2017 Nitro Revival at Barona Drag Strip. Photo by Pam Conrad, courtesy Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
In 2017, a new event honoring vintage dragsters and the racers who piloted them came to the Barona Drag Strip in Lakeside, California. Now in its sophomore year, the Nitro Revival cacklefest is picking up stakes and moving to Northern California, where it will become part of the Spring Classic at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, taking place from May 18-20.
The feature events of this year’s Nitro Revival happen on Saturday, May 19, and, while there won’t be any actual drag racing–since the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca circuit lacks a drag strip–there will be plenty of front-engine Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars on display, some getting push starts from vintage support vehicles. Even without the exhibition runs that spectators enjoyed during the 2017 Nitro Revival, there’s likely to be burnouts aplenty, topped by the “Line of Fire” mass start-up, which caps the event with the sound of dozens of nitro fuelers running simultaneously.
Like the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion that takes place each August at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca–soon to be just Laguna Seca–the Spring Classic brings in vintage racers from around the country for three days of on-track action from 11 different run groups and roughly 200 vehicles. Adding the Nitro Revival, which is also expected to include a large turnout of street rods, customs, and hot rods, further broadens the appeal of the Spring Classic.
The producer of the Nitro Revival, Steve Gibbs, viewed the move as a necessary one to permit the event’s expansion. “Nitro Revival is a unique car show with unique vehicles that celebrate drag racing,” Gibbs said. “Laguna Seca is an iconic place with a facility that can accommodate the growth of Nitro Revival, and we are able to add a historical drag-race element to their event. There is a lot of drag-racing history on the Central Coast and Bay Area. Monterey also has a lot to offer as a destination.”
Gill Campbell, senior vice president of events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, described the expanded Spring Classic in two words: sensory overload. “There will be something to enjoy for all ages,” Campbell remarked, “from sports and Formula One race cars to historic motorcycles to the high-powered drag racers.”