In 1988 Jack Roush decided to move his racing operations south and launch into the growing but unfamiliar world of NASCAR. Already an accomplished drag and road racer, NASCAR was exciting but uncharted territory for the former Ford engineer and college physics teacher. The move proved a success and over 30 years later Roush has built his team into one of the most successful in the history of professional sports.
In 2022, Roush and RFK Racing will compete in its 35th season of NASCAR competition. During that span, Roush’s teams captured multiple championships, across all three of NASCAR’s major series, while taking home an astounding 325 wins.
In 2019, Roush was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a fitting tribute to his legendary career in motorsports.
Roush earned his eighth NASCAR championship in 2015 behind the strong run of young gun Chris Buescher and the No. 60 team. Ryan Reed became the 19th driver to win for RFK Racing in NASCAR competition with his dramatic victory in the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona in February.
Over the past 32 years, the direct result of Roush’s hard work, drive and determination has parlayed into more than 1,300 top-fives and over 2,300 top-10s, while leading over 66,000 laps and turning well over a million miles in NASCAR action. RFK Racing has placed multiple teams in the NASCAR Playoffs in 11 of the last 13 seasons, including winning the inaugural ‘Chase’ in 2004.
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 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 Elliott, Ricky Rudd and Kyle Petty, as well as actor Paul Newman and Olympic star Bruce Jenner.
In 1988, Roush launched his first NASCAR Cup Series team with driver Mark Martin. In October 1989, Roush and Martin claimed their first NASCAR Cup Series victory at North Carolina Motor Speedway. From there the two would go on to form one of the most successful partnerships in NASCAR history. Martin, who won 35 NASCAR Cup Series races with Roush, will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January 2017.
Roush joined forces with Robert & Doug Yates to form Roush Yates Engines in 2004. The engine shop based out of Mooresville, N.C., in partnership with Ford Performance is exclusive engine builder for Ford’s NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series teams.
To date, Roush has won eight championships across NASCAR’s three premier series’ (2000 – Truck Series with Greg Biffle; 2002 – XFINITY Series with Greg Biffle; 2007 – XFINITY Series with Carl Edwards; 2011 XFINITY Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 60 owner), 2012 XFINITY Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 2015 XFINITY Series with Chris Buescher; 2003 – NASCAR Cup Series with Matt Kenseth; and 2004 –NASCAR Cup Series with Kurt Busch).
In 2009, Roush claimed his first Daytona 500 trophy in February and his 2,500th NASCAR Cup Series start in June of that same year. In 2010 RFK Racing turned its one millionth mile in the NASCAR Cup Series. In 2012, Roush claimed his historic 300th NASCAR victory with his second win in the famed Daytona 500. All-in-all, 19 different drivers have driven RFK Racing equipment to NASCAR victory lane.
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. In 2021, Roush Fenway Racing announced that Brad Keselowski would become part-owner of the team in addition to driving the famed No. 6 Ford, thus introducing Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing (RFK Racing).
Roush also heads up Roush Industries, Inc. which employs more than 5,000 people and operates facilities in five states, and 19 countries. 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 over 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, RFK Racing is one of NASCAR’s premiere racing teams. With championships in NASCAR’s top three divisions, Roush exemplifies tradition and success and is poised to continue his winning tradition well into the future.