Kevin Eldredge returned from hiatus to the National Championship Air Races in Reno, NV. Piloting Relentless, a highly modified Nemesis NXT in the Sport Class, Eldredge knew he would be up against serious competition, facing off with Sport Class Gold Champion Andrew Findlay. Crowds flocked to the Sport Class Gold race on Sunday, where Findlay once again captured the first-place win. Despite maintenance issues earlier in the week, Eldredge put on a fantastic show and nabbed second-place. His team expressed determination to secure a Sport Class Gold win in 2020.
Fan favorite Elliot Seguin won first place in Sport Class Bronze, rounding the pylons in the SX-300, Wasabinought. Documenting his journey on social media, Seguin brought the excitement of the race to fans that couldn’t make the pilgrimage to the grandstands at Reno-Stead. Aviation enthusiasts of all ages cheered on their hero—a modern-day innovator who embodies the heart and soul of air racing. Seguin’s entertaining and relatable demeanor continues to bridge the gap between the knowledgeable veterans of Reno and the younger generations that are just getting their feet airborne.
Scott Farnsworth of DASH Aerosports came in with a third-place win in Jet Class Gold flying the L-39 Albatros, No Compromises.
Legendary pilot Vicky Benzing qualified in Jet Class Bronze with the L-39 Albatros, Athena; and brought home second place in Sport Class Silver at the helm of Lancair Legacy, Lucky Girl. In 2015, Benzing set the record as the fastest woman in air race history, and has her sights set on another milestone for 2020: Only one woman in history has raced in the Unlimited Class, but Benzing intends to change that. As the proud new owner of Clay Lacy’s iconic North American P-51 Mustang, Miss Van Nuys, Benzing plans to consecrate it in the Unlimited Class at the 2020 Air Races. It’s set to be a memorable year for the Mustang, coinciding with the 50thanniversary of the first time this special warbird claimed the championship title at Reno in 1965.
Though iconic pilot Thom Richard did not return to the races this year, he racked up air shows—and magazine covers—in 2019 with his newest ride: the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, American Dream. As a dual control P-40, Richard offers flight instruction in this ultra-rare warbird at various air shows and his air museum in Kissimmee, Florida. His talented partner, the up and coming warbird pilot Michaela Satter, also offers flight instruction in the North American T-6 Texan. We hope to see these two return to the Reno Air Races in the coming years, and rooting for Michaela’s first go around the racecourse!