I still remember this first time I saw a Jack Roush Edition Mustang. The year was 1999 and I was just below the driving age in Texas. My mom and I had left to run errands in her teal 1995 V6 Mustang. As I sat shotgun with my mother behind the wheel, a silver New Edge Mustang pulled up alongside us with a throaty V8 rumble. The decal on the rear quarter window was a replicated signature of the famous Jack Roush with an over pronounced “J” that remains engraved in my mind. Jokingly, I told my mom to accelerate from the light quickly, in an attempt to bait the owner into a flyby. It worked and was a moment of juvenile fun for my ears, but also one that has lasted for decades.
Jack Roush was more than just a cool name applied to Ford products in an attempt to up-sale customers into bold new graphics. For more than 40 years, Roush was committed to making his last name enter the winners circle. Legendary wins in NHRA, IHRA, and AHRA are all part of the Roush pedigree. Roush would go on to establish Jack Roush Performance Engineering and supply racers from racing segments including offshore power boats, drag racing, oval-track and hill-climb vehicles with the engine build they needed.
After Roush’s success in the aftermarket, he would be commissioned by Ford Motor Company in 1984 to develop cars and engines for its SCCA Trans-Am and IMSA Camel GT series programs. He continued to further his racing operations and formed Roush Fenway Racing in 2007. The new racing operation claimed two wins in the NASCAR Cup Championship, four NASCAR Xfinity Championships, and one NASCAR Truck Series title.
While Roush has done a tremendous amount for the aftermarket community, I think what sets a legend like Roush apart from the rest is what his product inadvertently did on that day in 1999 to a much younger version of myself. We salute you Jack for all that you have done for the industry. Enjoy your induction into the SEMA Hall of Fame on July 29th at the SEMA awards gala.