SALINAS, Calif. – Since they debuted a new Ford FR500C Mustang three races ago the No. 61 ROUSH®/Valvoline Mustang of Jack Roush, Jr. and Hugh Plumb have experienced mechanical difficulties at each event, often hampering what could have been a very good day at the racetrack.
On Saturday, May 16 during the running of the Verizon Festival of Speed KONI Challenge race at the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca it was a broken strut
that sidelined the team for five laps; unfortunately when the problem occurred Plumb was running in second on the track with eyes to take the lead.
Roush qualified the car tenth in the field of 38 and the action started right at the drop of the green flag. He had moved up to fourth by lap 18, and at this time the field was so tightly bunched that the difference from first to tenth on the track was just a bit over three seconds.
Despite the many treacherous turns on this natural road course, including the legendary Turn 8 "Corkscrew," the race was clean for the first half, which resulted in much of the field having to make a green flag pit stop. Roush had worked himself up to the second position when he wheeled down pit road on lap 30 for their first pit stop where he turned the No. 61 ROUSH®/Valvoline over to Plumb.
Because this stop was done in the middle of the pit cycle Plumb merged back onto the track in 17th position. As the other cars peeled off for service, and a few key passes on the competition, Plumb moved up to sixth by lap 35; at this point the five cars ahead of him had not yet completed their pit stop so he was the first car on the track that had service completed placing him in an excellent position.
The second half of the race was marked with several cautions, the first on lap 41 and that put Plumb at the front of the field. He led one lap, then dove into the pits for a splash of fuel.
Plumb worked himself back into second place, just a mere two-tenths of a second behind then-leader Todd Lamb when the strut broke forcing him into the pits for unscheduled maintenance. It took the Horsepower Ranch team several minutes to swap the part which placed them well out of contention.
"It was disappointing that we got bit once again with a parts failure," said Roush. "The car had been running very well and Hugh was in position to bring it home in a podium position. But, as they say, ‘that’s racing.’ We’ll get it fixed and be back again next week."
When the race was finished the No. 61 ROUSH®/Valvoline was scored 22nd overall, and ninth in their GS class.
This event was taped for a SPEED Channel broadcast on Saturday, May 23 at noon (Eastern).
The No. 61 Ford Mustang, based out of the Horsepower Ranch shop in Mooresville, N.C., carries sponsorship from ROUSH® Performance, Valvoline and MossMuscle.com. The next event on the KONI Sports Car Challenge schedule is the May 22-25 competition at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.
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 www.ROUSHtv.com. For more information see your local ROUSH® dealer, visit www.ROUSHperformance.com or telephone toll-free (800) 59-ROUSH.