Aside from the competition element of the game, Buescher said he was impressed with the long list of names who had driven for his boss.
Brian Ickler, for example, who made five Xfinity Series starts for Roush (earning a top-10 finish at Daytona) in 2010 competed.
Barrett drove 15 races of the 2003 season for Roush, winning the pole position in back-to-back weeks at Las Vegas and Darlington, and earning four of his seven career top 10s while driving for the team.
“There’s a ton of names on there I hadn’t heard of in a long time and some I hadn’t heard of at all,” Buescher said. “I had not really realized how many people had driven there. But it’s really neat. It got people buzzing on social media a little bit and keeping their mind off things – a good distraction through all of this.”
Fans have certainly been participating. Roush Fenway Racing says that since it began the contest on social media, the posts have garnered more than two million impressions, more than 100,000 engagements in the contest and garnered more than 40,000 votes through the opening two rounds of #RoushMadness competition.
Not only does it say a lot about the team, but it’s promising for the team’s sponsors – SunnyD, Fastenal, Acronis, Oscar Mayer, Castrol and Fifth Third – that have been worked into the tournament in the absence of having race cars to carry their brand.
Now, the contest has entered the “Elite Eight” – pairing some of the team’s most famous competitors in the contest.
The No. 1 seed, NASCAR Hall of Famer Martin, faces current driver Newman – ironically both drivers of the team’s No. 6 Ford.
Roush’s former series champion driver Kenseth – another No. 1 seed – faces NBC Sports television analyst Jeff Burton in the other side of that bracket.
Greg Biffle, who won the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championships for Roush, faces David Ragan. Finally, longtime Roush driver and No. 1 seed Carl Edwards faces No. 3 seeded Jamie McMurray in the other side of that bracket.
Martin said he’s certainly been watching this Roush competition and humbly suggests he’s just happy to have advanced to this point along with so many drivers he genuinely admires.
“You know me, if I was voting I would be voting for someone else, there have been some absolute greats at Roush Fenway Racing that have accomplished more than I ever accomplished and are my favorite people in the world,” Martin said this week. “That’s a huge compliment in itself [to be a part of the contest].”
If he were to pick the true champion in it all, Martin would certainly be selecting Roush. His former team owner is still someone he admires greatly and someone who he credits for not only providing him the professional chance of a lifetime, but the chance to capitalize on it.
For Martin, the “Roush Madness” bracket is part fun and engaging and part opportunity to remind people of the amazing organization that Jack Roush built from the ground up – hiring talented people and believing in their potential before they were big names.
He includes himself in that category, as well as all the others remaining in the bracket.
From driver to crew chief to crewman, Martin points out that Roush’s entire bracket features raw talent that prevailed thanks to the unwavering belief and support of an owner with a key eye and genius mind.
“What’s important to your story is that nobody in NASCAR has done as much for the little guy as Jack Roush has – period,” Martin said. “Jack Roush should be in the Hall of Fame for that alone, what he did. Jack was not the guy to go buy it, he built it. He looked at people and said, ‘That guy wanted it like I want it.’ And that’s important to me.
“That is a Hall of Fame contribution above and beyond anyone else in NASCAR history to this point, in my opinion.”
As for which driver will prevail in the team’s compelling contest, there are no losers here.
“The fact I had to go against Ryan Newman in the second round was wild, I mean I was like, I’m voting for Ryan here, that guy definitely deserves to be in the Final Four without a doubt or the final match-up,” Daly said emphatically.
“It’s all been so fun.”
And that’s the idea, after all.