The aerial populism of Depression-era America shaped air racing in the 1930s. Self-reliant individuals took readily available technologies and fielded air racers to achieve fame and fortune. The National Air Races found a consistent home at Cleveland, Ohio, but other major American cities also hosted them.
The two marquee events of the National Air Races were the Thompson Trophy closed-course race and the Bendix Trophy transcontinental race. A new generation of daredevil pilots joined Jimmy Doolittle to make air racing and speed an increasingly popular aspect of American culture.