DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For a spell, it looked like the Rehagen Racing team would finish one-two in the Fresh From Florida 200, the season-opening event on the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series. Hugh Plumb in the No. 60 Mustang and Dean Martin in the No. 59 ROUSH®/Valvoline Mustang were running nose-to-tail in the top spots at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway with a nearly ten second lead over the third place car.
Unfortunately, miscommunication and confusion during a late pit stop dropped both cars back in the field with precious few minutes remaining in the three-hour race to make up the ground. By the time the checkered flag flew on the three-hour event, Plumb (with co-driver Mike Canney) finished sixth while Martin was able to make a last lap pass and will be credited with Jack Roush, Jr. for a tenth place finish.
"One mistake got us today," said a dejected Roush who started the No. 59 ROUSH®/Valvoline Mustang in 11th position, his career-best. "It looked like we had a real chance for a win today. We’ll get it figured out though."
Both cars led the race at various points; Plumb led a total of 20 laps, Martin was at the point for 10 laps, and Roush led the field around the 3.56-mile stadium road course for two laps. This event combined both the Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) classes of the KONI Challenge on the racetrack simultaneously so making your way through traffic would prove crucial to a successful finish as there were 89 cars competing in the race.
"The racing was really intense out there," Roush said after the event. "I expected it to be a real meat-grinder with all the cars on the track and am a little surprised that there were not more accidents. It was intense for sure, but not as bad as I had anticipated that it would be."
As a side note, this event marked the first time that motorsports legend and NASCAR team owner Jack Roush had the opportunity to watch his son compete in person in the professional ranks of the KONI Challenge Series.
The No. 59 Ford Mustang, based out of the Rehagen Racing shop in Livonia, Mich., carries sponsorship from ROUSH® Performance, Valvoline, Simply Wow and Battery Brain. In 2006, this was the highest-finishing Mustang in the series.
The Fresh From Florida 200 was taped for a Saturday, February 2 broadcast on SPEED Channel at 8 p.m. (Eastern). The next event on the KONI Challenge schedule will take place at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., on May 26-28.
Based in Livonia, Mich., "The Art of Performance Engineering" takes place at ROUSH® Performance. To get a look behind the scenes at what goes on at ROUSH® and how the vehicles are designed, manufactured and produced logon to . In addition to the Stage 1TM, Stage 2TM and Stage 3TM 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.