Anyone who knows longtime team owner and Livonia, Mich., resident Jack Roush will tell you that he has two loves, NASCAR racing and aviation. Roush will get the best of both worlds on Saturday during pre-race activities for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Cool City Customs 200 at Michigan International Speedway.
Roush, who is an avid pilot, will perform the flyover in his P-51 plane for the Cool City Customs 200. He will be accompanied by some of his friends piloting T-6 aircrafts. It is the first time Roush has performed a flyover for a NASCAR race.
“This will be a great honor for me to celebrate the military and to remember all the veterans and flyover at the conclusion of the National Anthem, in my hometown, as it were,” Roush said. “It’s going to be fun to do that. And, I’ve got to make some phone calls; rather than do a one-ship, it would be my intention if I can organize it to do a four-ship, so I’ve got to see if I can scare up three friends with T-6’s in the area who are the trainers to flyover with my P-51.”
After the flyover, Roush will helicopter back from Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., and be back at the Irish Hills track for the race, which will feature three of his drivers, Erik Darnell, Colin Braun and Bobby East.
Roush is one of the most successful owners in MIS history. His 10 victories as an owner in the Cup Series at MIS are second only to the Wood Brothers (11). His drivers swept the weekend in June 2007 at MIS with Darnell (ARCA), Travis Kvapil (NCTS) and Carl Edwards (Sprint Cup) all winning their respective events. Despite his success in racing over the years, Roush still maintains his love for flying and regularly flies by MIS when he has time.
“It’s always been something that I’ve been interested in. As a youngster I built balsawood model airplanes, first with rubber bands for power and then later with little nitro-burning engines for power,” he said. “I designed my own airplanes and built them from kits just as I grew into being an adolescent, I was very active in pursuing that interest. And then of course, in the ’80s when I was road racing real hard, I had a chance – or excuse or the reason – to have a corporate airplane to fly around, as I do today, and then that really got me started with personal aviation as far as being a pilot.”
Among one of the most famous fighters of World War II, the P-51 has its roots in both Britain and the USA. The P-51 would be unmatched by any other piston aircraft of World War II.
Tickets for the Cool City Customs 200 are available by calling the MIS Ticket Hotline at 800-354-1010 or visit MISpeedway.com. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Fans who have purchased tickets for the race gain free admission to the Miller Lite Rock N’ Racing concert presented by Cool City Customs featuring country music star Sammy Kershaw. The concert will begin approximately a half hour after the conclusion of the race.