Jay Turner returns to ‘The Bend’ 11 years after inaugural race victory
Nitro Jam Media
Jul 13, 2011
Do you remember what you were doing exactly 11 years ago?
Jay Turner does. He was visiting victory lane atop his noble steed – a nitro-gulping, 2,000 horsepower Nitro Harley Davidson.
“It was a rainy weekend,” recalls Jay Turner of the first Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals ever held at the Grand Bend Motorplex in Ontario. “But nothing could slow us down. We were determined to win that thing and sure enough we came away with the win.”
And that wasn’t all.
“I remember the enthusiasm of the fans. The crowd there was nuts,” Turner said. “I remember that the weather was bad almost all weekend, but the fans kept coming in. We packed the place. There was nothing that could deter those fans.”
How some things never change.
This weekend will mark the 11th annual Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals at “The Bend” and those same diehard fans that couldn’t be slowed down in 2000 will be back once again to take part in one of the biggest motorsports events in all of Canada this Saturday and Sunday at the Grand Bend Motorplex in southwestern Ontario.
And among the four nitro-burning classes that will be in action this weekend, among the hundreds of sportsman racers and the screaming Pro Mods that will fill the lanes for two days will be Turner, back competing at Grand Bend under the IHRA Nitro Jam banner for the first time since 2002. And Turner hopes that, minus the weather, history will repeat itself once again.
“We are looking forward to going up there and competing this weekend. We love going to Canada. We have had a lot of success up there and we hope to continue that trend this weekend,” said Turner, a native of Julian, N.C.
Turner enters this weekend’s event right in the thick of the hunt for the Nitro Jam Nitro Harley title and is coming off of a huge victory at Canada’s other major IHRA event in Edmonton.
Just last month in Alberta Turner bested a field of nearly a dozen of western Canada’s best Nitro Harley competitors and came away victorious, downing season-long rival Steve Dorn in the final. As the only two non-Canadians to be in competition in the Nitro Harley class in Edmonton, Dorn qualified first on the charts and Turner was just behind as the two dominated the field all weekend long.
And when the two finally met in the final it was Turner claiming his season-best fourth win of the year in a close one over Dorn.
“It felt great to go up there and win another race. The weather wasn’t great, but the fans were supportive and we had a great time,” Turner said. “Racing Dorn was our plan all along. We really wanted to race him in the final and sure enough we did our job and ended up putting on a great show for the fans.
“Steve is a hell of a racer and a good friend. It was a long haul for us, but to come out of there with a win made the trip home that much sweeter. Now we will see if we can do it again in Grand Bend.”
Joining Turner and Dorn in the 220 mile per hour chess match known as Nitro Harley racing will be Randal Andras and Nitro Jam newcomer Mike Pelrine who will be filling in for Mike Scott for the final two Nitro Jam events of the year.
And while Turner hopes that history is on his side once again this weekend, he says more than anything he hopes to put on another great show as he and his fellow daredevils put it all on the line in the name of great competition and even greater entertainment.
“It is a little bit of a different feel racing under the Nitro Jam format as opposed to qualified racing,” Turner said. “It is actually a lot more stressful for me because I have to get down the track each and every pass to have a shot at winning and I am also trying to put on a good show for the fans. It is an interesting balance, but that is why we do it. It is a blast and we wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
The Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals take place this Saturday and Sunday at the Grand Bend Motorplex in Ontario.