Inevitably, there will be a changing of the guard among the owners of NASCAR’s top teams in the next few years. In some cases, the transfer of power is already underway.
With team owners Roger Penske, Jack Roush, Joe Gibbs, Richard Childress, and Rick Hendrick all over the age of 72, Father Time is not on their side. And it’s only a matter of when, not if, someone younger and more vibrant takes the helm.
But who will succeed the five NASCAR Hall of Fame team owners in their organizations, and what is the expected timeline for them passing the torch? We will explore this topic next.
More questions surround Joe Gibbs’ future as a racing team captain
As the only member of both the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Joe Gibbs has accomplished more in his life than most people can dream of.
Sadly, Gibbs has also endured more than his share of tragedy, having lost his two sons – J.D. Gibbs and Coy Gibbs – at the age of 49. After J.D.’s death in early 2019 from a degenerative neurological disease, Coy-Gibbs took on the role of Akbar was involved in the day-to-day operations of Joe Gibbs Racing and was expected to eventually replace his father as CEO of the organization.
But, sadly, Cui passed away unexpectedly on November 6, 2022, leaving the entire organization devastated by the sudden loss of its Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
With no natural successor now in line to replace Joe Gibbs — who founded JGR in 1992 and turns 82 on November 25 — it’s really anyone’s guess who will eventually fill the void when the five-time Cup Series champion team owner decides get away.
It’s also harder than ever to predict when Gibbs will retire. Before Coye died, it would have made sense for Gibbs to pass the mantle on to his youngest and only son sooner rather than later. But since Coy is no longer around, Joe Gibbs may be tempted to hang around for a while longer until he can groom someone else for the CEO position.
It seems safe to predict that Ty Gibbs — grandson of Joe and son of Coy — will eventually become the team’s CEO, but Ty — who JGR recently announced will be going Cup racing full-time in 2023 — is only 19 and has a lot going for it. Learning and maturing before he is ready to take on such a huge responsibility.
Despite his aging bones, Roger Pinsky shows few, if any, signs of slowing down
At age 85, Roger Penske is the oldest team owner in the NASCAR Cup Series. The legendary founder of Team Penske—which includes the NASCAR and IndyCar programs—has been involved in motorsports for 56 years, winning numerous championships at every level his teams competed in.
While Penske appears to be in good health — he was present and highly visible at Phoenix Raceway, where Joey Logano delivered Team Penske’s third Cup Series championship earlier this month — it’s hard to imagine “The Captain,” as he’s nicknamed, continuing in his present role any longer. much.
Penske’s likely successors in the organization’s primary leadership role will be Executive Vice President Bud Denker and Team President Tim Cindric – who is the father of 2022 Daytona 500 and Cup Series winner Austin Cindric.
Rick Hendrick has really set the wheels in motion for his lifetime after him at Hendrick Motorsports
At age 73, Rick Hendrick is the youngest of the elite team owners in the NASCAR Cup Series. Ironically, he is also the owner who is perhaps most willing to hand over the reins.
Hendrick—whose drivers have won a record 14 Cup championships—entered the sport in 1984 with All-Star Racing, which became Hendrick Motorsports, winning 291 races at the sport’s highest level. The driver responsible for 93 of those wins—Jeff Gordon—has been the vice president of Hendrick Motorsports since January 1, 2022, and is second to Rick Hendrick in the company’s driving standings.
When Rick Hendrick steps away from the sport, which will likely happen sometime in the next five to seven years, Gordon will become CEO of the organization – which Rick Hendrick has said on multiple occasions is his succession plan.
Any plans Richard Childress had to exit the monarchy stage are likely to have been delayed
Like the rest of the Cup Series’ top owners, Richard Childress – 77 years old – is no spring chicken. Childress won six Cup Series championships with the late Dale Earnhardt and was enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2017 but maintains an active presence in the Cup Series garage.
Any idea Childress stepping down anytime soon might have gone out the door in September when two-time Cup champ Kyle Busch signed a multi-year contract as the driver of Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 Chevrolet beginning next season. Childress’s eldest grandson, Austin Dillon, is RCR’s other full-time RCR Cup entry driver and will likely have at least another 8-10 years of racing ahead of him.
Childress will apparently remain in charge at RCR for as long as Austin drives and for the duration of Busch’s tenure with the company. So, barring a health condition that might force him to put it on hold earlier than he’d prefer, Childress is likely to be around until at least the age of 85. When he decides to move on, he finds his brother-in-law, Mike Dillon—Austin’s father and longtime RCR executive—to take over.
Jack Roach is nearing retirement, and his potential successor is all too familiar
A two-time crash survivor, Jack Roush is NASCAR’s best man of steel, if there ever was one. However, 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and two-time Cup Series champion team owner hasn’t been quite as visible on the track in recent years, and it appears he’s already moved a good number of his responsibilities as team owner Brad Keselowski and others within the executive leadership of the organization.
Look for Roush—a renowned mathematician and engineer whose drivers have won 138 races since he entered the sport in 1988—to fade further into the background over the next few years as Keselowski takes on a more prominent role.
Keselowski, who became a driver and co-owner of the organization at the start of 2022, appears committed to doing whatever it takes to return the company to its glory days when it was a perennial frontrunner. So whenever Roche chooses to retire, which will likely be sooner rather than later, look for Keselowski to slide into the CEO chair.