Humble Beginnings 25 Years Ago led to Legacy for Roush Fenway
Jack Roush, RFR kicked off run 25 years ago today in Daytona 500
CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 14, 2012) – Competing with a backup car not even built for a superspeedway, Jack Roush and his newly formed Roush Racing team covered only 19 laps before overheating and finishing 41st in its debut Daytona 500 on Feb. 14, 1988. Humble beginnings for a team that 25 years needs only a single victory to hit 300 wins and has accumulated championships in all three of NASCAR’s highest levels of competition.
On that day Ronald Ragan was President of the United States, a gallon of gas cost 96 cents, the average price of a car was just over $14,000, a loaf of bread would run you 61 cents and Jack Roush was in the early stages of building one of the most successful teams in NASCAR history.
“We wrecked our car in the twin qualifying race and had to run a car that was built for a smaller track,” said Roush of his foray into NASCAR. “We went with what we had and of course did not yield the results we would have liked for your intro to NASCAR that day.”
“We made the race on time,” said driver Mark Martin,who piloted the No. 6 Stroh’s Ford Thunderbird in Roush Fenway’s inaugural season and held the ride for the next 19 seasons. “Then we got wrecked in the Twin-125’s and we didn’t have a backup speedway car, so we used the Atlanta car for the race. We didn’t last 20 laps.”
The results would quickly improve however, with Roush and Martin winning a pole that season and earning 10 top-10 finishes. The next season Roush Fenway won six poles, earned 19 top-10 finishes and earned its first win in 1989, breaking through to the win column in the fall at Rockingham. Roush Fenway would go on to earn its first NASCAR championship in 2000 and its first Cup championship in 2003.
This year Roush Fenway will celebrate its “25 Winning Years” all season; commemorating the performance, people, partners and innovation that helped Roush build RFR into one of the most successful teams in professional sports.