Dago Red Claim Fifth Straight Title

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Skip Holm of Calabasas, Calif., clocked an average speed of 488 mph to take Dago Red to its fifth straight title at the Reno National Championship Air Races.

The P-51 Mustang took an early lead Sunday and never looked back, beating out Reno-based Rare Bear in the Unlimited Gold Class.

Rare Bear pilot John Penney of Evergreen, Colo., had an eight-lap speed of 484 mph, and came in just four seconds behind the winner.

Third place went to Tom Dwelle of Auburn, Calif., who finished 19 seconds behind the leader.

"I just wanted to keep the Bear back there," Holm told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "I slowed, but knew we had a couple of laps to go. I could have come up on the power again to finish."

Penney expressed disappointment.

"I lost power out there. It would have been a much tighter race," he said.

The win was the fifth straight for Dago Red, a modified P-51 Mustang, and the sixth since it first appeared at Reno in 1982.

The other Gold winners were Gary Hubler of Caldwell, Idaho, in Mariah, Formula One; David Rose of La Jolla, Calif., in Frightful, Biplane; Darryl Greenamyer of Las Vegas, Sport; Nick Macy of Tulelake, Calif., in Six Cat, T-6; and Mary Dilda of Memphis, Tenn., Jets.

There was only one accident in the last of four days of racing at Reno Stead Airport. Immediately after taking the green flag in the Sport championship, Rose's No. 3 racer began trailing smoke.

The plane flipped after running off the runway, but Rose was not injured.

Mike Houghton of the Reno Air Racing Association estimated 210,000 people attended the week-long event.