MILAN, Mich. - The ROUSH® Drag Racing Team didn’t have to travel far for this stop on the NMRA’s Ford Drag Racing Series tour, as Michigan’s Milan Dragway is just a short 45-minute drive down the highway from the ROUSH® Performance headquarters in Livonia.
ROUSH® Drag Racing Team member Donnie Bowles hasn’t been competing for very long, but in his short career he’s done very well for himself. As someone who picked up a love for the sport much later in life, Donnie has had to play catch-up to his competition, many of whom have been drag racing for decades. He races his 2005 ROUSH® Stage 3™ Mustang in the NMRA’s ROUSH® Modular Muscle class against some of the toughest competition that the series has to offer.
During the June 13 elimination rounds Donnie took over in the Modular Muscle class, which is sponsored by ROUSH® Performance. He was good enough on the tree during qualifying to end up fifth out of 24 cars with a .006 reaction time, which is quite impressive given the level of competition in the class. He won over Richard Robinson and Greg Tomczyk before meeting up with, and winning over fellow team member Susan Roush-McClenaghan in the quarterfinals. In the semifinal round, Bowles had to race against good friend and class champion Tom Motycka, and came out on the wrong end of an extremely close race. He explained, "I don’t like losing, but Tom had me by .004 on the tree, and the margin at the stripe was .006. Any time I can get into a race like that, I can live with it. We both weren’t great on the tree, but I was on my number with an 8 and he was on his number with a 6, so it was just that close. It was a great race."
Susan Roush-McClenaghan also competes in the ROUSH® Performance Modular Muscle class, and this weekend she had her hands full with the competition. She qualified eighth in the field with a .013 reaction time, showing just how good the racers in this class are on the Christmas tree. Once eliminations rolled around, she won over Steve Gauman and Maryland’s Tom Conrad Jr. before succumbing to Donnie Bowles in the quarterfinals. With the elimination rounds taking place on the same day as the final qualifying session, predicting the car’s performance became that much more difficult, as the changing conditions throughout the day had all of the competition struggling to be on their game.
It was a tough week for Don Bowles Sr., as he and the rest of the ROUSH® Drag Racing team crewmembers had to complete a mad thrash to repair his car after a crash the week prior during the NMCA’s Maple Grove race. The entire right side of the Marverick had to be replaced, but the ROUSH® crew made the necessary repairs, and when Don rolled the car out of the trailer on Friday, it looked as good as new. Don qualified fourth out of five cars after winning the last event in New Jersey. Unfortunately, he didn’t fare as well during eliminations this time around, as his 8.86 elapsed time in the first round wasn’t quick enough to get past eventual runner-up Max Gross’ 8.75.
The Milan race was Dale McClenaghan’s first opportunity to get out onto the racetrack this season as his daily duties with ROUSH® Industries have kept sidelined. He ended up qualifying 16th out of 29 cars in the Open Comp class with a .033 reaction time. The 1962 Falcon that he campaigns is powered by a ROUSH® Competition Engines-built 589 cubic inch Ford big-block, so he’s almost always able to do the chasing during eliminations, rather than be chased – always an advantage in the Open Comp format of racing. Dale won over Wesley Dalrymple and took advantage of a bye before meeting up with eventual winner Bruce Parker in the quarterfinals, which ended his weekend.
The ROUSH® Drag Team carries sponsorship from 3M, Valvoline, Mickey Thompson and ROUSH®. The next event on the NMRA schedule will take place July 16-19, 2009 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois.
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 and parts are designed, manufactured, tested 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. On Twitter follow us @_ROUSH_