After his narrow defeat in the 1947 Bendix at the hands of Paul Mantz in a P-51C Joe DeBona knew that he would have to acquire a similar Mustang if he was to beat the veteran Hollywood stunt pilot and Bendix Trophy competitor. For the 1948 Bendix DeBona was able to acquire such an aircraft. DeBona ran out of fuel in the 1948 race, but his fortunes turned and won the 1949 Bendix race.