There is room for improvement, especially in early racer parking for the event. I understand the bind the track is in to keep backed up traffic off of Highway 190. I just hope they can come up with a better arrangement next year.
Only having participated in two other national events, that does not make me an expert. I was very happy with the event format which put the “Sportsman Racer” at the top of the race activities and allowed us to get in some good time trials on Saturday. Some racers were not happy with the IHRA decision to give an extra time trial on Saturday, rather than complete round one of eliminations on Saturday. I have not been told, but I think that was due to the low car count, especially in the ET brackets.
I think we saw one of the many effects of the poor national economy. Low car count.
On the other hand, I have never seen so many spectators at a drag racing event in this area. Saturday was awesome!
The show was nice, the Drew Brees Mardi Gras float was almost a disaster when it broke down. It was a nice touch to start all the Nitro cars and let the crowd hear the noise. The Fan Fest was also a nice addition, making all the professional racers available to talk and sign autographs.
The professional format was…, different. I am not use to seeing Top Sportsman being heads-up. This way is more fan friendly and much easier for the fan to understand.
Having winners in each professional, Top Sportsman and Pro-Mod class each night is a nice touch. I would love to know what the professionals think about the pressure to perform well on the first run.
There is no limping into the next round. You are either #1 or #2. There is no #3. The winners here are going to be the “Biggest” and “Baddest” machines on the strip!
The objective of the professional program was to cut the length of the program (to around 4 hours) and give a good show. If I am not mistaken, they went from 8 cars to two cars in one round. I think both objectives were met.
As a sportsman racer, I liked being able to go into the stands and watch the professionals, pro-mods and Top Sportsman racers. We are normally sitting in the staging lanes waiting and not able to see them run.
IHRA published a run order for sportsman time trials and stuck to it. That was great. They were close (in drag racer time) to their schedule of events. Sunday they shifted ET to 1st position for eliminations. That was not good for those drivers.
The track prep was the best I have seen it at State Capitol. That proved to be my undoing, but I did learn a lot about my cars suspension.
The safety crews, staging lane, water box and starting line crews were great.
I expected to see more racing product vendors at Nitro Jam. One of the big attractions, for me, is to be able to see new equipment, talk to the expert, and to purchase directly from the on site vendors at national events.
There were some little things that were excellent and the credit must go to Lanny Lewis and his organization, along with IHRA. Have you ever seen restroom attendants at a drag strip? That was a nice touch. There were port a-potties all over the place. The extra concession stands were a big help (the prices sucked!). I had no problem with the tech. inspection. All of the IHRA people were very nice, from the credentials people, the parking people, the inspectors, and of course, Mr. Larry Crum-IHRA Manager of Media, who gave me (my car) the “Editors Choice” award!
Congratulations to IHRA, Feld Motorsports, State Capitol Raceway staff, The Lewis Companies and Track Manager, Gary Carter, on a great event!