Hot August Nights Drags – Classics in Motion
The only problem with events like Hot August Nights is that hundreds of thousands of horsepower is just sitting dormant in the parking lots. We all know that cars are always more exciting when the gas pedal is planted firmly into the floor. That’s why we were pretty excited six years ago when the Nugget Casino and Resort first decided to convert a section of their parking lot into an 1/8th-mile drag strip.
After all, there really is no substitution for the sound and smell of burning rubber. Big-block V8s rumbling down the strip in the Reno sunset, hot rods doing wheel stands, good food, and beer on tap. Really, what more could you ask for?
The addition of the Hot August Nights Drags is certainly a good one, and it’s no surprise it’s grown like it has in the past six years. The organizers only had 45 days to put together the first event, and since then they’ve improved the safety of the track enough for a minimum five-second ET (down from eight originally). While not blazingly fast it’s still plenty of fun, as seen by the massive crowds that now overflow from four large trackside grandstands.
Plenty of guys got awfully close to the magic 5.000-second mark as they crossed the finish line, but go any faster than the index and you’ll be disqualified of course. This meant plenty of good competition since building a five second eighth-mile car doesn’t have to break the bank. A few were fully built race cars while others brought their show queens and half-restored classics to see how fast they’d go.
Of course, the success of events like this just isn’t possible without the tireless work of all those in the background. Without these guys finalizing every last detail, announcing the results, and bringing the cars up to the line there wouldn’t be thousands of horsepower and hundreds of attendees cheering on their favorite cars.
It’s events like these that shape the future generations who learn to love to go fast and it is the very thing that Hot August Nights was missing. Hot rods doing what they do best, launching off the line and barreling down a straight — like we said, all manner of builds could be found doing so.
There were full-on drag cars up against rat rods and even a lifted, all-wheel drive, turbocharged diesel. We weren’t sure what to expect when we first saw the cloud of black smoke appearing at the starting line, but it certainly wasn’t that!
There was even a pair of guys out on lawn mowers! With 1,000 and 1,000 cc motorcycle engine swaps, these things were an insane ride down the strip. Awesome cars, trucks, and vans could be spotted around the pits as well.
As the day went on and the sun set we were happy to find the track so well-lit. Plenty of action continued on until midnight, launch after launch after glorious launch. Hopefully, this celebration of muscle cars at speed continues each year.
With huge crowds like this, we’re sure it will keep on being a big hit. Make sure not to miss it next time you’re out at Hot August Nights!