In 1988 Jack Roush decided to move his racing operations south and foray into the growing but unfamiliar world of NASCAR. Already an accomplished drag and road racer, NASCAR was exciting but unchartered territory for the former Ford engineer and college physics teacher. The move proved a success and almost 26 years later Roush has built his team into one of the most successful in the history of professional sports.
This year Roush and Roush Fenway Racing moves into its 26th year of NASCAR competition in 2013. During that span, Roush’s teams have captured multiple championships, across all three of NASCAR’s major platforms, while taking home 305 checkered flags in the process. Today, Roush Fenway stands as the winningest team in NASCAR history and boasts the most wins in both the Nationwide and Truck Series.
The direct result of Roush’s hard work, drive and determination has parlayed into more than 1000 top fives and over 2000 top 10s, while leading over 57,000 laps and turning well over a million miles.
Born in Covington, Ky., in 1942, Jack Ernest Roush was always interested in finding out what made things tick. He received his mathematics degree with a minor in physics from Berea College in 1964 and moved to Detroit to go to work for Ford Motor Company that same year. He went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Scientific Mathematics from Eastern Michigan University in 1970.
While working for Ford, Roush was drawn to the company’s extensive motorsports activities, and in 1966 joined a group of fellow racing enthusiasts called “The Fastbacks.” After leaving Ford, he partnered with Wayne Gapp in 1970 in a racing venture that would see the duo attract national attention by winning several events and one championship each in NHRA, IHRA and AHRA with their Pro Stock racer.
In 1976, Roush formed Jack Roush Performance Engineering. His success on the track, combined with his reputation as a performance engineer helped his young business thrive, and although he stopped operating a race team in the late 1970’s, his company stayed well entrenched in the sport; building engines for other teams throughout the early 1980’s.
In 1984 Roush returned to racing in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) road racing series. He went on to claim 24 national championships and titles in the two series, including 12 manufacturer’s championships, winning 119 races, while working with acclaimed drivers such as Tommy Kendall, Scott Pruett and Willy T. Ribbs. Roush also captured 10 consecutive sedan class championships at the prestigious 24 Hours of Daytona, teaming with drivers such as Kendall, Pruett, Mark Martin, Bill Elliot, Ricky Rudd and Kyle Petty, as well as actor Paul Newman and Olympic star Bruce Jenner.
In 1988, Roush launched his first NASCAR Cup team with driver Mark Martin. In October 1989, Roush and Martin claimed their first NASCAR Cup victory at North Carolina Motor Speedway (the first of 121 to date) and the two would go on to form one of the most successful partnerships in NASCAR history.
Today, Roush has won seven championships across NASCAR’s three premier series (2000 – Truck Series with Greg Biffle; 2002 – Nationwide Series with Greg Biffle; 2007 – Nationwide Series with Carl Edwards; 2011 Nationwide Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 60 owner); 2003 - Sprint Cup Series with Matt Kenseth; 2012 Nationwide Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and 2004 – Sprint Cup Series with Kurt Busch) and captured his 125th Sprint Cup victory last season. In 2009, Roush claimed his first Daytona 500 trophy in February and his 2,500th Sprint Cup start in June of that same year. In 2010 Roush Fenway Racing turned its one millionth mile in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series. All in all, 15 different drivers have driven Roush Fenway equipment to NASCAR victory lane.
Roush joined forces with Doug Yates to form Roush Yates Engines in 2005. The engine shop, based out of Mooresville, N.C., supplies horsepower for Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and several other teams in Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Truck and the ARCA Series.
In 2007, Roush Racing and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) announced the formation of Roush Fenway Racing, an unprecedented relationship that brought together two championship organizations with a distinguished track record of success in their respective businesses and sports.
Roush also heads up ROUSH Industries, Inc., which employs more than 1,800 people and operates facilities in five states, as well as in Mexico and Great Britain. Although primarily known for providing engineering, management and prototype services to the transportation industry, Roush has developed a significant role in providing engineering and manufacturing for the electronics, sports equipment, aviation and motorsports industries.
For almost 40 years Roush has been committed to winning on and off the track. Having won 32 championships and more than 400 races in drag racing, sports car and stock car racing, Roush is one of professional sports' premiere owners. With championships in NASCAR’s top three divisions, Roush Fenway Racing exemplifies tradition and success and is poised to continue their winning tradition well into the future.