54th annual National Championship Air Races comes to a close

RENO, Nev (KOLO) -- The 54th annual "National Championship Air Races" wrapped up September 17, 2017.

"It's an amazing event you will see nowhere else," said David Medders, Air Racing fan.

The “Unlimited Gold Race” closed out the “2017 National Championship Air Races.” The planes flew around 500MPH and thousands of people watched James Consalvi take home the win.

"It's great! So much people, everyone is stoked and I'm glad we were able to give them a good race," said Consalvi, winner of the Unlimited Gold Race.

Even though organizers don't have the official numbers, they say attendance this year has been very similar to the last couple years.
They were expecting around 100,000 people for the five-day event. The event also helps the local economy; organizers say the 2016 event generated nearly $92 million for the region.

"It's just has been incredible. It has been a wonderful week," said Tony Logoteta, Chief Operating Officer of National Championship Air Races.

This year the organizers included a handful of new events like Drone Racing. The core audience is 40 to 65 years old and the drone event is an attempt to broaden the audience.

"We want to keep pushing that and keep bringing a young crowd in that really likes that," said Logoteta.

"It doesn't do much for me, but I know other people probably would appreciate it," said Medders.

But overall, air race lovers just enjoy the authenticity of the event.

"I'm a pilot; we are surrounded by pilots. We like the competition, we like the engineering. We like the spirit of the event," said Medders.

This year saw more unlimited racers, 18. That is seven more than the year before.