Johnson, Roush Overcome Post-Qualifying Infraction To Win the Homestead 200
Driving the No. 13 RumBum.com BMW M3, Matt Plumb hit the rear of Eric Curran and made it to the final turn before hitting barrels ending his race (photo courtesy: Rum Bum Racing)
The weekend did not start off well for Roush Performance and drivers Jack Roush Jr. and Billy Johnson. Original fast qualifier Jack Roush Jr., seeking his first pole position, had his time for the No. 61 ROUSH Performance Products Ford Mustang GT disallowed after officials found an unapproved part on the car. The technical snafu forced the team to start from the 34th position in the Grand Sport class of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
With six minutes remaining in the two –hour, 30-minute battle, victory appeared headed to the upstart Rum Bum Racing team and driver Matt Plumb. Heading through the infield section of the course, the Rum Bum Racing BMW M3 lost its hood precluding Plumb’s vision resulting in a crash. Plumb’s co-driver Gian Luis Bacardi improved on his previous best lap at the Homestead Miami Speedway by six-tenths of second, and that was enough to make his co-driver and mentor Matt Plumb proud. Miami native Bacardi took the green flag for Round 2 of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge from the 23rd position. As they did at Daytona, Rum Bum Racing started deep in the field with an eye to exploiting crew chief Joe Varde's tactical expertise to climb through the field. All was going according to plan until the hood gave way, handing the lead and victory to Johnson in the waning moments.
Johnson is no stranger to Gatorade Victory Lane at Homestead-Miami Speedway having visited last Spring. Driving the Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302R, Johnson added yet another victory to his resume. Terry Borcheller and Fall-Line Motorsports finished second in the Homestead 200. The Hialeah native will pull double duty as he will compete in the Grand Prix of Miami in the Action Express Daytona Prototype later Saturday. Joey Hand finished third.
"It was real exciting race for us," Roush Jr. said. "I can't be more proud of my team and all the work they've done. It was a real privilege to be part of history with the Roush Racing group. I also have to hand it to my co-driver, Billy Johnson. He did an awesome job today. I'm looking forward to many more races."
The win was also Roush Sr.'s 400th as a car owner. In nearly 40 years as an owner, Roush Sr. has also won in NASCAR's three National series, Trans-Am and IMSA. NASCAR will again crown a Champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway during Ford Championship Weekend Nov. 19-21.
In the Street Tuner class, Tom Long and Derek Whitis drove to victory with a remarkable pass on the last lap. Long took the victory on the last lap from Aschenbach, who was trying to give Compass360 Racing its second straight victory both in a race and at the track. Instead, it was Long, who battled tooth-and-nail with Compass360's No. 74 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si a year ago, coming up with a pass on Aschenbach and his second victory in three races with Whitis, who started fourth.
Long first took the lead on Lap 45, and battled for several laps with Sam Schultz and James Clay. After Long assumed the lead following the final caution period, he led for two laps, before Aschenbach got by for a lap. Long made the final of 13 ST lead changes on Lap 88, and held on by just 0.103 seconds.
"We fought the entire way, and it was a little nerve-wrecking in those final laps, waiting to see if the race would finish the same or different from last year," Whitis said. "Everything worked out though."
Homestead-Miami Speedway is the only venue ever to host all of North America’s premier motorsports Championships, and we’re doing it again in 2010 as THE Championship Track will be the site of both the IZOD IndyCar Championship (Oct. 1-2) and NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend (Nov. 19-21). Kids 12 & under are FREE to six of the seven races. For tickets and more info: (866) 409-RACE or visit THEChampionshipTrack.com.