LIVONIA, Mich. – If there is one race on the NMRA schedule that the ROUSH Performance drag team is especially looking forward to, it would be the June 15-17 running of the Toyo Tires NMRA Ford Motorsports Nationals at Milan (Mich.) Dragway.
The team is based out of Livonia, a little less than an hour away from the Milan drag strip, and the ROUSH drivers consider this their "home track" as they frequently use it for testing sessions. They are hoping that the "home field" knowledge they have of the racetrack will translate into an advantage during the qualifying and elimination rounds.
During the summertime, when the Michigan weather is cooperative, Susan Roush-McCleneghan and her husband Dale frequently attend the Milan Dragway Wednesday evening "test and tune" sessions which are open to anyone. They use this time to keep sharp on the lights, try out different setup combinations, and continue to develop as drivers as they both are just in their second complete season as competitors.
For Susan, the ties to Milan Dragway go even deeper. As a youngster in grade school she spent considerable time playing at the track while her father, Jack Roush, used the facility to test his drag cars.
"I spent a lot of time at Milan Dragway while I was growing up, " Susan recalled. "Dad did a lot of his testing there when he was running his drag racing programs and it is sort of funny how it has come full circle since then. Now I am getting ready to compete at the same track all these years later."
Even today it is not uncommon to find motorsports legend and NASCAR team owner Jack Roush helping his daughter and son-in-law at the Wednesday test sessions as his schedule allows. Jack started his motorsports career on the quarter-mile and never lost his love for the sport of drag racing, and has even been known to still make a pass down the strip on occasion.
"We've done as many of those Wednesday 'test and tune' sessions as we can squeeze in and Dad has come to quite a few of them. His knowledge has been really helpful in getting our cars and engines the way we need them to be for our style of driving. Like any team, we have had our share of challenges but we are working through them," said Susan.
The 2007 ROUSH Drag Pak Mustang, the first "street to strip" car in three decades, was largely developed and tested at these Wednesday Milan test sessions and in NMRA competition last season. Jack had considerable input and hands-on time at the drag strip during the development cycle.
The four car ROUSH Performance team is comprised of Susan in a 2003 Ford Mustang and her husband Dale who runs the only 1962 Ford Falcon in NMRA competition. Don Bowles, and his son Donnie, both compete in 2005 ROUSH Mustangs. The team has two entries in the ROUSH Modular Muscle division, and two in the Crane Cams Open Comp category. Don Bowles won the Open Comp class at the NMRA season-opening event at Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park in March.
The ROUSH drag team carries sponsorship from ROUSH Performance, ROUSH Filters by K&N, and Kenwood.
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 or telephone toll-free (800) 59-ROUSH.