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John Parker

Race # 352

Thunder Mustang – “Blue Thunder II”



Three-time Formula One Champion, John Parker, has dedicated his life to air racing, much to the chagrin of his wife Jan. They make their home together in Reno, Nevada.

After John was placed on reserve status from the Air Force in 1965 he joined American Airlines. Soon John found himself building engines for Formula One race teams, working as a mechanic at the air races, and assisting racers as a “Speed Merchant”. John’s passion for air racing quickly turned into a business, and in 1967 John founded American Air Racing.

American Air Racing has evolved over the years to include aircraft and equipment leasing and technology development. But the main focus of American Air Racing is to offer complete builder support and to perform speed modifications for kit-built aircraft. John and American Air Racing are dedicated to the development, improvement, and building of Thunder Mustangs, and also specialize in Glasairs and Lancairs.

Winning his first Reno Formula One Championship in 1977, John continued to add to his trophy case with championship victories in 1978 and 1980. His scratch-built Formula One racer, American Air Racing Special, now resides in the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. John placed second in the original CAFÉ 250 and won the CAFÉ 400 in the twin-engine division in 1983. In 1988 John was the third person to enter a scratch-built aircraft in the Unlimited Division at Reno. John placed fourth in the inaugural Sport Division Gold final at Reno in 1998 in his kit-built Glasair, race 300. The past years have seen John campaign his Thunder Mustang, Blue Thunder, in a relentless search for increased performance. With John at the controls, Blue Thunder captured second place in the Sport Division Gold final in its first year of racing.

The American Air Racing team supports and participates in Sport Racing to demonstrate its sponsor’s products, such as Hartzell Propellers and Snap-on Tools, in a real world environment. Through racing, American Air Racing is able to display its capabilities to the sport aviation community. American Air Racing is committed to promoting enthusiasm and interest for the sport of air racing.

From a humble beginning, John has become an air racing icon. For John Parker, air racing is not a sport; it is a way of life.