On Friday, May 2, impending storm clouds lead many spectators and competitors wondering whether or not qualifying for the the IHRA Nitro Jam Palm Beach Nationals would even take place. Although the heavens opened up shortly after the opening ceremonies, the downpour was relatively short, and the nearly the entire first round was completed before another brief shower shut down the runs at 9:45 p.m.
Luckily, the IHRA took out all the stops for the event, and track drying operations commenced, allowing the second round to go off relatively hitch free, aside from the fact that the noise undoubtedly kept the local alligator population up way past their bedtime! Saturday's weather was also a grave concern of officials, competitors, and fans, and though some bracket rounds were run early in the day, by late afternoon it was clear that the only things that were going to run down the dragstrip were long puddles of rainwater.
"If we had a chamber of commerce forecast for Sunday we would try and stay to complete the event. Staying on Sunday puts a serious financial strain on our competitors and without being 100 percent sure we would complete the event, we don't want to put them in that position," said Skooter Peaco, IHRA VP of Operations. "We certainly don't want to create additional hardships for anyone involved. It is disappointing for everyone that we could not finish."
Fans that purchased a ticket on Saturday will be able to redeem that ticket at next year's IHRA Nitro Jam event at Palm Beach International Raceway.
"First and foremost, the IHRA would like to thank all of the loyal spectators that came out this weekend to support the IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series and Palm Beach International Raceway despite the forecast. Palm Beach has an incredible fan base and we are extremely disappointed that we couldn't complete the event this weekend," said Scott Gardner, President of IHRA Motorsports. "The IHRA and PBIR staff worked diligently throughout the weekend battling the weather, but unfortunately in this instance the weather won. We look forward to returning here next year and putting on an amazing show for the fans."
The event is considered complete, and the IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series will move on to Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, N.C. for the IHRA Nitro Jam Spring Nationals on May 17-18, 2014.
The racing isn't over at PBIR for the weekend, however, as bracket racers will be able to make one run down the track starting at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. Tickets for spectators and crew will be available for $10, bit there will be no new entries accepted. For those of you who were wondering, Sunday is for the bracket sportsman racing portion of today only, and does not include the Nitro Jam races. It is also dependent on the weather!