50th National Championship Air Races to welcome big names and returning champions

The 50th annual National Championship Air Races take place this year from Sept. 11-15.


Reno, Nev. – In preparation for a historic and thrilling 50th National Championship Air Races, the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA), announced a star-studded field of competitors and aircraft registered to compete this September. Headlining the recently unveiled Unlimited & Warbird Racing Class (UWRC) is four-time defending champion Steve Hinton who, in a surprise twist this year, will be helming the fan –favorite P-51 Mustang “Voodoo.” Hinton will be joined by the five other competitors from 2012’s heart pumping Unlimited Gold Class Championship Race, including Stu Dawson flying the famous F8F-2 Bearcat, “Rare Bear,” Dennis Sanders in “Dreadnaught,” former space shuttle astronauts Curt Brown in “Sawbones,” and “Hoot” Gibson in “232” and Brent Hisey in “Miss America.” Additionally, this year’s event will feature the long-awaited return of two wildly popular aircraft, “Czech Mate” and “Ole Yeller.” Other pilots announced for the UWRC include, Brian Sanders, Sherman Smoot and Rod Lewis among others.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have such a high profile field of competitors and legendary aircraft to help us celebrate our 50th year of air racing,” said Mike Houghton, president and CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association. “We are committed to bringing our fans the very best in racing and entertainment and are so pleased to see that so many longtime event participants will be back this year. And, while the registration cutoff was Monday night, we still anticipate making a few surprise announcements regarding additional competitors and aircraft over the next several days.”

While registrations are still being processed for an electrifying field of UWRC racers and more competitors are likely to be announced soon, the Air Races received more than 110 entries across the six racing classes (Formula 1, Biplane, Sport, T-6, Jet and Unlimited & Warbird). Other names that Air Race fans will be familiar with include former UWRC top competitor Will Whiteside, now flying in the Sport Class, Biplane racer Tom Aberle and northern Nevada pilot Dennis Buehn in the T-6 Class. For a full list of pilots scheduled to compete at this year’s event, visit www.airrace.org. And, for the latest announcements on competitors added to the race field, follow the National Championship Air Races on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RenoAirRacingAssociation and on Twitter @RenoAirRaces.

“Every year, we strive to put on a world-class event that will appeal to race fans, aviation enthusiasts and families from all over the globe,” said Houghton. “We feel that this field of racers, combined with the outstanding entertainment and exhibits we have scheduled to attend, will make our 50th event a very special and memorable one for all involved and will be a fitting and worthy tribute to aviation of all types.”

In addition to six classes of some of the most experienced and talented racers flying in the “World’s Fastest Motorsport,” this year, attendees can expect thrilling entertainment including the L-39 Patriot

Jet Team, the Breitling Jet Team “Jetman,” and a bevy of individual air performances from some of today’s most talented aerial stunt pilots. Entertainment will take place on land as well, with high-speed performances from the Smoke N’ Thunder Jet Car.

The 50th annual National Championship Air Races are the world’s premier air racing event. The races take place this year from Sept. 11-15. Tickets are on sale now by phone at (775) 972-6663 or online at www.airrace.org.

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