Nitro Jam Countdown #8: Monster Debut
Nitro Jam Media
Dec 7, 2011
While the first two races of the 2011 Nitro Jam season provided plenty of thrills and spills, it wasn’t until the third race of the year when Nitro Jam really turned up the heat.
Not only did the third race of the season mark Nitro Jam’s first ever adventure in the southwest, it marked the debut of the legendary drag racing Grave Digger monster truck and was heralded as the biggest Prostalgia™ Nitro Funny Car meet of the year all at one of the most famed facilities in drag racing.
The Arizona Nitro Jam at Southwestern International Raceway in Tucson made Nitro Jam history as the series, primarily based in the east, brought its nitro show to the southwest to great fanfare with four popular nitro classes plus the debut of Grave Digger taking on the 30,000 horsepower Shockwave jet semi.
Grave Digger put on a “monster” of a show with halftrack burnouts on giant slicks and had a great race against the equally impressive Shockwave jet semi. While Grave Digger driver Randy Brown showed his newness to the sport on opening night, losing in spectacular fashion to Shockwave, Brown roared back on night two with his first drag racing win.
In addition, Arizona race fans also saw four incredible nitro classes take to the famed quarter-mile including Top Fuel, Prostalgia™ Nitro Funny Car, Nitro Harley and Nostalgia Fuel Altered.
Bobby Lagana Jr. and Chris Bennett swept the Top Fuel and Fuel Altered classes respectively, while Mike Scott and Steve Dorn split in Nitro Harley. But the biggest storyline of the weekend was the Southwest Showdown featuring eight of the quickest and fastest nostalgia funny cars in the country.
Featuring east coast greats Peter Gallen and Mike McIntire taking on the best of the west including James Day in “War Eagle”, “Mr. Explosive” Mark Sanders, Tim Boychuk in “Troy Lee Designs”, Mike Savage in “Candies and Hughes” and more, the huge showdown in Arizona certainly lived up to the billing.
On opening night it was James Day in “War Eagle” taking the win over Mike Savage’s “Candies and Hughes” machine, while the second night of racing saw eventual series champion Peter Gallen drive the “Poverty Stricken” Vega to a win over fellow east coast native Mike McIntire in the “McAttack” Camaro.
Gallen, who ventured west for the first time in his nitro racing career, posted the top elapsed time and speed for the weekend against some of the top names in the sport.
The trip to Arizona opened up a world of opportunity for the series as thousands of fans that had never witnessed the excitement of Nitro Jam were given an option in their drag racing. The trip also played a critical role in the eventual announcement of the IHRA’s new Division 7 based in the west as the IHRA continues to grow its sportsman program beyond its traditional boundaries.
With a return trip to Tucson on the schedule again for 2012 and a new division in the works, it is certainly an exciting time to be a part of the IHRA. And to think, it all began with an experimental trip to Tucson in March of this year.
*Throughout the month of December we will be counting down the top 10 moments from the 2011 Nitro Jam season. Check back often as we celebrate a memorable season of racing and be sure to visit NitroJam.com and become a fan of Nitro Jam on Facebook today to follow all of the action of the fastest show on earth!*
2011 NITRO JAM COUNTDOWN
#10 Fast Fuel
#9 Bennett Bullet