Another year, another record-breaking Honda Day held at New Jersey's Atco Raceway. If you're not familiar with the name, it's the largest Honda-specific event in the country, and it combines a drag event, car show, vendors, live performance, etc. Perhaps the most incredible part of the event, other than the staggering number of visitors, is the fact that a custom-built Honda is actually given away to one lucky attendee over the weekend's festivities.
Honda Day's organizer, Javier Ortega, is no stranger to 16-plus-hour workdays while promoting and orchestrating this mega-event. Add to that the responsibility of overseeing a complete teardown and rebuild in just a few short weeks' time and you start to understand the amount of pressure an event of this magnitude provides.
The first day of the event kicks off painfully early as the lines leading to the front gates start at sunrise, oftentimes earlier, with travelers from surrounding states determined to get through the gates as soon as possible. Lines run for miles, and though police directing traffic is expected, this event has pulled in so many loyal attendees that officers outside the Atco area, four different townships to be exact, were required to manage the steady flow of fans.
Increasing attendance numbers are great, but problems do begin to arise as the foot traffic increases. Parking became a major issue for Ortega, one which he felt had to be addressed aggressively in order to accommodate more people. He states, "We found an additional seven acres of parking off site, and hired buses to bring people in." Some might think that the virtual overtaking of an entire town for the weekend might upset local businesses or the city's mayor, but Ortega states that it's just the opposite. "I'll give you an idea of how big this has become; hotels that are about 30 minutes away are getting incredible business from the event, and they're very happy. Honda Day is bringing in so much business."
The formula is no secret: Offer a venue and deliver a product the people want, and they will come. For anyone who has ever put together a meet or organized a track day, they know that formula comes with a mountain of headaches and hassles that most would rather never have to deal with. Fortunately for Honda enthusiasts on the East Coast, Javier Ortega and his staff welcome the challenge wholeheartedly.
Wondering when the next Honda Day will take place? It's already locked in--E-Town, August 10 and 11--so don't miss out!
Photos by Fuel Injector Clinic
This year's giveaway car at Honda Day Atco was an EH-chassis Civic. The car was stripped down, cleaned, then covered in a matte black finish. The engine bay received a custom coat of teal before a K-series engine, outfitted with a number of performance parts, was dropped into its new home. A long list of contributors that included Spoon Sports, Mackin Industries, Hondata, K-Tuned, K Sport, Downstar, DTT Autobody, Needpowdercoating.com, Sticker Chick Graphics, and many more pulled together to make one very happy winner. (We're pretty sure he's still smiling even months after he drove it home.)