MILLVILLE, N.J. – Jack Roush Jr. fought both the car and his competitors during his run in the Garden State 250, the KONI Sports Car Challenge race at Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park this afternoon.
He qualified the No. 61 ROUSH®/Valvoline Mustang in fourth on the 2.25-mile natural road course, and moved up into third on the first green flag lap of the event which was a combination of the KONI Challenge Grand Sport (GS) and Sport Tuner (ST) vehicles. A few laps later he lost that position and was back in fourth again where he ran until lap 25 when Roush moved into second.
He took the lead on lap 30, pacing the full field of 45 KONI Challenge vehicles. He was out front until lap 37 when the lone caution of the event flew and strategy dictated the team pit under the yellow flag and Roush turned the driver’s seat over to Hugh Plumb. In total Roush led eight laps which matched his career high.
"The ROUSH/Valvoline Mustang really changed dramatically from qualifying to the race," Roush explained. "It wanted a real different line and I really struggled in the opening laps and gained a spot but gave it back trying to figure out the handling. I finally determined where the braking points, the steering and turn-in points were and what the car wanted.
"Unfortunately, when Hugh jumped in there was something off. We don’t know if it was mechanical or something else and that hampered his run. We still haven’t figured out what changed on the car," he added.
Plumb pulled the No. 61 ROUSH/Valvoline Mustang out of the pits in 18th position, but moved up to 12th as more cars entered the pits. When the green flag flew again on lap 42 he made a strong charge and moved into the top ten with more cars in his sights.
By lap 58 Plumb had sliced through the field and was running in fourth, just eight seconds behind the leader. However, a quick stop for fuel put him back into the 11th position and he was unable to make up more than two spots before the checkered flag flew. The team finished on the lead lap in ninth overall, the second time in the three races this season that they have had a top-10 finish.
This event was taped for a SPEED Channel broadcast on Saturday, May 9 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 15-16 running of the Verizon Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, Calif.
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.