DAYTONA BEACH, FL (January 29, 2012) - Roush Yates Engines powered Ford Daytona Prototype series entries to a 1-2-3 "podium finish" in Sunday's 50th Running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The 761-lap endurance race was green flagged yesterday afternoon.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star AJ Allmendinger drove the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford / Riley Daytona Prototype entry to the win. It was an epic battle over the final two hours between three Ford DP entries in one of the most competitive Rolex 24 events in recent memory.
Allmendinger traded the lead with Michael Shank Racing teammate Felipe Nasr (No. 6) and pole sitter Ryan Dalziel (No. 8) in the Starworks Motorsport Ford / Riley over the final hours - even in the light of being placed in the car for a stout 3-hour stint to anchor the No. 60's driving chores to the checkered flag finish.
Dalziel finished second while Nasr took third in clearly the greatest day of sports car/road racing performance history at Roush Yates. Allmendinger's margin of victory was 5.198 seconds over Dalziel.
When the media seemingly and rightfully tagged the BMWs and Corvettes as the teams to beat in the 14-car DP division, Ford /Riley and a team of engineers, technicians, and assemblers at Roush Yates Engines were able to shed Ford's "underdog" moniker as soon as all six Ford DP entries touched the Daytona pavement early last week. They were fast and it proved no fluke once the top starting spot was earned by Dalziel.
"It just doesn't get any better in road racing than winning the 50th Running of the Rolex 24 - such a prestigious event," said Doug Yates, Roush Yates CEO. "This was just an amazing accomplishment from everyone at Roush Yates, who had a hand in making these engines perform flawlessly, to the teams and drivers who put their talent on the line and trusted our technology. This is the 10th year that we have had engines in the Rolex 24, and Roush Yates has stayed committed to making this program better each year. This was truly our year."
In addition to Allmendinger, the winning No. 60 driver roster consisted of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, John Pew, and Ozz Negri as the team took home the coveted Rolex watches and trophy.
A tired and sweating Allmendinger in victory lane said: "I want to thank everyone at Roush Yates and (DP program manager John) Maddox. Wow, I am so worn out right now ... but this Roush Yates motor was a rocket ship. Michael puts together great race cars and we owe this to him. Ford 1-2-3 on the podium ... wow that is absolutely amazing."
John Maddox, Roush Yates Engines' Daytona Prototype/Road Racing program manager commented: "This was our 10th attempt to win this thing overall. Finally! In these past 10 years we have been really good down here ... and had tragedy strike (our engines). Now it all came together. We had a few practice and qualifying struggles, and even an early race concern. But the professionalism of every person down here connected to these Ford teams enabled this great outcome. We are definitely connected with the right partners in Michael Shank Racing and Starworks."
BMW Performance 200 (Friday)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (January 27, 2012) - A Roush Yates-built Ford Boss 302R engine sat on the pole with driver Shelby Blackstock for Friday's BMW Performance 200 Grand Am Continental Tire Series race here; and it a Roush Yates-built Boss 302R that won - but with a different driver / car than the polesitter.
Jack Roush Jr. and co-driver Billy Johnson, who started from the outside pole, won Friday's season-opening Grand Am Continental Tire Series event in their No. 61 Ford Mustang.
Prior to Friday's win at Daytona, and over the past two seasons (since Miller Motorsports Park in 2009), Johnson and Roush Jr. have earned 6 wins, 14 podiums, and 17 top five finishes.
Johnson led the final 18 laps to win Friday's Grand Sport division race.
His victory with teammate Roush Jr., in the No. 61 Roush Performance Products/Gary Yeomans Ford Mustang powered by the Roush Yates-tuned Boss 302R, gave Roush's father, team owner Jack Roush, a first Grand Am victory at the Daytona International Speedway.
The margin of victory over second-place Charles Espenlaub in the No. 48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 was 1.061 seconds. Espenlaub's teammate Bryan Sellers was third in the No. 46 BMW.
Polesitter Blackstock and co-driver Jade Buford finished a respectable 10th in the No. 51 Roush-Yates-powered Mustang. Twenty-five of the race's 58 laps were run under a total of six caution flags.
"I think pretty much the first hour and a half was a close moment," Roush Jr. said of the racing. "There're opportunities to have incidents at any moment in time, especially at the beginning of the race, it was really sketchy." The race began on a wet surface, which dried as proceedings progressed. And in the end, things played in the Roush team's favor.
"It's great to finish this race first, especially after not being able to finish in the last two years," Johnson said. "To come back and have a strong finish and start off the season on a good note rather than a hole with zero points is huge."
(Portions of this article were courtesy of Grand Am media)
Special Note of Congratulations to all our friends who raced at Daytona this weekend. Scott Pruett, A.J. Allmendinger, Michael McDowell, Andy Lally, Anthony Lazzaro, John Edwards, Darren Law, Patrick Dempsey, Memo Gidley, Joe Foster, Jonathan Bomarito, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Joey Hand, Randy Pobst, James Sofronas, David Donohue, Dario Franchitti, Owen Trinkler, Terry Borcheller, Eric Curren, Boris Said, Charles Espenlaub, Bill Auberlen, Jeff Westphal, James Clay, Patrick Long, Mark and Mathew Pombo. See you all at the races this year. Cheers, Dicken