Roush Racing became Roush Fenway Racing in February 2007, when the Fenway Sports Group obtained a 50% partnership in the team.
One of the NASCAR’s most successful racing teams is undoubtedly Roush Racing. Starting as a small branch of an already successful automotive engineering and road-racing equipment business, it was founded by owner Jack Roush in 1988. His operation is in Livonia, in Michigan, but the cornerstone of Roush Racing is located in Concord, situated in North Carolina, and home to their NASCAR operations.
Since the start of Roush Racing they have only competed in cars that carry the Ford badge. In the Nextel Cup, Roush competes with the Ford Fusion, and the Ford Fusion can also be seen in the Busch Series. For the Craftsman Truck Series, Roush competes with a Ford F-150. Roush Racing is also the proud winner of the Nextel Cup Championship consecutively for two years. Matt Kenseth brought the win home in 2003 and Kurt Busch was responsible for the win in 2004.
It is not surprising that Roush has the biggest Nextel Cup Series operation that includes a part time team and five teams that are full time. When Roush Racing was founded, they had established the company around the ownership of five cars. This does not only benefit the Roush Racing team, but assists other teams with the sharing of information and of resources, including the improvements that are made to performance. A partnership between Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing led to the 2004 season car being provided with Roush-Yates Engines. This team effort is now known to produce some of the most impressive engines that NASCAR has seen.
Roush Racing’s very first car that raced in NASCAR was their No.6 Stroh’s Light Ford. The year was 1988 and the race was the Daytona 500. After suffering engine failure after 19 laps, driver Mark Martin found himself finishing in 41st place. This unfortunate event did not discourage Martin in any way, and later in the season he had won a pole position and found himself achieving ten finishes in the top 10. In 1989, with one year of experience, Martin and Roush showed the NASCAR world exactly what they were up against by taking six pole positions, increasing their top 10 position finishes to 18 and securing a win at the North Carolina Speedway. In addition to these successes, the championship points put them in third place.
And as the old saying goes: ‘The rest is history’. Roush Fenway Racing is a name that is known worldwide and has grown into one of the biggest success stories of all time. It is a name that has delivered only the best, and has left its mark on NASCAR for years to come.
Built in 1964, the Phoenix International Raceway was originally designed to be one of the best American open wheel racing tracks available. The raceway was carved out of the Estrella Mountains giving the racetrack an incredibly picturesque backdrop. This meant that the new track, which is located at Avondale in Arizona, not only replaced the old one at the Arizona State Fairgrounds but quickly became a favorite amongst racing greats at the time. What’s more, the development of the track further spurred on the developing tourism industry, which meant that it contributed to the economy of the local community in quite a significant way. However, things only really started to take off at the track in 1988 when the Phoenix International Raceway was chosen to host some NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. Suddenly racing legends could be found in every corner of the town and the whole of America discovered just what a great track the Phoenix International Raceway was.
The Phoenix International Raceway is one mile (1.6 km) in length and takes the form of a D-shaped tri-oval. It has a seating capacity of 76 800 and is currently owned by the International Speedway Corporation. Because the track was built right at the foot of a rocky mountain range, it had to be designed around its geographic location. Thus there is a curve in the middle of the backstretch which is situated between turns two and three. This curve is a rather unique feature and is commonly known as ‘the dogleg’. The ‘dogleg’ design allowed the designers to include an external road course and a drag strip into the overall design of the track. Turns 1 & 2 have an 11-degree bank while Turns 3 & 4 have a 9-degree bank. The front straight has a 3-degree bank while the back straight has a 9-degree bank.
Today things at the Phoenix International Raceway are somewhat different from what they originally were. The external road course gave way for an infield road circuit. The crossovers that were originally built to access this infield circuit were sealed off in 2005 after construction of a tunnel under turn four. The drag strip is also seldom used, but the raceway continues to be a popular venue for racing in general. Unfortunately, the raceway was unable to host the Indy Racing League in 2005 which brought to an end a long history of hosting this premier event. Still the raceway continues to enjoy its unmatched tradition of hosting 58 IndyCar events including the Fall NASCAR weekend, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the Busch Series, Craftsman Trucks Series and Featherlite Southwest Series.
Humanity in general has, throughout its long history, had a love for competition. The desire to win is hard-wired in our genes and the attraction to speed… well, that just reflects our love of excitement and good old-fashioned fun! The invention of the automobile provided the perfect opportunity – and vehicle, literally – for people to challenge one another on early racetracks and road courses as they had previously done before with horses. Auto racing was also seen by perceptive car manufacturers as a great way to advertise – provided their cars were winners, of course. The saying “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” exemplifies the business of auto racing and the ever-expanding industry of racing, promotion and parts marketing that has grown up around it.
The auto racing industry has progressed quite a ways from its earliest days. Formula One racing, for example, has become a multi-million dollar sport with high-tech cars, generously paid drivers and big business sponsorships. NASCAR racing proves that “the business of America is business”, both on and off the track. The names of NASCAR events and entire series like the Nextel Cup indicate the need for big-time sponsorship and the copious flow of funding it provides the organizers, teams and drivers. Try to think of a racing car that doesn’t have logos and advertisements on it – bet you can’t, unless it’s a vintage race car.
Auto racing has truly become a big business. Besides sponsorships, revenue comes in from ticket sales and merchandising. This industry seems likely to continue its phenomenal rate of growth as people will never lose their love of thrills, spills and racing excitement!
Check in with Autoracing.com regularly to keep up to date on the latest auto racing industry developments.
Evernham Motorsports became Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2007. It then merged with Petty Enterprises to form Richard Petty Motorsports.
The Evernham Motorsports team was founded in 1999 by Ray Evernham. Evernham’s mission was to help bring Dodge back into the limelight of NASCAR racing – a goal which he has certainly achieved through excellent management, good cars and skilled driving. Today Evernham Motorsports is recognized as being one of NASCAR’s premier racing teams and it currently fields full-time Dodge motor vehicles in the NEXTEL Cup, the Craftsman Truck Series and the Busch Series. It also fields a part-time Dodge Charger in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.
Evernham, himself a driver, started to enjoy great racing success shortly after partnering with Jeff Gordon. Under Evernham’s leadership, the two were able to win 47 Winston Cup races and three Winston Cup championships. Not long afterwards, Dodge approached Evernham with a massive challenge – help Dodge return to NASCAR Winston Cup racing in just 500 days. Prior to this, Dodge had not been involved in the Winston Cup for roughly twenty years. It was a challenge that Evernham was ready to accept. Working with the same determination and passion that had characterized much of his racing career, Evernham met the challenge with success. What’s more, he has continued to oversee the operation of his various race teams up to the present.
Evernham Motorsports accredits much of its success to the high level of innovation and technology which it supports. The team currently produces it’s own chassis and its engines are both powerful and reliable – so much so, in fact, that other Dodge teams often make use of Evernham Engines in their own vehicles. Evernham Motorsports’ most recent successes include the 2006 NEXTEL Cup Season wherein the team won six races in their number 9 car with Kasey Kahne behind the wheel. They also enjoyed 13 top-five and 29 top-ten finishes as well as two wins in the Busch Series that same year. Current drivers include Kasey Kahne, Elliot Sadler, Scott Riggs and female driver Erin Crocker. Crocker’s signing with the team is part of their driver development programme which continues to help talented and aspiring drivers achieve greater measures of success. Crocker, who has been driving since she was seven, is the first woman to join the Evernham team. Fans can be sure that as long as Ray Evernham is behind the wheel at Everham Motorsports, they will see many more great Dodge successes in years to come.
Casey Mears was born March 12, 1978 in Bakersfield, California, and was surrounded by racing as he grew up. His father, Roger Mears, was one of the top performers on the off-road racing arena and his uncle, Rick Mears, won the Indianapolis 500 four times during his racing career. Mears began his own racing career at the tender age of four with BMX bicycles, and then he moved to ATVs at his hometown speedway. In 1991 he started racing go-karts and moved to SuperLites Off-Road Series a year later where he made a few top-three finishes.
“Tradition and heritage” have been used to describe Casey Mears, the new driver of No. 42 Dodge Charger in 2006. His family history and his surname transcend any one racing series. His fourth season was completed in 2006, on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit. Over the years with Felix Sabates, at Chip Ganassi Racing, Mears has continued improving, which has given him the needed experience to be able to withstand the pressure that goes with racing the celebrated “Texaco Star” car. Many experienced and talented drivers have driven the “Texaco Star” on the NASCAR circuit like, Kenny Irwin, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd and Davey Allison.
Mears commented that not only was it a privilege to have Texaco/Havoline sponsor him but having grown up knowing them and the relationship Texaco/Havoline had with Mario and Michael Andretti. The 2004 season revealed Mears to be a strong competitor, earning him his first Top-5 finish at the Watkins Glen International. He also followed his Uncle’s footsteps by winning the pole position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in track-record time. During 2005 Mears NEXTEL Cup season was up and down. He had two races in Homestead and Texas, which were potential winners but with late-race cautions he was prevented from doing so. Altogether it wasn’t a complete write-off as he was able to finish the season with 3 Top-5 finishes and 9 Top-10s.
By the end of 2009, Casey Mears had notched up 252 consecutive race starts, one win, 12 Top Five positions, and 46 Top Tens. The year started off with the announcement the Mears would be driving the #90 Key Motorsports Chevrolet in 2010, but he broke his consecutive race starts record by failing to qualify for the 2010 Daytona 500 and later failing to qualify for Las Vegas, Fontana and Atlanta. Time will tell whether Casey Mears will regain his form and add more successes to his NASCAR racing history.