LIVONIA, Mich. – Jack Roush, Jr., will be driving the No. 59 ROUSH Performance Mustang at Miller Motorsports Park just as he has all season long in the Grand-Am KONI Challenge. What will be different is his co-driver for the September 14 event.
Stepping aside for this race will be Dean Martin who is still feeling the effects of injuries sustained in an accident during the running of Le Grand Prix de Trois-Riveires. Not confident he can drive at 100-percent yet, Martin will assume the role of race strategist and work atop the pit box for this event. He does plan on returning to the cockpit for the season-finale at Virginia International Raceway next month.
Filling in as a substitute driver is Ken Wilden who, paired with Martin, drove the No. 52 Rehagen Racing team car to victory at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course earlier this year.
Martin explained how Wilden was chosen as the co-driver for this race.
“Miller (Motorsports Park) is a track where track experience pays dividends. You really need to know the track in order to be fast at Miller. There are a lot of fast, blind corners and very few visual cues to use. Kenny will be racing in the (Rolex Series) GT class at Miller so he will accumulate a significant amount of track time during the weekend. This will enable Jack to get more seat time during the practice sessions as Kenny will not be using track time for learning, but race setup. Kenny will be better able to get Jack up to speed given the amount of track time he will get,” he said.
Miller Motorsports Park, located in Tooele, Utah, is a massive natural road course spanning 4.486-miles and 24 turns. The sheer size of the racetrack makes it difficult to learn and remember the line, and Roush is hoping that Wilden will be able to assist his learning curve.
“I’ve never seen Miller before, except in an illustration of the racetrack,” explained Roush. “I’ve talked to a number of drivers and they all say that this is one challenging racetrack to learn. Since it is nearly twice the size – or even more – than most of the tracks on the KONI Challenge circuit it is really tough to remember each turn and the correct braking points, lines, and speeds. Ken has raced here before, will be in a Rolex GT car this weekend, and is also a professional driving coach. Hopefully, he will be able to spend time with me and help me with the learning curve.”
As this is his first full-season of KONI Challenge competition, Roush has the added task of learning each track. Through a combination of on-track practice sessions, combined with an extensive review of the data captured by the on-board computer and a review of the in-car video, he has been able to get comfortable with most of the tracks fairly quickly so far.
Traffic will be an added element to the equation at Miller Motorsports Park as this event will see the combined running of the KONI Challenge GS class that Roush competes in paired with the slower ST division vehicles. There could be as many as 70 cars on the racetrack at the same time which, with speed differences, could make passing an added challenge.
The race begins on Friday, September 14 at 3 p.m. (local time) and is scheduled to run for 45-laps or a 2.5-hour time limit, whichever comes first. Qualifying takes place on Thursday, September 13 at 5:10 p.m. (local time). The race will be taped for broadcast on SPEED Channel on September 23 at 3 p.m. (Eastern). Live timing and scoring throughout the race weekend can be found online at .
The No. 59 Ford Mustang, based out of the Rehagen Racing shop in Westland, 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. 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