DAYTONA BEACH , Fla. (Dec. 10, 2007) – The world-renowned “Thunderbirds” – the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron – will provide race fans with an aerial spectacle during the National Anthem flyover at the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500 – NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway.
It is the first time the exclusive flying squadron will perform a flyover at the historic “World Center of Racing.” It will also be the first flyover by the exclusive group in 2008.
“Wow. What an honor to have the amazing Thunderbirds take part in the kickoff to the 50th running of the Daytona 500,” said Speedway President Robin Braig. “Their involvement only reinforces the significance of the most anticipated racing event in motorsports.”
“We know NASCAR fans appreciate speed and intensity, so it’s an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the speed, precision and professionalism the Air Force employs every day,” said Lt Col. Greg Thomas, 2008 Thunderbird Commander/Leader.
“Just like it takes an entire pit crew to keep one driver and one car on the track, it takes thousands of Airmen to accomplish our mission of protecting and defending the skies – this is a great way to share that story,” said Col. Thomas.
Reaching speeds of 600 mph, the Thunderbirds flyover will feature six Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons buzzing the famed Speedway Frontstretch; the famous Delta formation will return for a second pass en route to land.
The Thunderbirds, an Air Combat Command unit comprised of eight pilots (six are demonstration pilots), perform precision aerial maneuvers in approximately 70 shows a year in 35 different locations every weekend from the middle of March to the middle of November.
Since the unit's inception in 1953, more than 350 million people in all 50 states and 61 countries have witnessed the red, white and blue jets in more than 4,123 official aerial demonstrations.
Tickets for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 and other DIRECTV Speedweeks 2008 events, go online to or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.