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Jack Roush Jr.'s racing career, at 35, takes a leap forward with victory at Homestead

  Jack Roush Jr. (R), with co-driver Billy Johnson (Photo: GrandAm Road Racing)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Maybe it's a good omen – Jack Roush Jr. winning at Homestead-Miami Speedway Saturday, with his father, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush Sr. watching anxiously.
    Jack Jr.'s win, the second of his short career, came in the GrandAm world's Continental Tire sports car Challenge series, with co-driver Billy Johnson, in a Roush Mustang. The win was also a milestone for the Sr. Roush – his 400th in major league racing.
    And Roush's son had to start the 91-lapper (a timed 2-1/2-hour road racing event) from the rear of the field, after series officials disallowed his qualifying time because of a brake infraction.
   "Without pit stops, he went to 12th or 13th under green, and when he turned the car over to Billy around the midway point, he was in first place," Roush Sr. said.  "Billy was able to maintain that, and one of the reasons was a decision to only make one stop, instead of two. So they raced up front the last half of the race."
    The elder Roush, once a drag racer himself, before turning to road racing and eventually NASCAR, wasn't high on his son getting behind the wheel to drive, when Jack Jr., in 2007, at 33, decided to give it a try.
   "I was not sure that's what we needed to be doing," Roush Sr. said. "He was already more than 30, and past the time when a lot of drivers would get started. 
    "He was building his family and building his career at Roush Industries, and I wasn't sure that's what he ought to be doing.
    "But he seemed to be committed to it -- as my daughter is, and she works for the company as well, in addition to drag racing. 
     "So I forwarded him the consideration of providing some sponsorship."
     Jack Jr. took that sponsorship and got a ride with Rehagen Racing, out of Michigan. Last season he made a new deal, with Mike Canny, taking over Canny's cars. This season Jack Jr. has persuaded his father to crank up a road racing program of its own, with GrandAm versions of the Mustang.
    A NASCAR version of the Mustang is to debut in the Nationwide series later this season.


   Jack Roush Jr.'s winning Mustang at Homestead.... (Photo: GrandAm Road Racing)


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Jack Roush Jr.made his father very proud of him. I'm vary glad for the father and for the son. It is great when your achievements are so important to the people who love you.

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