DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, known around the globe for their precision aerobatics, will perform the flyover for the 55th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener on Sunday, Feb. 24, at Daytona International Speedway.
It’s the third consecutive year that the flying team, officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, will perform the flyover for “The Great American Race.” The Thunderbirds also provided the flyover in 2008 for the 50th running of the Daytona 500.
The Thunderbirds flyover will feature six F-16 Fighting Falcons, the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter aircraft, soaring over the Speedway at the end of the playing of the national anthem.
“It’s an honor for the third straight year to have the USAF Thunderbirds provide the flyover for the 55th annual Daytona 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “The Thunderbirds are known throughout the world for their precision and excellence in the skies. The thousands of race fans in attendance and the millions more watching on FOX are looking forward to a stirring flyover at the conclusion of the national anthem.”
This week, the USAF Thunderbirds are visiting Daytona Beach for the second time in 2012, this time to perform in Embry-Riddle’s "Wings and Waves Air Show," which takes place on the Daytona Beach shoreline Oct. 13-14.
"We’ve developed such a great relationship with Daytona race fans over the years,” said Lt. Col. Greg Moseley, Thunderbirds commander and lead pilot. “We feel honored to contribute to the NASCAR experience during the 55th annual Daytona 500.”
The Thunderbirds team is an Air Combat Command unit composed of eight pilots (including six demonstration pilots), four support officers, four civilians and more than 100 enlisted Airmen serving in about 30 Air Force job specialties.
Since the unit's inception in 1953, more than 350 million people in all 50 states and 61 countries have witnessed the distinctive red, white and blue jets in thousands of official aerial demonstrations.
Tickets for NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race – the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24 – start at $65 and are available at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
For the second straight year, the Speedway is offering special youth pricing for the Daytona 500. Children 12 and under will receive 50 percent off all backstretch grandstand seats for the Daytona 500 while supplies last. In addition, children 12 and under are free in the Sprint FANZONE throughout Budweiser Speedweeks.
Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR and #DAYTONA500. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest for all the latest news all season long.