Roush Racing: Driver X

Roush Racing: Driver X was a television show on the Discovery Channel that documented the selection of NASCAR drivers for Roush Racing. During occasional years, Jack Roush, the owner of Roush Racing, auditioned drivers from around the world to hire a driver in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. This audition was informally known as The Gong Show. In 2005, the Discovery Channel decided to film and air these tests as Roush Racing: Driver X. The show aired every Monday at 7:00 p.m. EST and at 11:00 p.m. EST on the Discovery Channel.

Roush Racing: Driver X
GenreAuto racing
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
Production company(s)Brainbox Entertainment
Original networkDiscovery Channel

Roush Racing: Driver X was produced for Discovery Channel by Brainbox Entertainment.


For many years, Roush Racing recruited its developmental drivers through an elimination style of testing entitled The Gong Show. The first competition was held in 1985 for Roush's road racing program.[1][2] The first combine for the stock car program was held in 1999.[1][3][4][5] The process would begin when Roush solicited applications from thousands of drivers from all levels or racing. They would then put through a series of tests, gauging not only driving skills, but also public relations talent and personality traits. Eventually, the field would be narrowed down to an elite group who are allowed to race Roush vehicles, often Truck Series vehicles, in an attempt to assess driving ability. Those with the fastest times progress, and ultimately the best drivers are awarded with a contract to drive for Roush in the Truck Series or Busch Series (now Xfinity Series).[3][4] Winners of the program include Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and David Ragan.[1][3][4]

The term "Gong Show" comes from the 1970s talent show spoof "The Gong Show."[4]

2005 competitionEdit

In 2005, the process was documented in the Discovery Channel television series Roush Racing: Driver X, which followed the stories of those involved in the 2005 Gong Show.[1][3][4]



Results and other development dealsEdit

The 2005 winner was Erik Darnell, who won a full-time ride in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for Roush Racing in the #99 Ford F-150.[7] He scored two wins over three Truck Series seasons with Roush, and would later run seven races in the Cup Series for fellow Ford team Yates Racing in 2009. David Ragan drove a limited number of races in the #6 Ford F-150 in 2006.[7] He earned two Cup Series victories with Roush and Front Row Motorsports before retiring at the end of the 2019 season. Danny O'Quinn won a ride in the #50 World Financial Group Ford Fusion for Roush in the next level up in NASCAR, the Busch Series.[7]

Pete Shepherd was signed to a driver development deal with Roush Racing, running in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2006.[7] Also, Matt McCall signed with Yates Racing (then known as Robert Yates Racing) after the show concluded to co-pilot the #90 Ford in the NASCAR Busch Series for 2006.[7] He is currently a crew chief for Chip Ganassi Racing. In 2008, Justin Allgaier won the ARCA Series Championship, and signed a deal to race for Penske Racing in the Nationwide Series (formerly the Busch Series). He went on to get his first win in 2010, and later competed for HScott Motorsports in the Cup Series; he currently races for JR Motorsports in the now-Xfinity Series.

Previous Gong Show winnersEdit

Year Winner Runner(s) Up
2004 Todd Kluever Erik Darnell, Danny O'Quinn, David Ragan, Bobby Santos III, Matt McCall, David Gilliland, Kevin Conway, Timothy Peters, Regan Smith, Auggie Vidovich II, Clay Rogers, Michael Pickens, Nate Monteith, Wade Day, Jason Boyd, Dustin Skinner, Josh Krug, Jason Hogan, Chris Bristol, Morty Buckles[1][4]
2002 Carl Edwards
2000 Chuck Hossfeld and Nathan Haseleu[8] Scott Riggs, Timothy Peters[9][10]
1999 Kurt Busch Jon Wood[4][11]


  1. ^ a b c d e Crandall, Kelly (September 27, 2008). "Jack Roush's Eye and Drive for Talent". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Max Jones: Biography" (PDF). Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Spencer, Lee (June 4, 2015). "Roush racers settle Dover differences in team meeting". Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Zeller, Bob (April 2005). "The Gong Show: In which Jack Roush conducts the most democratic driver selection in American racing". Car and Driver. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  5. ^ Cothren, Larry (February 1, 2005). "North Wilkesboro Speedway Roush Racing Tryouts - Roush's Gong Show: When Roush Racing Decided To Hold Another Tryout For Aspiring Drivers, Historic North Wilkesboro Speedway Was Summoned Out Of Retirement". Stock Car Racing. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Roush Racing Announces 25 Candidates in Line to Become Next Premier NASCAR Driver: Discovery Channel Takes Viewers Along for High-Energy Ride in Original Series". Concord, North Carolina: Roush Racing. July 27, 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-06-19. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Roush Racing (February 22, 2006). "BUSCH: Roush Racing Driver X update". Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Busch Steps In As Teacher". West Allis, Wisconsin: Motor Racing Network. June 30, 2001. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  9. ^ "NASCAR Camping World Trucks Hossfeld Out At Roush". Motor Racing Network. July 10, 2001. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Roush truck audition at Las Vegas". Las Vegas: September 28, 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  11. ^ Associated Press (April 15, 2006). "'Gong Show' winner set to replace Martin". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved 29 November 2015.[permanent dead link]

External linksEdit