Roush's Hangar a Tribute to the Military
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on December 17, 2013 | 9:30 A.M. EST
Two of the airplanes that sit in the hangar include a North American P51 D-model and a North American constructed AT-6 advanced trainer. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
CONCORD, N.C. - Nestled in the south end of the Concord Regional Airport, near the Roush Fenway Racing headquarters, sits Jack Roush's hangar. A tribute to the 357th Fighter Group, the hangar not only houses his jet but also some vintage war planes.
Roush's love for flying, and collecting military vehicles and planes started with his father, who served in World War II.
"I was very proud of what my father did in World War II," Roush said. "He floated around in the South Pacific on the battleship South Dakota during the Kamikaze attacks and all the other things with that.
"A lot of people have lost their lives and put their lives at risk in order to protect our freedoms and make us the country that we are. To respect and honor all those people who have done all that is something I've been able to do by recreating some of the airplanes and restoring some of the other military equipment you find around the hangar."
Two of the airplanes that sit in the hangar include a North American P51 D-Model and a North American-constructed AT-6 advanced trainer. Roush also has additional planes in Michigan, including another P-51.
"The P-51s were the primary long-distance, long-range airplanes that protected bombers," Roush said. "I have a 'D' and 'B' Model. I fly those in a combination of about 100-125 hours a year, so that’s a couple times a week I try to get up in an airplane."
Roush said they built roughly 20,000 of the AT-6s and he has around 300 total hours flying his.
"They were used for training more than a dozen national air forces around the world on the good side," Roush said. "The airplane also served in Korea as a ground attack and support aircraft with a couple machine guns that were put on it for that purpose."
In one corner of the hangar, Roush has a bar that is a tribute to the 363rd squadron of the 357th Fighter Group.
"It's constructed out of material that, in my mind, might have been available to soldiers and airmen in Europe in 1944 and '45," Roush said.
The bar is the site of the annual Roush Fenway Racing Poker Tournament.
"I have the most fun in the hangar when we have our annual Roush drivers and team guys' poker tournament," said Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Ford. "So that's where the most use comes from over in that corner."
A military jeep, complete with a 50-caliber mounted on a pedestal, also sits in the hangar. The Jeep is more of the Korean War than World War II vintage.
"It’s very similar to the Jeeps they had in World War II and it has a snorkel so it can drive with the engine under water for a short period of time," Roush said. "It’s got four-wheel drive, and a trailer on it to carry ammunition and supplies."
Along with military items, Roush owns a large amount of collectable cars and one of them - a Ford Deluxe - is in the hangar. It was a favorite of the moonshine runners in the 1940s and used in the early days of NASCAR, and Roush restored it thinking about that period of time.
"It was a very popular sports enthusiast-oriented car, one of the fastest cars for the 1940 era," Roush said. "If you're a car person - and if you collect cars and work on cars, and if you don't sell very many of them, the first thing you know you have 100 cars. I've got 185 to 200 cars."