Jack Roush signs autographs at Michigan International Speedway.
Roger Penske once owned Michigan International Speedway, but in reality the track ought to be nicknamed "The House That Jack Built."
As in Jack Roush, the full-time NASCAR team owner and part-time pilot of a World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane.
Roush has won more NASCAR Sprint Cup races at MIS than any team owner, visiting Victory Lane a whopping 12 times. Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle won the most recent MIS race last year, and Biffle’s teammate Carl Edwards is a past winner here, as are former Roush drivers Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Mark Martin.
Why is the team so good here?
One reason is that Roush’s multi-national corporation, Roush Industries, is based in nearby Livonia, Mich. Now with more than 2,500 employees, Roush Industries does everything from defense and military engineering projects to designing alternative fuel vehicles, building aircraft and making hot-rodded Ford Mustangs and F-150s.
Not only is MIS is home turf for the Roush peeps, it’s also the home track for Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Co.
Winning here is a big deal for the Ford brass.
"To be able to be here in your hometown in front of your friends and neighbors and colleagues, it all adds to the desire to succeed at the highest level," said Ford Racing director Jamie Allison. "It is less about bragging rights and more about wanting to showcase the best of what we are made of in front of all the people who follow us, support us and cheer for us."
So far, this has been a down season for the Ford teams, but if they’re going to pick it up, Michigan might be a great place to start.
And there’s a little bit of extra incentive this weekend: If Roush Fenway Racing or one of the other Ford teams wins either Saturday’s Alliance Truck Parts 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race or Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, it will be the 1,000th race victory in NASCAR’s top three divisions for Ford Motor Co.