By Ben Mozart, December 5, 2014
During the past two years IRG Sports Entertainment purchased the International Hot Rod Association, its properties and its drag racing series—the Nitro Jam—from Feld Motorsports. In a sharply focused drive to restore both professional and grassroots quarter-mile drag racing, they purchased five drag racing tracks: Palm Beach International Raceway, Memphis International Raceway, Tucson Southwestern International Raceway, Cordova Dragway Park and two weeks ago they announced their acquisition of Maryland International Raceway at Budd’s Creek Road, Mechanicsville.
Twelve national Nitro Jam events are scheduled for 2015, starting in February in Tucson and ending in October in Memphis. Running on 12 different tracks, including the five they own, they will cross the border to host two national events in Canada, which will include a Top Fuel dragster program. US events will take place on Friday and Saturday while the two Canadian events will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Refreshingly, IHRA’s Nitro Jam initiates competitive drag racing across four or five classes including Nitro Funny Cars, featuring 250-260mph machines; Mountain Motor Pro Stocks; Jet Cars and Nitro Harley Davidson motorcycles, some of which race to 250mph.
For Sportsman racers and sponsors the news is inspiring. Often regarded as an underclass, these stalwarts will receive much deserved promotion. As a result the best Sportsmen campaigners of the weekend will be highlighted by appearing in the Pro classes during the evening races. What a concept—the most agreeable advancement for grassroots drag racers in years!
Furthermore, the welcome return of the Sportsman classes to national event-style drag racing not only introduces prestige to the ranks of Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Super Stock, Stock, Quick Rod, Super Rod and Hot Rod but also pledges increased prize money and contingency.
And for the race fans the best news of all is access to the festivities at affordable ticket prices: $20.
Finally, IHRA is preparing a significant presence at the forthcoming PRI show, Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, Dec 11-13. On Friday morning they will announce the debut of important new sponsors and furnish details of a new class of IHRA racing. See 2015 EventCalendar.