Nitro Jam shakes PBIR

Top Fuel Dragster Bobby Lagana Jr.
Top Fuel Dragster Bobby Lagana Jr.

By Rachel Leigh - bio | email

JUPITER, FL (WFLX) - The stands were filled to capacity at Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter for the two-day Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series. We meet up with some of the drivers on our Red Carpet getting ready to take their cars more than 300 miles per hour down a quarter mile track.

"This is our first year for Nitro Jam here in West Palm. We've been wanting to come to Florida for four or five years, but never had the venue to come to. They built this absolutely gorgeous place to come racing. We cut a deal with them, and we'll be here for several years to come," said Aaron Polburn, President of International Hot Rod Association.

Polburn couldn't wait to get off the plane in sunny South Florida for Nitro Jam. "What's unique about this particular event is all three of our passed world champions are competing in this event, so you'll see the best of the best. These are 300 mile per hour cars that will cover a quarter mile course in four seconds. Add to that the cool bus wheel-standers, jet trucks, probably more fireworks than what you would see at a Fourth of July celebration. So you wrap that into it, and you have kind of a horse-powered KISS concert."

With the air filled with nitro, these champs are ready to shake the ground. "The fastest we went last year was, I think a 450 at a 329," said the 2009 champ Del Cox with Mitch King Motorsports.

This year, Cox is teamed up with the 2008 champ Spencer Massey.

"This is something I've wanted to do since I was 4 years old," said Spencer Massey, Mitch King Motorsports. "This is unbelievable to be able to be here in Florida in January smelling nitro, burnt rubber. That's what we're all about."

Together, they'll be giving the 2007 champ, Bruce Litton, a run for his money.

"The fastest mile per hour I've ever went was 329 mile an hour in that car," said Bruce Litton, Lucas Oil. "It's awesome. It's 5Gs, so five times my body weight. I weigh 1150 pounds in the car."

This addicting sport takes lots of dedication, money and, in Ken Nelson's case, creativity!

Nelson is the coolest school bus driver around. His impressive school bus stands on its rear wheels for a quarter mile track running 130 miles per hour; however, that quick run burns three to four gallons of gas.

But, Ken says it's worth it! "It's amazing the response that we get from the young kids because everybody's seen a school bus, probably every day, and they kind of identify with it. That allows us to get that chance to give them that message, 'Stay in school. Say no to drugs'. Hopefully, we can do a little good on this planet."

In the end, it was Bobby Lagana Jr. who took home first prize in the top fuel dragster category bringing another name into the winner's circle. And, it's without saying, Ken Nelson's school bus remains the fastest school bus to date!