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Thu, Jul 11, 2013

Legendary P-51 Mustang, 'Strega' To Compete At 50th National Championship Air Ra

Precious Metal, Dreadnought, And Argonaut Also Announced As Competitors In This Year’s Event

On the heels of last week’s initial competitor announcement, the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) announced this week that legendary Unlimited & Warbird Class (UWRC) racers “Strega,” “Precious Metal,” “Argonaut,” and “Dreadnought,” are the latest entrants into the historic event’s most recognizable racing class. In a surprising twist, however, “Strega,” which has been flown to victory the past four years by defending champion Steve Hinton, will be flown by Air Race veteran Matt Jackson. As previously announced, this year Hinton will be flying another Air Race favorite, the purple and yellow P-51 Mustang “Voodoo” as well as Stu Dawson set to return in Rare Bear. These latest additions round out one of the Reno Air Races’ most competitive and anxiously anticipated racing fields in the history of the event, which will take place at the Reno-Stead Airport Sept. 11-15.

“With these latest additions to the Unlimited & Warbird Racing Class, we have as good of a racing field as we have ever had and one that is absolutely befitting of our special 50th event,” said Mike Houghton, president and CEO of RARA. “We are ecstatic to announce that we will have the most recognizable racing planes and pilots in the world and one of the most competitive national championships in the event’s storied history.”

In taking the helm of “Strega,” owned by acclaimed race champion Bill “Tiger” Destefani, Jackson will be piloting the winningest plane in the history of the Reno Air Races’ Unlimited division. He will be trying to unseat Hinton, who has won Unlimited Gold in each of the four years that he has competed in Reno. The Breitling-sponsored “Precious Metal” will be piloted by longtime race pilot and Formula One Gold Champion Thom Richard, who will be looking to win his first Unlimited Gold victory. Additionally, brothers Dennis and Brian Sanders will be flying the fan-favorite Sea Furies, “Dreadnought” and “Argonaut,” respectively. All told, there are 16 Unlimiteds scheduled to compete in the UWRC, and more than 113 planes total racing, with more to come, in Reno’s six racing classes.

“This year’s event will feature some very unique storylines and we know, at the very least, we’re going to see a new face or a new a plane on the winner’s podium when all is said and done,” said Houghton. “And, in addition to some incredible racing, we will have a wide array of top-notch, one-of-a-kind entertainment that should serve as an emphatic tribute to aviation of all kinds.”

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 popular Smoke N’ Thunder Jet Car.

The races take place this year from Sept. 11-15.

FMI: www.airrace.org

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