Raymond Fox III Fulfills His Family Destiny

January 4, 2021

"Penske Material" provides an inside look at some of the personalities, stories and moments that make Team Penske so unique.

On Sunday, November 18, 2018, Raymond Fox III sat on the pit wall at Homestead-Miami Speedway soaking in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship won that night by Team Penske and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford team. For Fox, the win by Joey Logano in the Ford EcoBoost 400 was the culmination of 30 years of competing in NASCAR’s premier series, vying for a championship. The longtime car chief had come close to a title so many times only to taste the agony of defeat, but on that special November night, Fox was on top of the world.

Overcoming obstacles and achieving success in racing isn’t something new when you’re a member of the Fox Family. Raymond Fox I was an early nominee for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The family patriarch’s success in racing included 14 premier series wins as a car owner – most notably, the 1960 Daytona 500 when Junior Johnson won the race in an underpowered Chevrolet that Fox primarily built in a Daytona International Speedway garage during Speedweeks. Johnson, a NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and car owner, was a pioneer of drafting that was way ahead of his time in many ways, much like Raymond Fox I. Fox’s cars were driven by several other NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers including: David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Buck Baker, Buddy Baker and Fred Lorenzen.

The eldest Fox continued to work in NASCAR as a technical inspector, specializing in engines until he retired in 1996 at the age of 80.

Raymond Fox II followed in his father’s footsteps, also specializing in engines, as he worked with renowned engine builder and NASCAR Hall of Fame car owner Robert Yates. That relationship provided an opportunity for Raymond Fox III to get his foot in the door of an emerging NASCAR Cup Series powerhouse team while he was still in High School.


“My first job in racing was working for Butler Built,” said Fox III. “I spent my after-school time sewing in seat covers for race seats. Ultimately, I got the chance in 1988 to go to work for Robert (Yates). I’d go over to the race shop at lunch to mop the floors and clean the bathrooms. It’s actually funny, but my tool box was stored in the bathroom for the first few years. From time-to-time, I’d work back in the engine shop with my dad, tearing down motors and cleaning parts.

“During the summers, Doug (Yates) and I would get in the shop as early as we could and get our work done so we could get to the lake and go skiing. At that point we were both kids chasing a passion but still having fun.”

Fox faced the first major obstacle of his life at just 17 years of age when his father passed away suddenly. As Fox recalls, however, Robert Yates was there to help the young man during a tough time.

“It was really hard losing my dad,” said Fox. “But it was in that moment that Robert Yates went from being the boss to really filling the void and becoming a second father for me. I owe my career and a lot of who I am as a person to Robert for taking me under his wing and making me part of the family.”

Yates also helped mold Fox into a team leader by putting him to work with legendary crew chief Jake Elder. According to Fox, the move taught him some valuable life lessons and prepared him for just about anything he would face in his racing career.

“Jake was tough,” said Fox. “If something went wrong on the car anywhere, even if I didn’t touch it, it was my fault. Jake was a great mechanic, but a tough guy to work for. You really had to learn accountability, even if it wasn’t your fault.”

After working with Elder, Fox found himself paired with crew chief Larry McReynolds and driver Davey Allison.

“Larry Mac was probably the greatest mentor I had in my career,” said Fox. “Larry would do the office work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then he’d hit the shop floor and start working on race cars with us. His work ethic was unbelievable. We’d be in the shop until two or three in the morning and then back to work by seven, but he was always there, always available and someone you could learn a lot from.”

During his years with Robert Yates Racing, Fox would frequently cross paths with his grandfather and namesake in the garage area, usually in the technical inspection line.

“A lot of times I think my grandfather was harder on us than he was other teams. We surely didn’t get any special treatment,” said Fox. “The guy knew all the tricks of the trade, certainly one of those NASCAR inspectors that could stay ahead of the teams. His mechanical mind was incredible, but it led to some pretty lively debates on the gray areas for sure.”

In his 19 years with Robert Yates Racing, Fox did just about every job on the race team. From cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors, to dismounting tires, cutting out sidewalls to remove inner liners and working on race setups, Fox learned all aspects of the team. He worked his way up to car chief and then earned the opportunity to serve as a Cup Series crew chief for a stint with Elliott Sadler.

“All the wins I’ve had in my career are extremely special, but the ones working for Robert stand out,” said Fox. “The 1992 Daytona 500 with Davey Allison and the 1997 Father’s Day Race at Michigan International Speedway with Ernie Irvan. That race was so big for all of us on the team and for Ernie. He almost died there in a practice crash in 1994 and sat out of the car for a year. To help him get to Victory Lane was amazing.”

Fox remained at Robert Yates Racing until the team closed its doors at the end of 2007. Fox then joined Roush Fenway Racing before moving to Petty Enterprises for one season with driver Bobby Labonte.

From 2009-2011, Fox worked for JTG Daugherty Racing and driver Marcos Ambrose before once again teaming up with Bobby Labonte.

In 2012, Fox joined Team Penske to work with driver Sam Hornish Jr. in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In 2013, Fox transitioned to the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford with crew chief Todd Gordon and the arrival of Joey Logano. From 2013 to 2019, the No. 22 Ford team earned 21 wins, including a victory in the 2015 Daytona 500 before Fox and the team embarked on their memorable run in 2018 that fulfilled the Fox family championship destiny. Fox currently serves as the car chief for the No. 12 Ford Mustang driven by Ryan Blaney.

Away from the track, Fox is quick to credit his wife of 27 years, Terri, with holding his family together and helping he and his two sons follow their dreams.

“Terri is my rock,” said Fox. “We dated in high school and she knew racing was my passion and she’s never once complained about the amount of time I’m gone or the added responsibility she had to carry at home with raising the two boys. She’s helped me chase my dream, but at the same time, she took our two sons Austin and Justin and turned them into phenomenal baseball players. Both boys received scholarships to play ball. Austin played at Pfeiffer University and then Francis Marion University. Justin is playing at Anderson University. To be honest, Terri could probably be the GM of a major league team with as much as she knows about baseball.

“We raised the boys together, but Terri is certainly the one who deserves the most credit for who they are as young men today. She taught them the importance of carrying out their commitments, going to practice even when they didn’t want to and supporting their teammates. She’s an amazing wife and mother and there’s nobody else I could have done life with.”



More Penske Material

Read more about the personalities, stories and moments that make Team Penske unique.