The Championship Bookends
From 1985 through 1997, Roush Racing dominated the world of North American GT road racing. In both the SCCA Trans-Am series and the IMSA GTO series, Roush fielded teams that were the class of the field at every event. The cars were technologically and mechanically years ahead of the competition, and Roush employed the very best drivers and crew to make sure the team owned Victory Lane at venues from Mexico City to Ontario, Canada, from Connecticut to Southern California, and from Minneapolis to Miami. In 1985, John Jones drove Roush Racing Chassis #04 to the IMSA GTO Championship, capturing the first of many titles for Roush Racing. In 1997, Tommy Kendall dominated the SCCA Trans-Am series in Roush Racing Chassis #028, capturing the final Roush Racing championship. This is the story of these two historic cars, from their championship seasons through the present, where both have been fully restored to their historic beginnings.
Roush Racing Chassis #04
Built in 1984 by Roush-Protofab, this historic car won its first race, the September 1984 IMSA Daytona 3 hour National Championship, driven by Wally Dallenbach, Jr. and Willy T. Ribbs. It then won again in GTO in its next race, the 1985 24 Hours of Daytona, driven by John Jones, Wally Dallenbach, Jr., and Doc Bundy, finishing eighth overall. John Jones drove the car to seven more GTO victories in 1985, including the Twelve Hours of Sebring, where he and Dallenbach finished sixth overall. Other victories included Road Atlanta, Riverside, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio, Road America, and the Daytona 3 hour National Championship for the second straight year, where Jones co-drove with Lyn St. James. The car won the 1985 IMSA GTO Championship for Jones, and the 1985 IMSA GTO Manufacturer's Championship for Ford.
The car was sold to multiple SCCA National Champion Jerry Hansen prior to the 1986 season, in whose hands it won several SCCA National events.
In 1987, the car was purchased by Bruce Nesbitt and returned to professional racing, this time in the SCCA Trans-Am series. In 1987, Nesbitt posted six top ten finishes, and a seventh place in the season point standings. In 1988, the car again placed in the top ten six times, while qualifying in the Fast Five on a number of occasions. From 1989 to 1994, the car was run only occasionally, until which time the body was converted to the later model Mustang body. From 1995 through 1998, Nesbitt raced the car in 21 more SCCA Trans-Am events, earning several more top ten finishes, and several series performance awards.
Recently, this veteran of over 100 professional races has been fully restored to its 1985 Championship configuration, and is currently available for sale. Inquiries may be made to email@example.com.
Roush Racing Chassis #028
oush Racing constructed Tom Kendall's 1997 championship
winning car. Roush chose to use a 310 cubic inch V8 pushrod motor. The engine
was a cast-iron block with aluminum cylinder heads. It was estimated that this
combination produced about 650 horsepower at 8,200 rpm. The 1997 rules required
the use of a spec rev limiter, which was set to 8,200 rpm. The minimum weight
for a car using a 310 cubic inch engine was 2,600 pounds but after the driver
and fuel were added that total would be closer to 2,800 pounds. As a point of
comparison the 1997 production version of the Mustang Cobra was equipped with a
4.6-liter DOHC engine, which produced 300 horsepower and weighed 3,084 pounds.
The power in the Roush car was transferred to the rear wheels through a 5-speed
Hewland transmission and 9 inch Ford differential. K
endall and the Roush Racing team
began their streak at the opening race of the season. In 1997 the series
started in February at the St. Petersburg street course where Kendall had to
come back from a spin to take the victory. Kendall's next win was at Phoenix,
which was followed by victories at Lime Rock, Detroit, Mid Ohio and Minnesota.
Throughout the season Kendall and the Roush Mustang set new records. His
seventh win of the 1997 series at Cleveland put his career earnings over $1
million and in doing so he became the first Trans Am driver to reach this
milestone. By the end of August he had taken wins at Trois Rivieres, Watkins
Glen, Road America and Mosport. Kendall's ninth straight victory, which was at
Watkins Glen, surpassed the previous record of eight consecutive Trans Am wins
set by the late Mark Donohue in 1968. In an ironic twist it was Jerry Titus who
ended Donohue's streak and as a result of his accomplishments during the year
Kendall won the Jerry Titus Award - voted on by the American Auto Racing
Writers and Broadcasters Association to recognize the driver of the year. The
victory at Road America allowed him to clinch the 1997 Drivers' Championship.
This was his third consecutive title and fourth of his career making him the
first driver in series history to achieve these milestones. In all Kendall won an incredible 11 races in
a row, against one of the most competitive fields in Trans-Am history. This historic machine is also currently available for sale. Inquiries may be made to firstname.lastname@example.org