Jack Roush, chairman Roush Enterprises, Inc. and CEO/co-owner Roush Fenway Racing, has been selected as the 2010 recipient of the Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award, it has been announced.
The award, which honors the true pioneers and ultimate icons of the hot rod industry, will be presented to Roush at the Grand Opening Breakfast of this year’s Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show.
Born in Covington, Kentucky, in 1942, Roush was raised in Manchester, Ohio, a town of 2,500 people. He attended Berea College and received a mathematics degree with a minor in physics in 1964.
He was recruited by Ford Motor Co. that year and moved to Detroit to work on the processing of car assembling and tooling. He then went on to obtain a Master’s degree in scientific mathematics from Eastern Michigan University in 1970, which he felt was needed in order to move into the engine research and development area.
While working for Ford, Roush was drawn to the company’s extensive motorsports activities. Always the organizer, he soon surrounded himself with others who shared his enthusiasm for going fast in a drag race car. Roush joined a group called The Fastbacks in 1966. Working for Ford provided steady income, but security and professional accomplishments were no substitute for going faster than the last time, and faster than anybody else at the racetrack.
Roush left Ford in May of 1969 and began buying his own equipment to improve the racing performance of The Fastbacks. It was not long before he was doing development work for other teams.
Roush worked at Chrysler as an engineer for one year before leaving in 1970 to start his own engineering business.
The Fastbacks disbanded that year, so Roush began his next venture into racing by forming a partnership with Wayne Gapp.
For the next five years, the duo attracted national attention by winning events and one championship each in NHRA, IHRA and AHRA with their Pro Stock racer.
Roush also spent some time teaching in between his racing ventures. He taught mathematics, physics and a variety of automotive subjects at Monroe Community College in Monroe, Michigan, in 1971 and 1972.
Roush was involved exclusively in drag racing until 1978 and advanced in power classes to the NHRA Pro Stock division. He also managed to find time to provide engines for race teams in other sports, such as the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb and various powerboat and oval track series.
The Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show will be held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis March 12-13.
The Grand Opening Breakfast honoring Roush will be held in the convention center’s Sagamore Ballroom on March 12 at 8:30 a.m.
For more information on the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show, visit www.hotrodshow.com.