Sunday, April 19, 2015

Southern Nitro Jam! Hell On Wheels Bradenton, Florida

Yeah Baby!  Shake, Rattle & Roll

I am making this the theme for  Nitro Jam, one of the most fun and unusual events you might see on a Saturday night in the Tampa Bay area. The event comes around once a year and you don't want to miss it.  Put it on your calendar now for next year because if you are reading this blog, it is over until 2016. The event was held on April 18th.

I will attempt to convey in pictures and words what you missed:

It was Saturday afternoon; I headed south out of St. Pete to Bradenton Motorsports Park on Rt 64.  I was less than an hour south of the Skyway bridge but I was rolling back a few decades to the time when outdoor sports was affordable and fun for the whole family. After exiting Interstate 75 to Rt 64, the road gradually exited civilization. Four lanes became two and the houses become fewer and the number of cow and horse sightings increased.  I thought I was back in Upstate New York farm country where I grew up.  I liked it.

  After going only about 10 miles I spotted some flags and  some cars -I pulled into a large field and had a bit of a hike to the gate, but along that walk my mind was going back to the days when my college roommate and I went to Butler Speedway in Upstate New York to see how fast his canary yellow Boss 302  Mustang would run the quarter mile. Everything looked the same as if I were there.

 On my way to the gate I could sense the friendly atmosphere and smell the grilling of brats and hamburgers. I knew this was going to be good as I approached the ticket booth listening to fuel dragsters fire up in each team's makeshift garage area along the open fields lining the drag strip.  Smell the exhaust?  Yep, some of that is Nitro - feel the ground shake- yep that's what Calvary sized HP ratings do.  Wanna see them belch fire and hiss fumes out the bleed valves?- for sure!

   It was almost by accident that I was here because I attended last year on a whim as a last minute, oh what the heck, kind of decision after reading about some jet powered dragsters from Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University piloted by four young women.  The last jet powered dragster I saw (And the only other one I'd seen)  was driven by Rocket Rod Phelps back about 25 years ago while living in New York.  I was not going to miss this, so my first exposure to Nitro Jam made me a believer and I will always go to see it when  it comes to Bradenton Motorsports Park.

So here is a sample of what went on there. If you want to enhance the experience, get a Nitro scented candle, light it and get some headphones with the sound of some car engines and Queen's  `We Will  Rock You' and you will get a small taste of the Nitro Jam Experience.    OH-  I forgot - This year they sent a fire truck with two jet engines!  It did the 1/4 mile at 198 MPH.  Fast ride to the fire, or should I say away from the fire:

                                             A New Meaning To Warming Up The Engine

Waiting For The Call
Getting There Fast
And Here Are The Jets From Embry- Riddle
Mike McIntire, Jr. sets new IHRA Funny Car speed & time record!

And The Winner Is McAttack!
Yes!  It Is Loud

And More Pictures To Enjoy

And The Craziest Guys Out There-  The Nitro Motorcycles

The McEnd!  McRecord Holder!
Hope You Enjoyed It-  Be There Next Year

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