Bay Area Jet Team Takes to the Skies for NASCAR Weekend in Sonoma

Tuesday, Jun 21 1852

Race fans will be treated to the best air show on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday, June 26.

The Patriots Jet Demonstration Team, the nation’s only civilian aerobatic jet team, will highlight the festivities for a sixth consecutive year with gloss black Aero L-39 Albatros jets and signature red, white and blue smoke trails.

The Patriots, based in Bryon in East Contra Costa County, will utilize four of these jets in the show on Sunday of NASCAR weekend. You can catch their electrifying 25-minute show in the skies above the raceway at 10:50 a.m. (PST).

Race fans will witness maneuvers such as the Diamond Loop and Roll, the Opposing Knife Edge Pass and a maneuver usually reserved for propeller aircraft, the Tail Slide. The Patriots are the only jet team to perform the Tail Slide, where the jet will stand on its tail and fly skyward until running out of airspeed so that it falls tail-first through its own smoke trail.  The jets were developed in the Czech Republic for military use and can reach speeds in excess of 500 miles per hour.

The Patriots are owned by Discovery Bay resident Randy Howell.  Howell flew for United Airlines for 25 years and had 10 years of air show and Reno Air Racing experience before cancer grounded him (he is in remission).

The team features several pilots led by lead pilot Dean “Wilbur” Wright, a Grass Valley native and 20-year Air Force veteran who served as a fighter pilot and toured with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.

The Patriots are sponsored by and Hot Line Construction and take part in about 12 shows each year across the country. For information, visit

Infineon Raceway PR