The paint scheme is inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen’s P-51 Mustang used during World War II. The iconic red tail and the red and yellow stripes on the nose of the aircraft are prominent on the cars.
Air Force Recruiting Service and their partners at Richard Petty Motorsports and Ed Carpenter Racing, introduced their newest paint scheme Apr. 20, which pays homage to the original trailblazers, the Tuskegee Airmen. The red tails, yellow stripes, and star emblem aren’t just a visual cue, but a reminder great things can happen when we celebrate our differences.
“Our partnerships with Richard Petty Motorsports and Ed Carpenter Racing provide the Air Force with platforms to reach large audiences” said Maj. Jason Wyche, Air Force Recruiting Service National Events branch chief in the article by Master Sgt. Chance Babin, Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs, Air Force Recruiting unveils Tuskegee Airmen paint scheme for Indy 500, NASCAR races. “We’re excited to leverage these platforms to pay tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen. It’s more than just a paint scheme; it’s an incredible opportunity to educate millions on the history behind the Red Tails. We hope individuals find inspiration from the Tuskegee Airmen and their story.”
The legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen was born in Montgomery, Alabama, when the Tuskegee Institute’s application to conduct civilian pilot training was approved by the Civil Aeronautics Administration in autumn of 1939.
About one year later President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration announced the Army Air Corps would begin training black military pilots.
Pilots, navigators, maintainers, bombardiers, instructors and support staff all trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 15,000 sorties during World War II in Europe and North Africa.
It is well documented that US WWII bomber pilots would look out their windows and gain confidence from Red Tail fighters flying beside them. It has been stated they took comfort in knowing their chances for survival were higher with a Red Tail escort than from any other outfit in 12th and 15th Air Force.
The paint scheme is inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen’s P-51 Mustang used during World War II. The iconic red tail and the red and yellow stripes on the nose of the aircraft are prominent on the cars. The paint scheme has made its track debut this season first at NASCAR’s 2021 Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Florida, Apr. 25 while its debut at Indy 500 will be at the 105th Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana, May 30.
The Air Force has been a partner with ECR since 2020 and involved with INDYCAR since 2018.
“I am continually honored and humbled that Ed Carpenter Racing is able to represent the U.S. Air Force and assist in the mission of recruiting our next generation of Airmen,” said Ed Carpenter, ECR team owner. “While looking to the future, we also recognize the importance of paying tribute to the history of the U.S. Air Force during Memorial Day weekend. This year, we celebrate the Tuskegee Airmen, trailblazers from World War II. The design of Conor Daly’s No. 47 Chevrolet for the Indianapolis 500 draws inspiration from their aircraft, nicknamed Red Tails.”
The Air Force has been a partner of RPM since 2009 and involved with NASCAR since 2000. “I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the Tuskegee Airmen, and the important role they played in both the United States Air Force and our country’s history,” said Erik Jones, driver of the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 car. “It is an honor to partner with the United States Air Force to pay tribute to these brave Airmen through the Red Tail-inspired paint scheme.” Additionally, NASCAR will also run the Tuskegee Airmen Red Tail paint scheme at the Bristol, Tennessee race Sept. 18.
Photo credit: Youtube / Palm Springs Air Museum