It's now been two months since the season-finale of the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Miller Motorsports Park. Looking back, it's been a great year for the ROUSH Performance team that I'm personally very proud of. We got the most poles (with three), we won two races (including my father's 400th victory at Homestead), and we led more laps than any other team this year.
On the downside, our Achilles heel in chasing the championship was the DNF at Daytona, the result of a mechanical failure. The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is simply too competitive to have any DNFs and still win the championship.
To put into perspective just how close we came, we finished third this season in the points, just eight behind the champions. The two teams that finished ahead of us had zero DNFs this season. We have great team, and our performance can be seen at all of the races this past year, including Daytona prior to the mechanical problem. That one race became a season-long factor.
As I always like to say, racing is a great sport where it's not just the drivers that you would recognize by name that are competing. The pit crews, crew chiefs, crews at the shops, and many more individuals each make critical contributions that can't be overlooked. In looking at our performance this past year, I'm humbled by the great accomplishments of our team. I also really have to hand it to my co-driver, Billy Johnson. He has great talent, which you can see at any race he goes to, and he's also great to work with. I've continued growing as a driver this past year to a large extent by working with Billy.
If there's one moment that really sticks out as remarkable this past season, it's what happened at Homestead. As some of you might recall, we got the fastest time in qualifying and set a new track record for our series. However, during the standard post-qualifying inspection, Grand-Am made a judgement call claiming a part on our car was unapproved and sent us to the back of the field for the start of the race. This was a big disappointment at the moment given how strong we were. I was concerned that our opportunity to perform well here was now taken away. However, it ended up giving us the chance to really make history, not only winning the 400th Roush win, but doing so starting at the back of the field. Furthermore, it was the very first event ever for the ROUSH Road Crew so many of the club members were there to see this bit of history.
People often ask me how it feels to have Jack Roush as my father. That always strikes me as an odd question -- I have never known anything else. However, what I will say is that the standards that have been laid out in front of me by my father, and what he has himself lived up to, are both inspiring and immense. So, to have been a part of the 400th Roush win was something that I'll always take great pride in.
Racing at this level isn’t something that you can do without support, and we’re fortunate to have several great companies on our Ford Mustang. I'd like to thank our great sponsors for their support this year: ROUSH Performance, Diarkis, UPT, Performance Friction, B.M.R.S., P.W.R., and Kooks.
Quite honestly, two months away from sports car racing feels like two years. I'm itching to get back in the car at the upcoming Homestead test (Nov. 30 - Dec. 1). In the off-season, I've taken the time to do some karting and spend some time on iRacing.com, especially to learn the Road America course. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Billy Johnson will in Michigan so we can do a two hour enduro karting race at Kart2Kart. Stay tuned for the results on this race!
-Jack Roush Jr.