The new year of 2012 has just begun, and the first Grand-Am test of the season is only a few days away. On Friday January 6th, the #61 ROUSH Performance Mustang will roll out onto Daytona International Raceway, piloted by myself and Billy Johnson. Although, this time will be different than in years past, with two additional cars running with us on our team. Jade Buford and Shelby Blackstock will be piloting the #51 Mustang, and Roly Falguerres and Brian Ortiz will be in the #49 Mustang. This will mark the first time that we've had two additional cars in our stable at any event.
I've always liked Daytona. We have run well there, running very competitive lap times, but looking at the results of the past two years there, you might not think that this was the case. In 2010, we were forced to stop the race early due to an engine problem, and last year we had a crash early in the race that yet again stopped our run. This track has stood out for both years (in not finishing) because of how strong we ran throughout each season. Other than Daytona and Laguna Seca (where we had a mechanical issue with the car that ended our race), we podiumed at every single event and had an average finish of 1.875. Had we not had that bad start to the season, we would have easily won the season. Needless to say, we are determined to show our strength early in the season with a good finish here in 2012.
Of course, it will be tough as always. The field in the Continental Tire Series is easily one of the most competitive road racing series in the U.S. Teams are constantly improving their game, just as we are, and unceasing rule changes have a tendency to shift the advantage around in a way that can be unpredictable. But then again, if it was easy, what would be the point?
I'd like to thank our sponsors for their support going into the 2012 season: Gary Yeomans Ford, USANA Health Sciences, ROUSH Performance, Strategic Brand Solutions, Mechanix Wear, BMRS, PWR, RAM, Performance Friction, OMP, Kooks Custom Headers, and GoPro. I'd also like to thank Ford Motor Company for providing us a great platform on which to race. Not only does the Mustang have ample power to compete with the best from around the world, but it also has the fuel economy and handling capabilities to make the car do well over the long run.
It's been four months since our last event in September at Mid-Ohio. Our team is eager to get things rolling once again, and I have great faith in our team to continue our momentum going into 2012.
Stay tuned for more updates soon...
- Jack Roush Jr.