On Wednesday, NASCAR Cup Series rookies Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick flew with the world-renowned United States Air Force Thunderbirds.
In 2020, both Custer and Reddick are embarking on their rookie NASCAR Cup Series campaigns beginning with Sunday’s 62nd annual DAYTONA 500. Custer will drive the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing while Reddick will be wheeling the No. 8 Caterpillar Chevrolet Camaro. Custer and Reddick make up a talented 2020 rookie class that also includes Christopher Bell, John Hunter Nemechek, Quin Houff and Brennan Poole.
The USAF Thunderbirds will perform the flyover for the DAYTONA 500 for the 11th year. The Thunderbirds flyover will feature six F-16 Fighting Falcons, the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter aircraft.
The flight demonstration team is made up of Lt. Col. John Caldwell, Thunderbird No. 1, Thunderbird commander and lead pilot; Maj. Trevor Aldridge, Thunderbird No. 2, Left Wing pilot; Capt. Michael Brewer, Thunderbird No. 3, Right Wing pilot; Maj. Zane Taylor, Thunderbird No. 4, Slot Pilot; Maj. Michelle Curran, Thunderbird No. 5, Lead Solo; and Capt. Kyle Oliver, Thunderbird No. 6, Opposing Solo.
Four members of the team have strong Central Florida ties. Both Caldwell and Taylor are natives of Orlando and Brewer and Lt Col Kevin DiFalco, Thunderbird No. 7, Director of Operations, are graduates of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which is next door to Daytona International Speedway.