WILLOWS, Calif. – Held on a day with the type of weather that the Chamber of Commerce likes to hype, the ROUSH Performance Day at the Hooked on Driving School ran with a record car count, countless laps and plenty of smiles at Thunderhill Raceway Park.
With more than 100 cars in attendance, the drivers were broken into groups designed as A, B, C and D which helped to segregate them into appropriate skill sets. Each group was given five sessions of 20 minutes apiece, so there was plenty of track time for learning the fastest line around the 2.8-mile natural road course and becoming familiar with the extreme handling characteristics of the car.
Like ROUSH Performance, the Hooked on Driving instructors believe that the streets are not the place to learn the boundaries of your high-performance vehicle. Instead, their Hooked on Driving program is not designed to mimic a racing environment, but instead teaches how to drive in a safe, controlled environment.
Drivers are encouraged to drive at a seven-tenths pace, hard enough to push the car but not get reckless. Passing is only allowed in designated zones and typically a "wave-by" is offered indicating that the slower vehicle is aware of being passed and will remain safely out of the way.
To further the education, a group discussion was held following each run session and tailored to the skills and experience of the group. The beginners were given instruction more suited to the first-time at a track day than the experienced drivers. Hooked on Driving instructors were available and willing to strap themselves in the passenger seat of any car for on-track coaching.
Smoothness, rather than quickness, was the goal for each of the attendees. No times were taken, and there were no winners or losers (unless you didn’t have fun which is pretty unlikely). The Hooked on Driving instructors taught the drivers to be smooth with the steering, smooth with the shifting, and smooth on the accelerator.
Plans are already being discussed for a 2008 ROUSH Performance Day with the Hooked on Driving school, but still they have plenty of dates open for enthusiasts this year. Visit for more information or to sign up for a future program.
Thanks to all the ROUSH owners and enthusiasts for coming out and tracking their cars, and a special thanks to Corning Ford for displaying a ROUSH Stage 3 and 427R Mustang during the event.