Roush Turns A Circle And Returns To His Drag Racing Roots

LIVONIA, Mich. (March 1, 2006) – Jack Roush obviously is well known among NASCAR fans, and his teams have combined to win four championships, including two at the elite Nextel Cup level.  Now fans of drag racing will see this same level of excellence as Roush, through his ROUSH Performance division, will field a multi-car program in the National Mustang Racer’s Association (NMRA) Denso Ford Drag Racing Series during 2006.

What many people don’t realize is that Roush started his career in motorsports in 1966 with “The Fastbacks,” a drag program.  He remained with them until they disbanded in 1970, at which time he formed a partnership with Wayne Gapp, one that eventually led to Pro Stock championships in NHRA, IHRA and AHRA.  Roush remained in drag racing until 1978 when he migrated to the areas of racing he is best known for, his tremendous success in both Trans-Am and NASCAR.  Though not fielding a team himself, Roush did build drag engines for other teams through 1980 before leaving the sport until now.But during all these years Roush never lost his fondness for drag racing, and today it has become a conduit for him to enjoy some time together with his family.  During the summers, the family often goes to Milan (Mich.) Dragway, on Wednesday evenings for amusement and informal test and tune sessions.

“I have never lost my love for the sport of drag racing,” Roush explained.  “It is where I first began my career in motorsports, and now drag racing has become a way for me to spend some ‘fun time’ with my son (Jack Roush, Jr.), daughter (Susan McClenaghan) and her husband (Dale McClenaghan).  I have enjoyed drag racing nearly my entire life, and I am thrilled that it is now something my family can share together.”

In typical Roush fashion, the NMRA program will feature up to five cars, but the goals are different than those of his stock car program.  While the teams will still be ultra-competitive, these vehicles are being used for research and development for the new Competition Line of Ford parts from ROUSH Performance.

“Drag racing is one of the most extreme tests for auto parts due to the speeds, the stresses at launch, and torque on the vehicles,” said Joe Thompson, general manager of ROUSH Performance.  “We always strive to make the best-engineered, best-performing parts on the market and in doing so need to prove that they will work as intended.  What drag racing offers is a ‘real world’ test lab that we could never duplicate on a computer screen or dyno.

“Furthering the development of our product line, by being at the track allows us direct one-on-one communication with the other teams and end-users for our Competition Line parts program.  We can see first-hand the problems they are having, ask for their feedback, and together develop parts that we know will meet their needs, not just the ones we think they will want,” added Thompson.

The ROUSH Performance team will begin the season at the 5th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Ford Nationals at Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park.  This event, which runs from March 9-12, will see the entire ROUSH Performance fleet participate, which includes the following cars and drivers:

Vehicle Driver Hometown NMRA Class
2005 Mustang Doug Thompson Detroit, Mich. Modular Muscle
2001 Mustang Jack Roush, Jr. Livonia, Mich. Modular Muscle
  & Kyle Carrothers Hartland, Mich.  
2005 Mustang Don Bowles Madisonville, Ky. Modular Muscle
2003 Mustang Susan McClenaghan Livonia, Mich. Open Comp
1967 Cougar Dale McClenaghan Livonia, Mich. Open Comp
The red 2005 Mustang driven by Thompson is the primary vehicle for parts testing, while the black 2001 Mustang will be the showcase for the ROUSH Performance crate engines.  This car will be piloted by Jack Roush, Jr., at some events, and Kyle Carrothers in others.

Based in Livonia, Mich., “The Art of Performance Engineering” takes place at ROUSH Performance Products.  In addition to the Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 Ford Mustang and F-150 styling, handling and performance upgrades, a complete line of performance parts and engines are offered.  For more information, visit www.ROUSHPerformance.com or telephone toll-free (800) 59-ROUSH.

About the author

ROUSH Performance
ROUSH Performance
ROUSH Performance, a division of Roush Enterprises, designs, engineers and manufactures completely assembled pre-titled vehicles, aftermarket performance parts, and superchargers for the global performance enthusiast market. Based in Plymouth Township, Michigan, ROUSH Performance was founded in 1995 by motorsports legend Jack Roush.
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