Historic T-28 Trojan Aircraft to Perform Flyover at Talladega Superspeedway; Part of a Special Military Tribute for Aaron’s 499
TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega Superspeedway will be celebrating the United States Military in a big way on May 4 for the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. At the end of the race, the previously-announced “Freedom Trophy” will be awarded to the race’s winner by the members of the military. But before the green flag waves, fans in the stands will receive a historic symbol of patriotism high above the track in the beautiful blue sky.
Two combat veteran T-28 Trojan aircraft, accompanied by a C-45-Expeditor from the Hixson Museum of Flight, Chattanooga’s Aviation Museum (TN), will soar above Talladega Superspeedway near the conclusion of the National Anthem to the roar of thousands of fans at NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track.
The T-28 Trojans (Alpha and Bravo) served in Vietnam and the C45-H Expeditor saw service in Korea and Japan. All three aircraft tell a story. One such story from the T-28A Trojan includes being sold by the US Navy to Honduras for only one dollar in 1969 and shortly thereafter downing an El Salvadorian P-51 during the 100-Hour War between Honduras and El Salvador. The three aircraft can now be seen up close at the Hixson Museum of Flight located in the suburban community of Hixson, TN.
Lt. Col. Peyton “X Man” Dehart and Pete “Wheeler” O’Hare, who both served in Vietnam, will pilot the aircraft, which were used by the United States Air Force and United States Navy beginning in the 1950s. The T-28 was successfully employed as a counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft, primarily during the Vietnam War. They were produced from 1950-58 and retired in 1994.
“Our great fans have a long and storied history of being fiercely patriotic, and on race day for the Aaron’s 499, that feeling of patriotism will be in overdrive,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch. “These aircraft helped protect our nation, and you can actually see the patched bullet holes on the Bravo. To think about the flyover along with the Freedom Trophy, it gives me goose bumps.”
The special Freedom Trophy being awarded after the race showcases all five branches of the United States military – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Major Johnny “JT” Taylor II from Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL will be on hand to present the trophy to the race winner in the Victory Lane. He will also participate in the pre-race ceremonies. The Freedom Trophy will become an annual tradition awarded to each Sprint Cup Series winner at Talladega. Each race weekend, a different United States military base will be given the opportunity to present the patriotic award.
The most competitive racing in NASCAR combined with a mix of southern hospitality returns to Talladega Superspeedway May 2-4 for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend. Experience the excitement as the superstars of NASCAR attempt to tackle the high-banks of ‘DEGA at 200 mph. Secure your tickets at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or by calling 877-Go2-DEGA. Many ticket packages are available. This is more than a race…This is Talladega!
About The Hixson Museum of Flight
The Hixson Museum of Flight is a non-profit organization that relies solely on donations for support. The Museum is dedicated to raising awareness of aviation and the important role it has played in shaping our nation's history. Since the museums inception on June 1, 2010, it has restored to flight 4 historically significant aircraft while raising $18,000.00 for the local children’s hospital. The museum has plans to work on 3 other aircraft that have significantly impacted the history of the United States.