Jack Roush blasts Felix Sabates' 'derogatory comments about MIS
Jack Roush is one of Michigan's biggest cheerleaders.
This week, Roush goes for his record 12th victory as a Sprint Cup owner at Michigan International Speedway. Last week, he was flying over the 2-mile oval in Brooklyn in his 1943 P51B airplane checking out the improvements to the track and the new infield suites.
How could anyone, let alone a fellow NASCAR team owner, bash Roush's beloved Michigan or even MIS?
That's exactly what Chip Ganassi team owner Felix Sabates did in January when asked about seeing two Michigan races once again on the Sprint Cup Series schedule.
"I mean, there's nobody left in Detroit other than the police and the unemployed. I'd cut Michigan off the schedule altogether," Sabates said. "Michigan, I'm talking about the state, is never coming back to what it used to be, so why go there and throw good money after bad money?"
Those comments didn't sit too well with the 68-year-old Roush, owner of Roush Fenway Racing and business interests in nearby Livonia.
"As far as Felix Sabates and the comments he made, he made the derogatory comments about Detroit and about the MIS racetrack, I'd hope that he was a little too much in the spirits that day and that he said things he regretted," Roush said in a national teleconference Tuesday.
"He hasn't indicated to me he regretted saying those things, but I think certainly under any circumstances they're ill-advised."
Felix SabatesRoush added he hopes to continue visiting MIS, whether by car or by air, at least twice a year for years to come.
"MIS, I think, has been one of the best racetracks, certainly in the north-central part of the United States, and I think it deserves two races," Roush said. "We don't have a bigger problem selling tickets here than we do anyplace else in our troubled economy, and it's certainly a place I enjoy because it's where I call home."
Roush is back this week sporting four cars in the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at MIS. Three of those four cars are sitting in the top 12 in the Sprint Cup Series points chase.
Matt Kenseth, a two-time winner at MIS, is fourth in points. Teammate Carl Edwards, who has two Cup wins and a Nationwide Series win here, is ninth. Greg Biffle, who has two Cup wins and two truck series wins at MIS, is 10th.
The fourth Roush Fenway Racing driver entered at MIS this week, David Ragan, is 25th.
Roush has 11 victories at MIS, which ties him with the Wood Brothers on the all-time list for owners at the track.
"All of our wins at MIS have been special," Roush said. "It's in front of a home crowd, it's in front of my Roush Industries affiliates, associates. It's in front of Ford Motor Company and Chrysler and General Motors.
"Detroit is still the Motor City, in spite of rumors otherwise." Mlive.com