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Military cuts could limit flyovers The military flyover for Sunday's Daytona 500 may be a rarity at NASCAR events -- and sporting events in general -- moving forward. Military spending cuts of 30 percent have forced the Air Force to trim flying hours by 18%. That will come from air shows, including the Thunderbirds aerobatic flying team that will perform prior to Daytona 500.
Daytona International Speedway did not have its traditional flyover for the Rolex 24, Thursday's 150-mile qualifying races, and one is not planned for Saturday's Nationwide Series race. There is a plan in place if automatic budget cuts known as "sequestration" are triggered on March 1 to suspend all Air Force flyovers immediately except for the Thunderbirds, which will be suspended on April 1.
"If sequestration kicks in, we'll be looking not to support any future NASCAR races," Wendy Varhegyi, the chief of the engagement division for Air Force public affairs, told ESPN.com. Varhegyi said the suspension of flyovers would include all sports "at least through the end of the fiscal year [Sept. 30]."
Luke Air Force was not allowed to provide a flyover for the March 3 Sprint Cup race at Phoenix. Instead, a private company has provided the track a B-17 that is not a part of Air Force inventory. Las Vegas Motor Speedway has an agreement with the Thunderbirds based nearby at Nellis Air Force Base for its March 10 Cup event. But Speedway Motorsports, which hosts 11 other Cup events in addition to the Vegas race, has a "tentative hold" on flyovers.
NASCAR officials said they are working with the military and tracks to find a compromise that will allow flyovers to remain at events. ESPN
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