Billy Johnson and co-driver Jack Roush Jr. enter the final event of the 2011 Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge schedule with a shot at the championship triple crown, with the driver, team and manufacturer championships within reach. This Week In Ford Racing caught up with Johnson to talk about the final race, held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and what it would mean to bring home the hardware.
YOU ENTER THE FINAL EVENT OF THE SEASON WITH A SHOT TO TAKE HOME ALL THREE CHAMPIONSHIPS, THE DRIVER, TEAM AND MANUFACTURER TITLES. WHAT IS THE TEAM'S MINDSET ENTERING THE RACE AT MID-OHIO?
Johnson: “Our mindset is about the same as it always is. We're going out to do what we can to win the race. We definitely have the team, the pit strategy, the pit crew, the car and the drivers to win races. We have a good formula and great processes for the weekend that has shown success and we're going to continue with that. We have to win the race, and the No. 96 Turner BMW needs to finish 12th or worst I believe. Their finishing position is out of our control, so all we can do is the best that we can to win the race. That's our focus every time we go out to the track, and we'll see if we can accomplish that and if the cards fall our way, it will be awesome.”
YOU'VE BEEN BLESSED WITH GREAT CONSISTANCY ALL SEASON LONG, RUNNING AT THE FRONT FOR MUCH OF 2011. WHAT KIND OF CONFIDENCE DOES THAT GIVE THE TEAM?
Johnson: “The Boss 302R has been an awesome car for us. We haven't had any issues or failures this year. It has great power, suspension and handling, and its ability to keep that handling throughout the race has been a huge strongpoint for us. It's helped us get wins. The BOSS has been an excellent car, and having that kind of reliability is the key to winning races and the key to winning championships. We've definitely shown the ability of the car, and the great product that Ford has given us to work with. We have seven podiums and three wins already this year, and that performance itself speaks very highly for the Roush Performance team, for Ford Motor Company, and for the Boss 302R.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO BRING HOME THE THREE CHAMPIONSHIPS AT STAKE THIS WEEKEND?
Johnson: “We have an outside shot to bring home all three championships, and all of those are in the same category of being a huge honor. It would be huge to do that for Ford, for the Roush team, and for Jack (Roush Jr.) and I personally it would mean a ton. We're going to do our best at Mid-Ohio and see what we can do. There's a lot on the line, there's a lot of championship history with Ford and Roush, and we're going to do our best to continue it.”
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL FOR THE NO. 61 ROUSH PERFORMANCE MUSTANG BOSS 302R THIS WEEKEND AND ACHIEVE THE GOAL THAT EVERY TEAM HAS AT THE START OF THE SEASON, TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP?
Johnson: “To gear up for Mid-Ohio, you need a car with good brakes, handles well and has good power down the back straightaway. You need the overall package. In the Boss 302R, we have those components. At Mid-Ohio last year we led 49 of 84 laps, but we were punted from behind by a BMW and that ruined our chances at a win with around two laps to go and finished fourth. We have the speed and the setup for this track, and going into Mid-Ohio this weekend, I'm feeling confident that we'll have our ducks in order to have a similar type of success, but we'll see how the race turns out.”