One-of-a-Kind Kenworth Again Will Close the Show at US 131 Motorsports Park
MARTIN, Mich. – Call Bob Motz the “King of Quake.” Call him the “Jedi Master of the Jet Truck.” Call him crazy, if you want. Just don’t call him late to the starting line.
After a couple of failed attempts, the seemingly ageless veteran from Wadsworth, Ohio, has given up on retirement and admitted that driving one of the most awesome vehicles on the planet, a jet-powered 1998 W900 Kenworth conventional complete with sleeper, is more fun than, well, just about anything else he’s ever done.
That’s why the 74-year-old showman is back at US 131 Motorsports Park this weekend to shock-and-awe a new generation of race fans at the wheel of the 230 mile-an-hour behemoth known simply as “The Original Jet Truck.”
Motz and his monster are among a host of headliners in the 14th annual Funny Car Nationals, an event that also features eight of the nation’s quickest nitro-burning nostalgia Funny Cars, the world’s quickest fuel altered, a 1950 bullet-nose Studebaker wheelstander, the pre-1980 vehicles of the Nostalgia Drag Racing League and last, but certainly not least, the awesome “Nitro Ninja” Top Fuel dragster driven by second generation pro Dom Lagana of Scarsdale, N.Y.
The Funny Cars, fuel altereds and NDRL vehicles will open the program on Friday before being joined on Saturday by Lagana’s track record-holding dragster (4.485 seconds, 338.35 mph), the 454 Chevy-powered wheelstander driven by Rick “the Shoe” Ream and the one-of-a-kind truck powered by a GE J79 engine like the ones used in the McDonnel Douglas F4 Phantom fighter jet.
The engine burns 80-90 gallons of jet fuel on each run and it takes four 16-foot braking parachutes and four-wheel disc brakes to provide enough “whoa” to stop the 7,000-pound truck once it hits its stride.
“Everything with jet racing is individual,” Motz said. “There is nobody else that has a truck like ours. We (Motz and his son Scott) build everything on this truck. It’s not something that you can call a shop and get parts for.”
NDRL qualifying, featuring classic 1923 T-roadsters, ’32 Bantam roadsters, ’57 Chevy coupes, Anglias, Willyses, Fiats, hemi-Plymouths and GTOs, is scheduled for 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, with a Nitro Funny car session and fuel altered shootout between Tom Motry’s Chicago-based “Drastic Plastic” 1948 Anglia and the 1943 Fiat Topolino driven by Gary Kraus of Buffalo, N.Y., at 8 p.m.
Pro eliminations are set for 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday with “The Original Jet Truck” due to close the show.
Funny Cars committed to the event include the “Runaway” 1970 Camaro driven by John Lawson, the “Quickdraw” 2001 Pontiac Firebird driven by Dale Creasy Jr., the “Buzzy’s Bomber” 1962 Chevy II driven by Mark McElwee, the “Shake n Bake” 1969 Camaro driven by Kevin Lennon., the “Bluegrass Thunder” ’69 Camaro driven by Eric Stevens, the “Down Under Thunder” ’69 Camaro driven by Australian Bazz Young, the “All-Star Dodge” 1970 Challenger driven by Greg Jacobsmeyer and the “Gone Ballistic” 1975 Chevy Monza driven by Brian Cunningham.
Purchased at the gate, adult tickets are $15 Friday and $25 Saturday. Junior tickets, for those 6-12, are $7 Friday and $7 Saturday. Children under six are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Discounts are available on tickets purchased in advance at www.us131msp.com.