Experience a Vintage Motorsports Celebration Like No Other at Spring Classic Showcasing Nitro Revival May 18-20
Vintage car racing, historic motorcycle exhibitions, drag racing reunion
A festival of vintage motorsports like no other is taking place at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend with the Spring Classic Showcasing Nitro Revival May 18-20.
It is a vintage car race, a historic motorcycle exhibition and display, a drag racing reunion, and a gathering of pre-1973 street rods and customs all rolled into one. Below is a hint at what fans will see when racing worlds collide at the iconic 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course.
Thrilling vintage car racing
The second annual Spring Classic Showcasing Nitro Revival is a vintage car race sanctioned by the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA). Run groups attract cars from the golden eras of several racing series that compete on road courses with emphasis on the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
Few gatherings can boast a race that features roaring Can-Ams, a huge turnout of 2.5L Trans-Ams, Lumina and Thunderbird stock cars once wheeled by NASCAR stars, open-wheel Formula Fords and Formula Atlantic machines, SCCA sports cars, and screaming LMP prototypes all at the same event. In addition to qualifying on Friday and two races each day on Saturday and Saturday, cars from eligible run groups will compete in a one-hour vintage endure starting at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday. Racing begins at 8 a.m. each day.
- 1966-1974 Can-Am
- 1966-1972 Trans-Am 2.5-Liter
- 1974-2007 Stock Cars
- 1967-1979 Formula Atlantic
- 1970-1984 Sports Cars 2-Liter
- 1990-2007 GTP/LMP/WSC/Daytona Prototype/IMSA GTO; 1973-1987 FIA
- SCCA GT & IMSA RS
- 1965-1978 Formula B & 1965-1977 Formula C
- 1967-1980 Formula Ford
- Sports Cars under 2.0 liters
- Historic Motorcycles Exhibition Laps
New to this event is the Nitro Revival gathering of restored front-engine dragsters, altereds, Funny Cars, and the daring men and women who tamed them on quarter-mile drag strips.
Though the machines will be set up in the paddock to be enjoyed throughout the event, special activities at the track are set for Saturday, May 19. The Nitro Revival teams have a dedicated section in the paddock that includes a VIP tent provided by Champion Speed Shop where various drag racing legends will be signing autographs and mingling throughout the day. Static start-ups will happen on an individual basis in the paddock during the day. Push-start demonstrations will take place on hot pit lane at 12:50 p.m.
Fans will want to hang around until the end to witness the “Line of Fire” mass fire-up to close activities from 5:30-6 p.m. where over 40 nitro-burning machines ignite in unison. The powerful machines will ignite the senses as they rumble with fire in the pipes.
Legends of the quarter-mile
32 members of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame are confirmed to attend. Headlining the group of quarter-mile legends is “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, the biggest name in the sport of drag racing. Garlits campaigned his series of self-built Swamp Rat dragsters beginning in the 1950s with multiple wins, championships, records, and innovations that include popularizing the rear-engine dragster in 1971 and winning the championship with a streamlined dragster that now sits in the Smithsonian.
“TV Tommy” Ivo, Ed “the Ace” McCulloch, Mike Dunn, Herm Petersen, Marvin Graham, Jerry “the King” Ruth, Gary Beck, and Shirley Shahan Bridges are just a sample of the other personalities that will join Garlits. Groundbreaker Shahan Bridges, known during her career as “Drag-on Lady,” was the first woman to win a major National Hot Rod Association event in 1965.
Off-site, the hall of famers will gather in Cannery Row on Friday at InterContinental® The Clement Monterey®. The property is hosting “Nitro Night” at 5-7:30 p.m. Sonny Messner’s restoration of Garlits’ Swamp Rat III, Steve Andersen’s “Fishbowl” dragster once campaigned by Tom Hoover, McCulloch’s ’32 Ford Vicky, and a Top Fuel drag bike will be on display. There will be a legends autograph session followed by a “Hall of Flame” Q&A panel hosted by Dunn, a former Top Fuel and Funny Car racer who had a renowned stint as color commentator for ESPN. The event is FREE to the public.
Hot rods galore
“Ace’s Hot Rod Hangout,” an element provided by the Nitro Revival group and spearheaded by nitro legend McCulloch, will bring pre-1973 street rods, classics, and customs to the paddock area during Saturday’s event. Anyone driving such a machine is eligible to purchase a ticket to the corral which also includes a parade lap around the circuit at 12:30-12:50 p.m. Participants are encouraged to arrive early (the South Boundary gates open at 7 a.m.) to secure a prime spot in the paddock.
The Spring Classic Showcasing Nitro Revival will also have go-karts, vendors, and lively displays that the whole family can enjoy. Children 15 and under are FREE with a paying adult. Three-day tickets at the gate are $70 ($50 advance) with Friday-only at $30 ($20 advance) and Saturday and Sunday at $50 ($30 advance). Advance tickets are still available one day before the event HERE or b y calling 831-242-8200.