Reno Air Race Gets Ready for Action

The competition heats up with tight qualifying races.

If you are an air race fan, it’s time to make the annual migration to Reno for the National Championship Air Races. The competition starts today at Reno Stead Airport, 10 miles northwest of the city. In addition to the promise of adrenaline-pumping races from buzzing miniature sport airplanes to roaring unlimiteds, the weekend promises exciting aerial performances including the Breitling Jet Team formation demonstration, David Martin flying his seemingly impossible aerobatic routine, a Tora, Tora, Tora display, and much more.

The race lineup for the loudest and fastest racers in the Unlimited Class could make for an exciting competition. During the qualifying rounds this week, the top three racers: Rare Bear, Strega and Voodoo, all finished within three seconds of each other. Rare Bear is looking really great this year with the fastest top speed of 480 mph so far — a number that is likely to climb higher over the weekend as the competition heats up.

Unfortunately one crowd favorite will be missing this year as Precious Metal caught fire on its way to Reno. Thom Richard has launched a crowdfunding campaign through gofundme to get the P-51 back in racing condition.

The fastest group at Reno — the Jet Class — has the big lineup this year with 17 airplanes qualified to race. American Spirit is looking great with a top speed of 491 mph in the initial rounds. Tight on its heels is Fast Company and Vampire, both within a second of American Spirit in their best qualifying laps.

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