GIBBS MOVED NITRO REVIVAL TO LAGUNA SECA WITH EYE ON THE FUTURE
Steve Gibbs made a major impact last fall with his inaugural, one-day Nitro Revival at Barona Drag Strip, the small, eighth-mile facility located outside of San Diego, Ca.
In fact, the event made such an impact it became apparent early in the day the track while the track provided the perfect atmosphere, it clearly had its logistical limits. And much to the chagrin of event promoter Steve Gibbs, he was forced to seek out a new venue for the 2018 event.
The second annual Nitro Revival will settle into a new home at Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca outside of Monterrey, Ca., May 18 - 20, 2018.
Gibbs will tell anyone who will listen, the team in Barona did nothing wrong. He will also tell you it was really a decision he didn't want to make.
"Laguna Seca is a pretty prestigious venue, and it just seemed to me if we’re going to grow the Nitro Revival thing, we need to look beyond just that first event at Barona," Gibbs explained. "Not that [Barona] was bad; it was good. But I think it was limited in what it could become, and realistically I don’t think we had a place to go really as far as future growth.
"Your first house has two bedrooms and one bath, and all of a sudden it’s just not big enough and you have to look beyond that."
The Nitro Revival exploded into something bigger from what Gibbs originally envisioned; an event which catered to those Cacklefest participants who felt displaced with their role at the NHRA's California Hot Reunion, an event Gibbs helped to build but was later phased out of the program. Those hot rodders sought a new venue, and their pied piper of all things nostalgia Gibbs made it happen.
"A year ago, there was no Nitro Revival, there was no Barona," Gibbs said. "We were just licking our wounds from what happened at Bakersfield, and things were happening pretty fast. When we left Barona, we didn’t really know what the next move was going to be. It was, 'Well, we’ll just do the same thing next year if we’re going to do it."
Based on the success of the inaugural Nitro Revival, Gibbs faced the reality this program was only going to grow. He second-guessed the decision more than once.
"The opportunity to do something at Laguna Seca came up, and we just made a decision," Gibbs said. "We thought we had to do it. Maybe it’s the wrong decision; I don’t know. Time will tell on that if it was a good call or not. I think you have to take advantage of opportunities when they come your way, and it seemed like a good opportunity."
Gibbs said there are no hard feelings with what he describes as a tough decision to make.
"We lived up to our commitments, and they did theirs, and we’re on good terms, and there’s no animosity or anything," Gibbs said. "They may have been disappointed thinking that we’d do a second one, I can understand that. I’ve offered to help them do something similar on their own.
"We’re not going to start a series here. I didn’t want to have eight Nitro Revivals. I mean I’d like to have, hell at my age, one nice one a year that fulfills what we are trying to do at a nice place, and that’s about it. Pretty simple. There’s nothing really complex about this whole thing."
Gibbs is leaving the door open for a possible return to Barona.
"Maybe time will tell if it’s a good call or not," Gibbs said. "We may be back at Barona’s doorstep a year from now and say, ‘Hey, can we come back?
"I don’t know what’s going to happen. Some things have happened over a pretty short period of time that got us here. For the most part, everybody’s happy. I’ve got a lot of great comments about the Laguna Seca thing because it’s a nice destination, Monterey is. It’s got a lot of history; it’s a great facility, they’ve got a great support staff to help us out.
"We’re basically a two or three man operation here, and none of us are getting paid for it, yet. I hope we do at some point. We’re just going to fly by the seat of our pants here and try to make the right decision. But I don’t want it out that somehow we left Barona in a huff and it was under a bad term, it wasn’t at all. We rented the track for a day, we did our deal, and look for the next opportunity and hopefully, it works out okay."