Honored to fly with Blue Angels
So many amazing things have happened with just a couple weeks off in between races. I took a flight at speeds over 700 miles per hour, which is twice the g-forces and speed that I’m used to in a Funny Car. I was also recognized as rookie of the year by one of the most valued magazines. Great things have happened and it’s just the start of the 2013 race season!
I was named RACER magazine’s rookie of the year, which is such an amazing honor. I am the first person to win this award from the NHRA, which makes it that much sweeter. Being considered with top NASCAR, Indy Car and F1 drivers was an honor in itself. I’m so proud of my Traxxas team and everything we had accomplished my rookie season and am so excited we stood out with the NHRA and are getting recognition. It’s unbelievable.
This week I got to go even faster than my 300 mph Funny Car by getting the chance to take a ride with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels! The Auto Club of Southern California set up this amazing opportunity and I’m thankful that I took it. I have met U.S. Navy service people at drag races and they somehow convinced me to take a flight, even though I told them I was terrified. I might drive a 300 mph race car, but I like it to stay on the ground, driving in a straight line, unlike what they do in an F18 jet!
When we took off we immediately hit 6.1 G’s vertically and throughout my hour-long flight in the Blue Angel No. 7 we hit speeds over 700 mph and 7.3 G’s along with breaking the sound barrier and going Mach 1, which was crazy! Although I passed out for a second at one point on the flight, it will forever be a great story.
After flying with them, I’m wondering how my next trip down the racetrack in my Funny Car is going to feel in Gainesville, Fla. I will be pulling a “weak” 3 or 4 G’s off the starting line after the flight.
This was a chance of a lifetime, and more importantly, it really made me appreciate the talent and hard work of the Blue Angels and the U.S. Navy. Our U.S. armed forces make sacrifices for us to have our freedom. It’s always great to take a moment to appreciate those in the U.S. armed forces fighting for our country, so a huge thanks goes out to them and all they do for us! I will never forget my experience flying with the Blue Angels and a big thanks to my pilot, Lt. Ryan Chamberlain!
I’m very fortunate to have been given this opportunity and to be recognized as RACER magazine’s rookie of the year. I can’t wait to see what my team can accomplish throughout the rest of the 2013 NHRA season!