DEARBORN - Jack Roush is not an easy person to describe because of everything he’s accomplished in his life, but maybe Mark Martin did the best job when delivering his NASCAR Hall of Fame induction speech in 2017.
That’s when he referred to him as, “a highly-driven, engineer-minded, drag and road racer from way up north who wore this full-brimmed hat and used more words than most of us know.”
Roush has been that way ever since he was hired by Ford Motor Co. in 1964 and took a job as an engineer. He caught the racing bug through a group of 10 co-workers called “The Fastbacks,” who pooled together $45 a month and went to various drag racing events throughout the country and hasn’t looked back since.
He started his NASCAR operation with a single-car team in 1988, hiring Mark Martin as his first driver, and then steadily expanded to where he had five teams under his Roush Fenway banner 10 years later. Roush proved the model could be successful in 2005 when all five qualified for what was then a 10-driver postseason field.
“One of the most important contributions he has made to NASCAR is he has hired almost exclusively drivers that were not established in the series. That goes for a large portion of crew as well,” said Mark Martin, who won 35 races with Roush from 1988-2006. “In other words, he gave so many the tools and opportunities to realize their dreams that otherwise might not have gotten the chance.”
Roush is the winningest owner in NASCAR history, having captured a total of 325 victories in the sport’s top three divisions combined. In addition, he’s won eight NASCAR championships, including at least one in each series, and been part of milestone victories that included Greg Biffle winning Ford’s 1000th NASCAR race in 2013.