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Roush Set To Hang Hat In Texas’ Hall Of Fame

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, April 2 2013

Jack Roush about to become the 'Cat in the Hall'. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Beginning with a sweep of the track’s inaugural NASCAR race weekend by Mark Martin and Jeff Burton in April 1997, Texas Motor Speedway has morphed into a “Roush House.”

Jack Roush’s run of success at “The Great American Speedway!” in Fort Worth features 18 victories as a car-owner across NASCAR’s top three national series, including a record nine in Sprint Cup competition.

Roush’s dominance at TMS will be formally recognized when he becomes the 15th member inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. Roush will be honored on Thursday, April 11, during the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala benefitting Speedway Children’s Charities at The Speedway Club’s Grand Ballroom.

Roush’s induction will culminate an evening celebrating the accomplishments of a group of talented drivers and contributors. Also scheduled to be honored will be five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson; 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch; IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal and legendary motorsports journalist Chris Economaki (posthumously).

Roush will join an accomplished list of individuals who have been inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame since its founding in 2003: Indy-car champions A.J. Foyt Jr. and Johnny Rutherford (2003); NASCAR’s Terry Labonte and NHRA’s Lee Shepherd (2004); NHRA’s Kenny Bernstein and sports car/Indy-car team-owner Jim Hall (2005); NHRA’s Eddie Hill (2006); NASCAR’s Martin and Indy-car’s Jim McElreath (2007); NASCAR’s Bobby Labonte and TMS founder O. Bruton Smith (2008); NASCAR team-owner Joe Gibbs (2009); NHRA’s John Force (2010) and dirt-track owner/promoter Lanny Edwards (2011).

Roush has established one of the most successful organizations in motorsports in Roush Fenway Racing. The

Jack Roush has had big success at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)

organization stands as the winningest team in NASCAR history and boasts the most victories in both the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck series. RFR has captured seven championships across NASCAR’s three major touring series, including Sprint Cup crowns in 2003 with Matt Kenseth and Busch in ‘04.

At TMS, Roush Fenway’s various Ford cars, drivers and crew chiefs have scored nine Sprint Cup wins and 18 in Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck competition. His Sprint Cup victory total is more than double the next closest team-owner _ Chevrolet rival Rick Hendrick with four. Roush’s most recent win came in last April’s Samsung Mobile (now NRA) 500 with Greg Biffle.

Johnson, of Hendrick Motorsports, will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year award. Johnson turned in his most dominating season at TMS in 2012 with a victory in the AAA Texas 500 and runnerup finish in the Samsung Mobile 500. During the AAA Texas 500 last November, Johnson became just the second driver to win from the pole en route to his second career victory at TMS.

Johnson’s win followed his performance during April’s Samsung Mobile 500, during which he led a race-high 156 laps en route to a runnerup finish behind Biffle of RFR. Johnson led a combined 324 of 669 laps during the two 2012 Cup races on TMS’ 1.5-mile quadoval.

Busch has been instrumental in helping Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter raise funds to benefit kids throughout North Texas. He will be recognized as recipient of the Maj. General Thomas Sadler Award. Busch has hosted some of Speedway Children’s Charities biggest fund-raising events, including the Kurt Busch Celebrity Bowling Tournament and Busch-Whacked Mud Run. Busch has helped Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter raise more than $40,000.

Rahal will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award. Then driving for Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing, Rahal appeared headed to his second career IndyCar Series victory and first on an oval in the Firestone 550k night race when he brushed the Turn 4 wall on Lap 226 of 228. That bobble, after he had led a season-high 27 laps, handed the lead and eventual victory to Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing.

Following a race he lost by 3.9202-seconds, Rahal handled himself as a true professional during his obligatory media appearance. The son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion Bobby Rahal, Graham’s sportsmanship also has been demonstrated off-track via his work with the Graham Rahal Foundation and his efforts to help the family of the late Dan Wheldon by overseeing an auction that raised more than $600,000 in 2011.

Pioneer motorsports journalist Economaki will be honored posthumously with the Bruton Smith Legend Award. Economaki made a lasting impact on the motorsports community through his work as both an editor and publisher of National Speed Sport News as well as a pioneer television commentator. Economaki’s passion for racing earned him the title “Dean of American Motorsports.”

Economaki, who began his career in racing journalism at age 13 selling copies of NSSN, enjoyed a 74-year career chronicling all forms of motorsports including NASCAR, IndyCar, NHRA drag racing and Formula One, as well as Sprint Car and grassroots events. He died on Sept. 28, 2012 at age 91.

A VIP reception will be held prior to the awards ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m. (CDT), followed by dinner at 7:15. Fans can join in honoring the recipients by purchasing sponsorship or individual tickets to the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala. Table sponsorships, beginning at $1,200, and individual tickets ($150) are available by calling the Speedway Children’s Charities office at (817) 215-8421. For more information, visit www.scctexas.org.

The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala serves as one of many fund-raisers held by the Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter throughout the race season. The organization’s mission is to care for children in educational, financial, social and medical need and help them lead productive lives.

Texas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities has aided more than two million children in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties and raised more than $8.5-million since the organization was established in 1997.

– John Sturbin can be reached at jsturbin@racintoday.com

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, April 2 2013
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