Rocket racing, as popular as NASCAR?

One of the other events that took place during the day Friday was a press conference where the Rocket Racing League (RRL) unveiled its first X-Racer rocketplane and its name, Thunderhawk. The event got some star power with guest appearances by Buzz Aldrin and Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico:


(Richardson is the second from the left, between Peter Diamandis and RRL’s Granger Whitelaw.) After the announcement, Richardson was asked about how he felt about the RRL, which is setting up shop in New Mexico . To say he was effusive with praise is a minor understatement. “What’s most exciting is the Rocket Racing League,” he said. “You’re going to see, come next year, that Rocket Racing League is going to be as popular as NASCAR.” That’s a little difficult to believe, given both the breadth and depth of interest in NASCAR in the US, but hyperbole comes part and parcel with such events.

Asked if he’d like to take a flight on any rocketplane or suborbital vehicle, he responded, “Yeah, eventually, sure I will. I gotta lose a little weight first.”

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