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Ray Evernham and Rob Kauffman acquire the IROC brand

NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief Ray Evernham and former NASCAR Cup Series team co-owner Rob Kauffman have acquired the rights to the International Race of Champions (IROC) brand.

Tony Stewart and Sam Hornish Jr.

IROC, which operated from 1973 to 2006, featured some of the greatest racers across the globe, bringing them together to compete in equal equipment on various styles of race tracks.

Evernham won three NASCAR Cup titles with legendary driver Jeff Gordon, as well as 47 races. He also helped form the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) alongside fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart and NASCAR executive George Pyne. He later left his position with the series, but remains as an investor.

An official release on Monday read as follows: "IROC Holdings LLC (IROC Holdings), a joint venture company created by NASCAR Hall of Fame member Ray Evernham and former NASCAR Cup Team Owner and venture capitalist Rob Kauffman, announced the formation of the joint venture and the acquisition of the rights to the IROC brand. Known as IROC (International Race of Champions), a series of races was held annually from 1973 to 2006. IROC brought together the greatest drivers from all forms of motorsport to compete against each other in iconic cars on historic tracks. Although the annual events ended in 2006, the legacy and recognition of the IROC brand has continued throughout the years. IROC Holdings plans to bring the historic brand back to life.

"IROC Holdings has been formed to house the business operations with the intent to have an IROC racing event in 2024 with historic IROC race cars while exploring future opportunities. The company will initially be based in Mooresville, N.C."

Eddie Cheever,Jr. leads Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Eddie Cheever,Jr. leads Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett

The IROC series was originally created by Les Richter, Roger Penske and Mike Phelps. It was promoted as a sort of all-star motorsports event. 
Drivers competed in identically prepared stock cars (most recently the Pontiac Trans Am). Each car was set-up by the same team of mechanics in an effort to make the races a test of driver ability. The drivers invited - typically 12 - came from a broad range of racing disciplines including NASCAR, IndyCar, F1, sports car racing and sprint cars. 
Mark Donohue was the first driver to win an IROC title in 1974. His victory in the fourth and final race of that season was the last of his career. As fate would have it, he died in a wreck during practice for the 1975 Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix at the Osterreichring.
IROC ran into financial difficulties in 2007 and went on hiatus. In March 2008, the series announced it had auctioned off its equipment and cars and the series was discontinued. 
Ryan Newman battles between Helio Castroneves and JJ Yeley

Photo by: Robert LeSieur / Motorsport Images

Ryan Newman battles between Helio Castroneves and JJ Yeley

Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, was the final IROC champion in 2006. Mark Martin won the most titles with five, his most recent coming in 2005. Martin also holds the record for all-time individual IROC race wins (13).
A full list of IROC champions, which includes racing icons such as Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt, can be found below.
1974  - Mark Donohue
1975 - Bobby Unser
1976 - A.J. Foyt
1977 - A.J. Foyt
1978 - Al Unser
1979 - Mario Andretti
1980 - Bobby Allison
*1984 - Cale Yarborough
1985 - Harry Gant
1986 - Al Unser Jr.
1987 - Geoffrey Bodine
1988 - Al Unser Jr.
1989 - Terry Labonte
1990 - Dale Earnhardt
1991 - Rusty Wallace
1992 - Ricky Rudd
1993 - Davey Allison
1994 - Mark Martin
1995 - Dale Earnhardt
1996 - Mark Martin
1997 - Mark Martin
1998 - Mark Martin
1999 - Dale Earnhardt
2000 - Dale Earnhardt
2001 - Bobby Labonte
2002 - Kevin Harvick
2003 - Kurt Busch
2004 - Matt Kenseth
2005 - Mark Martin
2006 - Tony Stewart
*IROC was not held 1981-1983*

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