The Nitro Revival is a nostalgia drag racing event located at Irwindale Raceway in Irwindale CA. It's an event in it's 5th year and takes place Friday thru Sunday in early November. The event is a celebration of an earlier time and pays homage to the founders and early pinoneers of the sport. There are literallydozens of slingshot dragsters, funny cars, altereds, and gassers to drool over. Most are fully restored, running, and race ready. Just as cool is the old guys and gals that lived and raced through those times. As you walk around you are literally surrounded and rubbing elbows with legends of the sport.
So I first attended the Nitro Revival in 2021 and knew this was going to be one of THE yearly events for me to attend. My mom took me to see the funny cars and dragsters in the mid/late 70s when we moved to Las Vegas and I was immediately hooked. This event takes me right back to those wonderful memories!
This is a feast for the senses. Sights, sounds, and smells are almost overwhelming. I walked around with the hair on my neck standing up and I could feel my adrenaline pumping.
The cars themselves are legendary. The engineering and creativity of the early builders is amazing. The colors are vibrant, as well as the chrome and polished aluminum. Candies, flake, lace, scallops, and flames are all represented. The names are of both the chariots and the drivers.
At 101, the Legendary Mr Isky himself was there, still talking to fans and posing for pics as well as many other renowned drivers, owners, crew chiefs, and parts suppliers. My favorite part is that you literally just wander through the pits, which is open to spectators. You get to be up close and personal with both the machines and the warriors that drive and build them.
Everyone is extremely friendly and eager to share their experiences with anyone who will listen. I love just slowly admiring each car in their pit and just listening to the banter and stories the old greys hairs tell of their past. The place just oozes history!
Throughout the morning and day each team will fire up their machine and just let it idle and blip the throttle a few times. More than once I was standing/kneeling just a few feet away from the 2000 hp fire breathing zoomies.
They start the cars on alcohol, and you think that is internse. But a few seconds later they disconnect the alcohol and let the nitromethane flow into the beast and you immediately feel the difference in your chest and any mucus membranes. If your downwind of the exhaust your eyes will tear, your nose will run, your throat will burn and you won't be able to stop smiling. And when they "blip" the throttle, it shakes your insides and tickles your bits!
So in addition to the dragster pits, there's also Gassers Row which had like 45 gassers this year! There's also a nice car show with tons of brighly colored street rods, hot rods, trucks, cruisers, and customs, as well as several vendors with nostalgia merchandise and a few great food outlets.
I haven't been on Friday but it'smore of a setup, registration, tech inspection and meet & greet kind of day.
Saturday is a day for racing, exhibition runs, push start displays, and culminates with ALL of the nitro cars lined up down the whole drag strip. They start all the cars up for the "Line of Fire" cackle fest. It's absolutely amazing! They top it all off with fireworks in case that wasn't enough. Sunday is more of the same but the special event is the "one o'clock thunder" where ALL the cars in the pits start up at once!
I havent stayed around for that part but next year I'm definitely gonna stick around on Sunday. Overall the Gibbs family and Associates put on one hell of an event. They are keeping the tradition alive and thriving for past abd future generations. It will continue to be on my yearly "to do" list!
Photos and Story
Derek "BoxRod" Campbell