Ray Evernham, Rob Kauffman Breathe New Life into IROC Series

Jackson Wheeler
4 Min Read

IROC is coming back, baby.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Ray Evernham, along with former NASCAR team co-owner Rob Kauffman on Monday announced that they have acquired the former International Race Of Champions (IROC) brand and have formed IROC Holdings LLC, with plans to resurrect the all-star racing series in some form.

Exact plans were not revealed for the new company, which will be based in Mooresville, N.C., but a press release said it intends to hold at least one IROC-branded race in 2024 “while exploring future opportunities.”

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Ray Evernham has roots that run through the Hendrick Motorsports empire.

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But numerous questions remain such as what type of cars will be used (the release said “historic IROC race cars” will be used at least initially), where will the cars race, what drivers will compete (particularly if they will be active or retired drivers, and from which racing series), how many races per season will be contested and perhaps the most important element to success: a strong TV contract.

IROC competed from 1973 through 2006 before it folded. Most years saw four races contested per year, with most events held in conjunction with race weekends put on by other series such as NASCAR and CART/Champ Car World Series (now IndyCar).

IROC featured identically prepared race cars and included some of the top stars from NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1 and other series. It was originally conceived in the mid-1970s by Roger Penske, Jay Signore, NFL Hall of Famer (and former NASCAR official) Les Richter and broadcasting executive Mike Phelps.

Mark Martin earned the most IROC championships (five), followed by four-time champ Dale Earnhardt and two-time champs A.J. Foyt and Al Unser Jr.

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Rob Kaufman is behind an effort to bring back IROC.

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Per Monday’s press release, “IROC brought together the greatest drivers from all forms of motorsport to compete against each other in iconic cars on historic tracks. Although the annual events ended in 2006, the legacy and recognition of the IROC brand has continued throughout the years. IROC Holdings plans to bring the historic brand back to life.”

Before he joined Hendrick Motorsports as a crew chief and led Jeff Gordon to three of his four NASCAR Cup championships, Evernham was a staff mechanic for IROC. Even though it ceased operations 18 years ago, the series remains near and dear to Evernham’s heart as he maintains a large collection of former IROC cars.

With so many questions still left to be answered, one of the most immediate queries is whether the new version of IROC will compete against the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX), which Evernham originated and developed in 2021, only to end his affiliation with the new series just over a year later.

Follow Autoweek contributor Jerry Bonkowski on X/Twitter @JerryBonkowski

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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