For Reed, NASCAR Goes West Starts With Over 9 G’s
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds to take Reed for a ride in F-16
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 2, 2016) – Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Reed will kick off NASCAR’s west coast swing with a ride with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds on Thursday at Nellis Air Force Base. The 22-year-old driver will ride in an F-16 Fighting Falcon and could experience a G-force load of nine.
“I’m pretty excited but also pretty nervous,” said Reed. “We experience the effect of G-force in our race cars, but nothing like this. The Thunderbirds are such a highly respected group and I’m so honored to have this opportunity to spend a day in their cockpit.”
The Thunderbirds, who perform flyovers at many NASCAR races including Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will make sure Reed is well-prepared before taking flight. Prior to climbing in the cockpit, Reed will attend briefings with a team of aircrew, a flight surgeon and the pilot of the aircraft. He will leave his firesuit behind and instead be fitted in the Thunderbirds’ flight suit and safety equipment.
The flight, which is schedule to take off around 2:30 p.m. PT, will last for 45 minutes to an hour and could include some of the team’s signature maneuvers, including loops and rolls. In-flight video will capture Reed’s reactions to the high speeds and changes in gravity, much like an in-car camera in his No. 16 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang.
The Thunderbirds squadron has performed in front of more than 280 million people in all 50 states and 57 foreign countries, totaling more than 3,500 aerial demonstrations. The team most recently performed the pre-race flyover for the 2016 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
In addition to their responsibility as the Air Force’s premier jet demonstration squadron, the Thunderbirds are part of the Nellis Air Force Base combat force. If required, the team’s personnel and aircraft can be rapidly integrated into a fighter unit. Because the aircrafts are only slightly modified, they can be made combat-ready in less than 72 hours.
Reed returns to the cockpit of his No. 16 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang in the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Friday, March 4 for two practice sessions. Prior to taking to the track, Ryan and his Roush Fenway Racing teammates will sign autographs for fans on Friday at 9 a.m. PT at the Fanatics Trackside Superstore at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Be sure to follow @Reed16Team and @driverryanreed on Twitter to witness Reed take the ride of a lifetime high above the Las Vegas strip.