goes on at ROUSH and how the vehicles are designed, manufactured and produced logon to . In addition to the Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 Ford Mustang and F-150 styling, handling and performance upgrades, a complete line of performance parts and crate engines are offered. For more information see your local ROUSH dealer, visit or telephone toll-free (800) 59-ROUSH.