Indiana Fever

Red Bull Air Race pilot Chambliss takes Fever legend Catchings into sky

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) – “My heart is beating fast,” said Tamika Catchings. “My heart is beating really fast right now.”

Your heart would be beating really fast, too, if you were about to take off in a Red Bull Air Race Indianapolis. The race will be Oct. 6-7 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race debuted in 2016 at the track.

Catchings, an Indiana Fever basketball legend who now works for Pacers Sports & Entertainment, agreed to the task at hand but partially blamed Pacers guard Victor Oladipo. He drove the pace car at this year’s Indianapolis 500. 

Cathcing said, “Aw, man, I just love going fast. We were talking about Victor in the car. I was like ‘Aw, man.’ He was like he’s nervous and this and that. I said, ‘I’d get in that car and kill it.'” 

With American aerobatic pilot Kirby Chambliss in charge, Catchings went into preparation mode for the ride in the sky.

“I only ate an apple this morning and drank lots of water. Did my work out this morning at 5 so I think I’m prepared. It’s different nerves. With a basketball game, once the ball goes up, it’s game time. This is different because, when the plane goes up, that’s when the nerves start,” Catchings said.

Chambliss said, “The fear of the unknown because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You’re being tossed around. You’re going, ‘Oh, my God.’ The airplane is spinning and doing different things. But if you think about it as the ultimate roller-coaster ride and you like roller coasters, then you’re going to love it.” 

Upon landing, Catching debriefed us on her journey.

“I think I saw heaven. Did you see it? You didn’t see heaven? Oh. I did. I could see it beyond the sun,” Catchings said.

But will she ever do it again?

“Never say never,” Catchings said.

One thing’s for sure. Tamika will never forget this experience.