Jack Roush, recently released from the Mayo Clinic for treatment after his July 27th plane crash, feels both lucky and a bit unworthy to have survived yet another air mishap. But most of all, he is grateful to just be back at the race track.
Roush, who returned to his home race track, Michigan International Speedway, for the weekend of race festivities, took a few moments to reflect on what he had been through and to share his feelings in an impromptu press conference with the media.
“I feel very lucky,” Roush said. “I’ve had several bites at the apple here. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have been able to survive and I feel in some ways unworthy.”
“I’m not sure I’ve done enough yet for the chances that I’ve had,” Roush continued contemplatively. “Maybe that’s recognized and they’re just giving me more time.'
Roush talked about the plane crash that he was so lucky to have survived, describing his arrival on his private plane into Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
“I was put in conflict with the flight plan of another airplane close to the ground,” Roush said. “I was unable to address the conflict and keep the airplane flying. I ground-looped the airplane.”
For the first time, Roush also revealed the extent of his injuries, the most significant was damage to his left eye, resulting permanent loss of vision. He also had a damaged left cheek, broken jaw, and a compression fracture in his back.
“I was blessed to have great vision in two eyes and now I’ve got great vision in one,” Roush said. “I’ve got a back brace for the compression fracture and hardware in my cheek. I still have packing in my nose and I’m still uncomfortable with the fact I can’t breathe clearly through my nose.”
Roush denied that the loss of eyesight or any of his other injuries would keep him flying again.
“I think it’s very likely that I’ll be able to fly,” Roush said. “Wiley Post was a one-eyed pilot and there’s not restriction. Maybe if you’re an airline pilot you can’t have one eye but there’s not a reason why I can’t fly with one eye.”
Roush was most pleased, however, that his team and organization rallied around him and continued their performance on the track.
“I’m really proud at the way the organization has rallied,” Roush said. “This was a little test case. How can you do without Jack? Well, it’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than anybody.”
“My point was the momentum for that , the things that were in place, were not impacted by the fact that I had a problem.”
Roush and his Roush Fenway Racing team will now move on to the business at hand, racing in the Irish hills of Michigan. And there is no doubt that everyone in the NASCAR garage area is ready to welcome to ‘Cat in the Hat’ back to the track.