LIVONIA, Mich. - It's rare to hear about a 33-year old going back to school, but that is exactly what Jack Roush, Jr. did in preparation for his 2007 season debut in the KONI Challenge Series.
To further his learning curve in advancing from go-karts to a heavier, full-body Mustang, last week Roush spent two days at Firebird International Raceway with Mike McGovern, head instructor at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.
"I learned a lot about road racing in a short amount of time," Roush explained. "It was sort of like cramming for an exam. The two main things we focused on was looking through the corner and learning more about vehicle dynamics, such as how to adjust the behavior of the car through a turn with throttle and brake as handling devices. I am really excited to put these new skills to use at Homestead." As a side note, the only other pupil in his Advanced Road Racing course was Robin Quivers, co-host of "The Howard Stern Show" who was preparing for the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race in Long Beach, Calif.
Roush will have his first chance to put this schooling to test during the April 13-15 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a 2.3-mile stadium road course. He is scheduled to complete the rest of the Grand-Am KONI Challenge with co-driver Dean Martin in the No. 59 ROUSH Performance Mustang. Roush missed the first event of the season at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway as he awaited the birth of a daughter.
This is not the only tutoring session that Roush has had to help prepare him for a road racing career. Last October he spent a day at Virginia International Raceway with Boris Said, one of the finest road racers ever to turn a steering wheel.
Though Roush has been around motorsports his entire life, thanks to his father Jack Roush who is a legend in racing with 34 championships to his credit, the KONI Challenge is the first time that he has become serious about pursuing a career in a professional category. It is not, however, his first time behind the wheel of a race car.
Roush began his racing career in go-karts, starting at six years of age in 1979 when he and his father raced together in the Ford Thunderbird Kart Club at Flat Rock (Mich.) Speedway. During the five seasons they raced, the pair captured 4.5 championships and tied for the championship in the final half-season. Interestingly, Roush ran the number 11 on his kart, a number which later adorned some of his father's race cars. Even today, he still participates in some karting events at Kart2Kart in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Drag racing also briefly captured his attention. Last July Roush ran in the NMRA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing behind the wheel of a 2001 Ford Mustang which was being used by ROUSH Performance as a research and development vehicle for the company's line of crate engines. He advanced to the third elimination round in the Modular Muscle class, deeper than any driver in the multi-car ROUSH Performance team had progressed to that point in NMRA competition.
The competition begins on Friday, April 13 with two practice sessions, followed by qualifying the following day. The race gets the green flag at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, April 15 and is scheduled to run for 400 kilometers (109-laps). Though this event will not be televised, the complete results and live timing and scoring can be found online at .
The No. 59 Rehagen Ford Mustang, based out of Westland, Mich., carries sponsorship from ROUSH Performance, ROUSH Brakes, 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 array of 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.