St. Augustine Speedway Top Gun Kicks Off

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA.- Racers from across the state are set to embark on the most exciting automobile racing competition format ever conceived as round one of the 1999 St. Augustine Speedway Top Gun Challenge kicks off this Saturday night, ...

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA.- Racers from across the state are set to embark on the most exciting automobile racing competition format ever conceived as round one of the 1999 St. Augustine Speedway Top Gun Challenge kicks off this Saturday night, Sept. 25. Over the course of the next six weeks drivers will compete against each other in 24 separate on-track events at the St. Augustine oval for the eventual right to face off against each other on Nov. 19 in one final competition, a real, live, honest-to-goodness aerial dogfight in the skies over St. Augustine. "To the best of my knowledge, this is the first competition of this type ever attempted," said speedway General Manager Louis Smith. "We are very fortunate to have partnered with Bruce Moore and the folks at North American Top Gun, Inc. to help make it all possible." "The parallels between the action that takes place out here every Saturday night behind the wheel of these race cars, and what takes place in the cockpit of a fighter plane are enormous. The speed and the power of the machines, coupled with the agility and stamina of the drivers make for a tremendous crossover competition. It sends chills up my spine," says Smith. The dogfight, courtesy of North American Top Gun, Inc. of St. Augustine, will pit the two highest finishing drivers from the on-track portion of the competition against each other in genuine antique AT-6 "Texan" WW II fighter trainers. The specially equipped AT-6's that the drivers will be flying are renowned throughout the aircraft community for their reliability, speed and maneuverability and revered by WW II fighter pilot veterans for their incredible performance characteristics that so closely match the high performance, front line fighter aircraft of that era. The two Top Gun candidates will first undergo an intensive ground school training session on the day of the competition to learn aerial combat techniques and strategies. Then, under the watchful tutelage of the NATG instructor pilots, the combatants take to the air for an hour-long flight to familiarize themselves with the maneuvers and aerobatics required for aerial combat. During the last part of the flight, and firing radar beams instead of bullets from the original .30 cal. cannons, the two competitors will engage each other in an adrenaline-pumping aerial dogfight to determine the ultimate winner. Radar-sensing panels on each aircraft record hits and the eventual kill and one racer-turned-fighter-pilot will return to base as the 1999 Top Gun Champion. The speedway's annual awards banquet will be held on the evening of the inflight competition in the North American Top Gun, Inc. hanger with the warbirds in proximity. The four cameras onboard each aircraft will record the entire event for viewing that night and will no doubt be a highlight of the evening's festivities as the 1999 St. Augustine Speedway Top Gun Champion is crowned. For scoring purposes in this unique competition, the six racing divisions at St. Augustine Speedway have been separated into two tiers. The first tier will be comprised of the Late Model, Snap-On Sportsman and Rick's Muffler Modified divisions, while the second tier will be made up of the Thunder Truck, Hobby Stock and Mini Stock teams. Points will be kept on a handicap basis that will reward drivers for moving up positions during the race and encourage high car counts. The winner of each event will receive three points for the win, drivers finishing second through fifth will receive two points, and a sixth through tenth finish will score one point. As a bonus, any driver can accumulate up to an additional five points per event for moving up through the field on a one-point per position basis. In addition to the inflight competition, the top three finishers in each of the two competitive tiers that have been established by the speedway will receive cash awards for their performances.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR