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Air Races Coming Back To TMS

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 27 2018

Texas Motor Speedway will be hosting an air racing event later this year.

FORT WORTH, Texas – The skies of Texas will play host to the 2018 season-finale of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Texas Motor Speedway has been selected as the eighth and final stop Nov. 17-18 for the globetrotting series that began the season in February in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and competes in seven countries.  The revised schedule _ with TMS replacing a location in Asia for the finale _ will see the series visit Kazan, Russia (Aug. 25-26), Austria (Sept. 15-16) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Oct. 6-7) before heading to North Texas.

Texas Motor Speedway previously hosted the series in September 2014 and 2015. However, this will mark the first time the season-finale will play-out in Fort Worth.

“This is probably the most unique event we have ever hosted,” TMS President Eddie Gossage said in a statement. “You sit in the stands and look down and see airplanes race around and through pylons. We appreciate Red Bull Air Race’s faith in us by awarding the 2018 championship race to Texas Motor Speedway.”

Red Bull Air Race features the world’s best racing pilots in a competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Lightweight planes reach speeds of 230 mph as the pilots navigate a low-level, slalom track featuring 82-foot-high, air-filled pylons. The object is to navigate the layout in the fastest time while incurring as few penalties as possible. Pilots earn championship points at each venue en route to the season-finale.

“The people of Fort Worth have been wonderful hosts in the past,” said Erich Wolf, general manager of Red Bull Air Race GmbH. “We’re delighted to be able to shine a global spotlight on the Metroplex by crowning our 2018 World Champion at Texas Motor Speedway. As the margins of victory get tighter and tighter, the Red Bull Air Race season-finale only becomes more thrilling. Last year, the title came down to the final seconds of the final round, and we can’t wait to see what happens this November.”

The championship is divided into two racing levels _ the premier Master Class division and the Challenger Cup support series. Fourteen pilots from 10 countries are competing in the Master Class, including Americans Michael Goulian and Kirby Chambliss. Australian Matt Hall currently leads the championship by a two-point margin over Goulian.

The Challenger Cup, which offers pilots an opportunity to gain experience in the sport, features 10 pilots from nine nations including American Kevin Coleman and France’s Melanie Astles, the only female competitor in the series. Luke Czepiela of Poland and Florian Berger of Germany are tied for the championship lead.

“To crown their champions in two divisions is a pretty special occurrence for us,” Gossage said. “It’s hard to explain to people that you’re going to sit here and see airplanes race right in front of where you’re used to seeing race cars. They’re going to crown their champion so I know it’s a year’s-worth of work and effort and labor on behalf of teams all over the place, I mean all over the globe, and it comes down to this final race at Texas Motor Speedway. Pretty exciting.

“To be able to sit here in the grandstands at Texas Motor Speedway and look down on airplanes racing, that’s a pretty amazing thing that you’d never thought you’d see, all of this contained within the oval. They’re only 20 or 30 feet off the ground, flying at several hundred mph. They’re running a slalom course through these giant pylons that are blown up into the air. It’s just one of those things that I don’t think we ever thought about doing when we built Texas Motor Speedway. The only thing it leaves now is we need to plug up the tunnels and flood the place and have boat races, I guess.”

TMS originally was scheduled to close its season with the annual NASCAR Playoff tripleheader weekend featuring the Camping World Truck, Xfinity and Monster Energy Cup Series from Nov. 1-4.

“Racing, that’s what we’re all about,” Gossage said. “Our fans are really fortunate to have great racing of all kinds they can come out and see and have fun with. And if you’ve never seen these Red Bull Air Races, I’d come check it out. Just the curiosity factor alone ought to get you because they’re pretty darned amazing.”

Tickets are available by visiting www.redbullairrace.com. For additional information, visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com or call the TMS ticket office at 817-215-8500.   

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 27 2018
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