Daytona International Speedway did not have a flyover for the Rolex 24 nor the 150-mile qualifying races. Ever wonder why there wasn’t one? There wasn’t one for the NASCAR Nationwide race either, which came to me as kind of unusual for one of the biggest races of the 2013 season at Daytona International Speedway, but did have the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds for the Daytona 500 (scheduled) and present the day before for the media.
Automatic budget cuts known as “sequestration” came upon the military across the board starting on March 1st suspending all Air Force flyovers immediately – with the exception of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Aerial Demonstration Team (F-16 Fighting Falcons).
According to Wendy Varhegyi, the chief of the engagement division for Air Force public affairs, the suspension of flyovers are due to Military spending cuts of 30 percent which have forced the Air Force to trim flying hours by 18%. The cuts are coming mainly from air shows and flyovers. This would include all sports, not just NASCAR, through the end of the fiscal year – September 30, 2013.
Luke Air Force Base (AZ) was not allowed to provide a flyover for tomorrow’s (Sunday, March 3rd) Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. As the sequestration kicks in, base officials announced today that Luke’s 2013 Open House and Air Show, “Storm on the Horizon,” originally scheduled for March 16th-17th, has been canceled.
However, race fans will still see a flyover on Sunday, but thanks to a private company that provided Phoenix International Raceway with a B-17 Flying Fortress for the flyover, which is not a part of Air Force inventory. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been locked into an agreement with Nellis Air Force Base for its March 10th Cup event. But as of April 1st, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will be grounded.
Source: Luke AFB, Google, ESPN.com