While modern air races pit airplanes against airplanes, like Reno favorite “Dago Red,” early air races had airplanes racing against cars — with the cars winning most of the time.

The ‘good old days’ of racing

The very first air races were not races between airplanes, but rather races between airplanes and automobiles. It was the early 1900s and, at the time, both vehicles were at the cutting edge of technology. The automobiles usually won.

Within 10 years both industries had made great strides in technology. Soon there were airplanes, such as the GeeBee, that were designed specifically for speed.

Air racing continued to be a showcase of aviation technology until the races fell by the wayside, victims of the Great Depression.

The sport of air racing returned in 1964 with the creation of the Reno Air Races, which are still around today and held every September.

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