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Chambliss has a shot at Red Bull titleChambliss has a shot at Red Bull title

American Kirby Chambliss is one of four Red Bull Air Race World Championship pilots who will fly in Indianapolis Oct. 14 and 15 with a chance to win the season title, though the Texas native needs some luck. AOPA is throwing a party, and members can still get discounted tickets to the season finale.

Kirby Chambliss celebrates after winning the Red Bull Air Race World Championship race in Kazan, Russia on July 23. Photo by Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool.

On the strength of two race wins in what has proved a bounce-back year for the two-time champion, Chambliss enters the season’s final weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with 52 points and an outside chance: He must finish no worse than second, and also get help from the three pilots ahead, according to Red Bull's calculations.

Championship leader Martin Sonka (63 points), Yoshi Muroya (59 points), and Pete McLeod (56 points) are all ahead of Chambliss, and none of these top contenders can set foot on the podium if Chambliss is to steal the title. While unlikely, such a scenario is far from impossible in a series where one small mistake (clipping a gate or exceeding maximum G, for example) is all it takes to go from first to worst.

AOPA returns to the world-famous venue to once again host the AOPA Brickyard Bash, held following qualifying runs Oct. 14 at the Indianapolis Raceway Panasonic Pagoda and Yard of Bricks, with live music from the award-winning Chris Weaver Band, food and drinks, and more. AOPA also will set up an Engagement Zone pavilion with activities for all ages (including a drone cage) overlooking Turn 4. Details and tickets are available online.

Many AOPA pilots will be rooting for Chambliss, along with fellow Red Bull Air Race pilot (and AOPA ambassador) Mike Goulian, who put the word out on social media that team Goulian aims to finish strong, even if the season title is out of reach. A strong finish by Goulian could certainly help Chambliss by pushing other contenders down the points ladder.

“Indy is amazing. It’s the home to America’s premier motor-sporting event,” Goulian said in an Oct. 12 social media post from the team. “The Indy 500 is one of the events I have on my schedule and make a point to watch. It’s epic; and for me, to race over the same grounds feels nothing short of that, too. It means a lot to me and the team to be here flying the season finale.”

The series made a stop at the iconic track in 2016, though that was the penultimate race rather than the finale. This time around, there is no doubt going into the final race weekend that one pilot will claim the title over the Yard of Bricks.

NBC Sports will broadcast the finals on tape delay at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Oct. 15, and results will be posted in real time by Red Bull.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Editor-Web
Editor-Web Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
Topics: AOPA Events, Air Racing

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