Championship air races slated for Mississippi

Between June 2 and 5, the skies over Tunica, Miss., will be filled with the sounds of great air racers as Unlimiteds, T-6s and Formula One aircraft race for the Tunica Cup.

Tunica Municipal Airport (M97) is the venue for the second air racing competition in the world, the other being Reno’s. The race was created by the newly formed Tunica Air Race Association, a partnership between three Tunica civic organizations and JL Images Entertainment of Brentwood, Tenn. The event is expected to attract 50 to 60 high-performance aircraft, competing in as many as four classes over two- to eight-mile courses, according to the sponsors.

Practice and qualifying races are scheduled for June 2 through 4. The championship races, concluding on June 5, will end with the awarding of The Tunica Cup and cash prizes.

In addition to the racers, aerobatic and military aircraft will demonstrate their abilities. “We’ll also celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 61st anniversary of D-Day,” said Jeff Landers, president and CEO of JL Images Entertainment.

Steve Dilda, veteran Reno racer and T-6 class president, has been appointed air boss. Dilda, who began his career flying T-39s and C-5s for the Air Force, is a 727 captain for FedEx. He lives in Memphis.

Tunica, an area where cotton, rice, soybeans and catfish ponds thrive, also is the South’s casino capital. Some 30 minutes south of Memphis, the city attracts more than 10 million visitors a year to its casino resorts, restaurants, golf courses, museums, and outlet and antique shopping, according to its Chamber of Commerce.

For more information: 662-357-7350.

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