Reno to welcome big names and returning champions

In preparation for the 50th National Championship Air Races, the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) has unveiled 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 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.

“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.”

The Air Races received more than 110 entries across the six racing classes (Formula 1, Biplane, Sport, T-6, Jet and Unlimited and 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, go to

The 50th annual National Championship Air Races take place this year from Sept. 11-15. Tickets are on sale now by phone at 775-972-6663 or online


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *