Event Brings Back ‘The Original Jet Truck,’ Fuel Altereds, Wheelstander
Some of the most iconic nostalgia Funny Cars on earth including Bill Hallett’s “Detroit Thunder” 1955 Ford Thunderbird and Mark Horvath’s one-of-a-kind 1977 Chrysler Cordoba will be among those competing in Saturday’s (May 20) annual Night of Thunder at US 131 Motorsports Park.
The Great Lakes Nostalgia Funny Car circuit will showcase vehicles from drag racing’s golden era, sharing the quarter mile stage with the Chicagoland Super Stock Series, the Nitro Nostalgia Fuel Altereds and a host of exhibition vehicles including Bob Motz’ awesome “Original Jet Truck” and the “Peacemaker” wheelstanding truck driven by 82-year-old Jim Brewer.
Gates open Saturday at 8 a.m. with time runs for the Lane Automotive Bracket Series at 9 a.m. and bracket eliminations at 1:30 p.m. “Thunder” cars run at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday advance tickets are $20 for adults and $7 for children 6-12 with those under six free when accompanied by a ticketed adult.
After announcing his retirement a year ago, the 71-year-old Motz is bringing his jet-powered 1998 Kenworth out of mothballs for an encore performance on one of his favorite racetracks. His 7,000 pound truck is capable of accelerating from zero to 200 miles per hour in less than a quarter mile but numbers aren’t really the attraction.
The spectacle of a jet aircraft engine mated to a long-haul truck has been cause for pause since Motz introduced his first such mutant vehicle in 1979. Now, 38 years later, “the Original Jet Truck” continues to defy the traditional with man-made fire and thunder that rivals anything in nature.
Among the other likely Funny Car participants are the Nick Tilley-driven “Shyster” 1978 Chevy Corvette out of Hallett’s Clarkson, Mich., shop, the “Streaker’s Ride” 1969 Camaro driven by Ron Ooms of Demotte, Ind., and the “Damn Yankee” 1977 Chevy Vega driven by Chuck Horvath of South Bend, Ind.
The weekend begins with a Friday Test and Tune from 6-11 p.m. and concludes on Sunday with a second Lane Automotive Bracket Series event. Car and driver entry Friday is $25 with spectator and crew admission $10, children ages 6-12 $5 and children under six are free. Saturday car and driver entries are $60 for Top ET and Modified with a $2000 to win payout, $50 on Sunday with $1200 guaranteed payout. Gates open Saturday at 8 a.m. with time runs for the Lane Automotive Bracket Series at 9 a.m. and bracket eliminations at 1:30 p.m. Chicagoland Super Stock qualifying at 5 p.m. “Thunder” cars run at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday advance tickets purchased online are $15 for adults, $20 day of show and $7 for children ages 6-12, children under six are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. On Sunday gates open at 8 a.m. with Lane Automotive Bracket Series time run at 9 a.m., adult admission is $12 with children 6-12 $7 and children under six free.