For 12and A year in a row, “America’s Ambassadors in Blue” will fly over the World Center of Racing, February 20
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida. (February 1, 2022) – The world-famous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will perform the flyover for the 64th annual DAYTONA on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022 at Daytona International Speedway, the prestigious season-opening event of the NASCAR Cup Series (FOX, FOX Deportes, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The flyover will mark the 12th consecutive year, and 13th overall, that America’s “Ambassadors in Blue” – officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron – will showcase their world-class talent. and their precise choreography flying over their signature formation “Delta”. the World Center of Racing at the end of the national anthem of The Great American Race.
“The USAF Thunderbirds flyover is synonymous with our storied DAYTONA 500 pre-race ceremonies,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher. “We are honored to have them back for what will be a packed house for the 64th DAYTONA 500. It will be an exhilarating spectacle and a treasured moment to behold for those in attendance, as well as the millions of others watching on FOX, as they take off on the Speedway at the end of the national anthem.
The Thunderbirds include six F-16 Fighting Falcons, the Air Force’s first multirole fighter aircraft. Assigned to Air Combat Command, the squadron is made up of 12 officers and more than 120 enlisted serving in nearly 30 Air Force specialties. They have a rigorous schedule, performing hour-long demos across the United States nearly 30 weekends between March and November.
“The Daytona 500 is more than a precisely timed flyover for us,” said Lt. Col. Justin Elliott, Thunderbirds commander and leader. “This marks the start of our show season and showcases the hard work and dedication of the entire squadron. Although we never stop practicing to improve the demo, we are excited to start showcasing our efforts.
“We are grateful to Speedway and the community for their continued support and the opportunity to showcase the pride, precision, and professionalism of the Air Force.”
Since the unit’s inception in 1953, more than 400 million people in all 50 states and more than 60 countries have witnessed the distinctive red, white and blue jets in thousands of official aerial demonstrations.
For a select group of Thunderbird team members, the DAYTONA 500 will be in familiar surroundings as they hail from Florida:
- Major Zane Taylor, Thunderbird 4 – Slot Pilot, is from Orlando, Florida.
- Maintenance Production Superintendent MSgt Sean Sirico hails from Spring Hill, Florida.
- Electrical and Environmental Systems Technician TSgt Ryan Leon is originally from Hialeah, Florida.
- TSgt Paton Holmes, Line Cone, is from Islamorada, Florida.
- TSgt Seth McKinney, Egress Section Chief, is from Tampa, Florida.
- SSgt Alec Atkinson, team leader, is from Lake Wales, Florida.
- Aircrew Flight Equipment Specialist SSgt Diana Quijada is from Tallahassee, Fla.
- SSgt Brandon Murdagh, Quality Assurance Technician, hails from Orange Park, Florida.
- SSgt Joshua Echevarria, dedicated team leader #6, hails from Sunrise, Florida.
- Aircraft Maintenance Phase Technician SSgt Ryan Burns is a native of Pensacola, Florida.
For more information on the 2022 DAYTONA 500 and all Speedweeks presented by AdventHealth events, which begin Wednesday, February 16 with DAYTONA 500 Qualifiers presented by Busch Light under the lights, fans can visit www.DAYTONA500.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, plus the all-new NASCAR Tracks app, for the latest speedway news.
About the United States Air Force Thunderbirds
The official mission of the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron is to plan and demonstrate precision aerial maneuvers to show the capabilities of modern, capable aircraft and demonstrate the high degree of professional skill required to operate such aircraft. The missions, objectives and goals of the Thunderbirds can be summed up in one word: ambassadors. The team is a group of roving Air Force spokespeople, demonstrating a clear example of American airpower. Performing in public places tells the story of the Air Force, often to members of communities that have little interaction with the U.S. military.
About Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway is a state-of-the-art motorsports facility and received SportsBusiness Journal’s prestigious Sports Business Award for Sports Facility of the Year in 2016. Daytona International Speedway is home to the Great American Race – the DAYTONA 500. Although the NASCAR Cup Series season-opening event attracts the most attention – as well as the biggest audience in motorsport – the approximately 500-acre motorsports complex, also known as the name of World Center of Racing, offers the most diverse racing calendar in the world. In addition to at least nine major event weekends, the grounds of the Speedway are also used extensively for events such as concerts, civic and social gatherings, car shows, photo shoots, vehicle test drives, production and training of police motorcycles. The iconic venue will be the site of a host of motorsports events in early 2022, starting with the AHRMA Classic Motofest and Rolex 24 At DAYTONA in January, and the 64th DAYTONA 500, which will launch the first race at NASCAR’s “Next Gen” points. car as part of Speedweeks presented by AdventHealth in February. The rich tradition of the 81st Annual DAYTONA Bike Week returns in March, with DAYTONA Supercross and the DAYTONA 200, and in May with the Heroes Honor Festival. Later in the summer, during Independence Day weekend, the track, in association with Torneos, will host Soccer Fest before the NASCAR Cup Series returns for the final race of the regular season with the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on August 27.