On Friday, July 27th, the Grand-Am Continental Tire Series will be racing at Indy for the first time in its history. It will be an action-packed day of racing, with the only practice of the event, qualifying, and race all on the same day. The event will be using the Indy road racing circuit, which utilizes the infield course and runs a portion of the oval in reverse to what the NASCAR and Indy series run. This track configuration has not been run for an event involving cars since Formula 1 ran the circuit in 2007. Not only is a unique event in terms of the track, but also in what other series will be present on the same weekend — the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series, in addition to the Rolex Series.
“It’s not only an honor to be on the historic Indianapolis race track, but also to be joining NASCAR on the Brickyard weekend,” says Jack Roush Jr. Like most other teams in the series, the only practice that the ROUSH Performance® team had here was earlier in the month during the Grand-Am sanctioned test. The team ran very good times during the test, but tire life on the grated oval surface is a major concern.
In addition to Billy Johnson and Jack Roush Jr. in the No. 61 Mustang will be Shelby Blackstock in the No. 51. Shelby will be co-driving with a new member of the ROUSH team, Joey Atterbury. “I am very excited to be joining the ROUSH Performance/Starstruck No. 51 car with Shelby Blackstock for the rest of the season,” says Joey. “It’s well known throughout the series that ROUSH is the class of the field, to have the opportunity to pair with one of my good friends Shelby in a top notch car is something I couldn’t pass up. Shelby and I have been good friends for a few years now. We have always talked about the chance of being able to race together, now that it is finally happening, I feel that both of us are going to help each other improve. We both feel the same things in the car and are able to mesh with the entire Roush team, this should be a great driver pairing for the rest of the year. During the first test at Indy, the entire ROUSH team welcomed me with nothing but a positive attitude and a fast racecar. They know what it takes to win in this series, and to have drivers like Billy Johnson, Jack Roush Jr, and Shelby Blackstock on board to help me get up to speed immediately and feel comfortable, I feel that the No. 51 car will be at the front of the field for the rest of the season.”
As for the track itself, Joey adds, “Indianapolis is a great venue and a big addition to the series. The track should provide some great racing with GRAND-AM and the excitement will be non stop with how big the field is in the CTSCC.”
A third car will join the ROUSH Performance team for Indy, the No. 21 car, driven by Dave Mundy and Tony Rivera.
“I’m really excited to be racing again in Indy,” says Billy Johnson. “While the track is a simple layout, it is quite fun to drive and should contribute to exciting racing especially for our Grand-Am series. I’m looking forward to working with Joey Atterbury, Tony Rivera, and Dave Mundy who are great additions who will undoubtedly strengthen the team.”
Sponsors of the No. 61 Mustang include ROUSH Performance, Gary Yeomans Ford Lincoln, USANA Health Sciences, Kooks Custom Headers, BMRS, Mechanix Wear, Strategic Brand Solutions, PWR, GoPro, and Performance Friction. The No. 51 Mustang is sponsored by Starstruck and ViON.
Watch the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge, August 5th at Noon Eastern Time on SPEED