Norwalk's Night Under Fire
Aug 5, 2013
Talk about fun, festive and fireworks. The 36th annual nitro-fueled, tire-screeching affair draws in crowds of all kinds with this year’s program including four 330 mile-per-hour fuel funny cars, eight old school historic AA/Gassers, the after burners of 6,000 horsepower jet dragsters and two monster trucks [Bigfoot and War Wizard] racing 100 miles-per-hour in the quarter mile.
Considering this is Summit Motorsports Park’s 50th anniversary, the schedule has been ramped up with a motorcycle jump, a suicide spiral car jump, an automobile thrill show and more.
Funcoast.com talked to Summit Motorsports Park VP of Marketing Jon Hedges about the special “Night Under Fire” event.
Wow, “Night Under Fire” seems to be like a Super Bowl celebration for Summit Motorsports Park.
Yeah, we think of it as a three-ring circus sometimes. By that I mean the emphasis is on entertainment and even casual fans would go because there is so much to see – racing, jet cars, the largest fireworks display of the season caps the night off. There’s a lot
going on, stuff for kids with autograph sessions. We always try to keep it fresh and fun and entertaining. Every year there are changes and tweaks. That’s why we get a lot of return guests.
Looking over this year’s program, what stands out for you?
One of the biggest changes is we’ve got a couple of monster trucks racing each other a quarter mile, which is a little bit different. Also, this year we’ve got Larry Spider-man McBride and he’s going to be riding a nitro-powered Harley-Davidson motorcycle. That’s kind of crazy and fun for the fans to watch. Then we have a different body style paint scheme that John Force runs on his car. We will sell a limited edition 1/24th scale die-cast version of that car. Those are highly desired by collectors and they usually sell out every year.
Summit Motorsports Park is enjoying its 50th anniversary. Why do you think the venue has lasted so long?
It’s because the track has a reputation for putting the fans and guests first. Guests are treated like they would be in their own home. The track has always bent over backwards to treat guests well. Give them a lot for their entertainment dollar. Certainly people come back for their $1 a pound ice cream. That’s always a popular attraction but I think it’s just the overall – what we call – Norwalk experience. It’s treating fans right, giving them great entertainment and having a clean facility, safe facility.
Finally, on the surface “Night Under Fire” appears as though it would appeal to only race fans but we’re guessing you believe differently.
That’s one reason why “Night Under Fire” is such a successful race over the years, because people don’t have to come with an expectation of seeing one certain type of racing or event. The entire event is really designed for entertainment, so if you want to see close side-by-side drag racing with Nitro funny cars, it’s here. If you want to see the spectacle of a jet car running 300 miles per hour with 40 feet of flame shooting out the back, it’s here. If you want to see one of the largest fireworks displays in Ohio, it’s here. If you want to have just a fun family day at the races, get autographs, have access to the racers, see the spectacle of racers in the pits, it’s there. There’s really something for everybody. Whether they’re a hardcore race fan, or a casual race fan, there’s just a lot to see.
“Night Under Fire” admission is $40 to $45 (children are $15 to $20). For more information, visit SummitMotorsportsPark.com