The month of May brings with it many things: the transition to the warmer months, the lazy days of summer and, of course, the annual ZDayZ event just outside the world-famous Tail of the Dragon at Highway 129 in North Carolina. These spectacular roads and scenic views draw car and motorcycle enthusiasts from great distances to experience some of the best public roads in the country.
May 28, 2009 marked the 6th annual pilgrimage of Nissan and Infiniti sports car enthusiasts to the breathtaking Fontana Village Resort. This is the one event that generates more buzz in the eastern half of the country than all others. It's an event that we talk about 12 straight months until it arrives once again.
As in years past, Fontana Village provided the perfect setting for a huge cultural car meet. Fontana Village is the largest resort in the Great Smoky Mountains and sprawls over 100 acres, allowing the Nissan group to take over the entire facility as 500 Nissan fans drove from all over the country to attend. And despite rough economic conditions, this year's ZDayZ was the largest yet!
With an impressive sponsor roster, including Forged Performance, Z1 Motorsports, Injected Performance and Momentum Performance, attendees were treated to plenty of activities, raffles, giveaways and general hospitality. What separates the ZDayZ event from all others is the great variety of activities offered during the four-day extravaganza. From unstructured time, a movie night, tech sessions, a car show, mountain drives, raffles, a dyno shootout and an airstrip shootout, ZDayZ offers it all.
The long weekend actually began on Thursday with the Forged Performance Airstrip Shootout at the Hendersonville Regional Airport. With the 3,500-foot runway open to drivers and spectators, about 15 brave drivers battled it out for the Top Dawg trophy. Although not officially a race, there was plenty of competition between the various twin-turbo 350Zs and G35s, with speeds reaching 140 mph. Even a lone turbocharged Acura NSX came out to play. But just as Injected Performance arrived with its well-known eight-second drag 350Z, the skies opened up and cut the event short. With the runway flooded, there was nothing left to do except test the Forged Performance GT-R's wet weather capabilities. The rooster tails were at least 40 feet tall, reminiscent of a jet ski at full song. Forged took the trophy back home for safe keeping until next's year's winner will be crowned.
Friday was filled with plenty of mountain driving, cruising and relaxing. The vendor alley started to take shape in front of the main meeting hall, while Injected Performance set up its encampment and dyno station next to the general store. With Injected Performance offering free dyno pulls, the whine of the dyno could be heard all day long. As Saturday afternoon rolled around, spectators witnessed the always popular "Exhaust Soundoff." Both a worse-sounding and best-sounding exhaust winner was crowded, judged instantly by the crowd of onlookers. And believe me when I tell you that some of these exhausts were absolutely horrible
In speaking with some ZDayZ attendees, the vast majority were simply thrilled to be around people who share a mutual interest in Nissan sports cars. The camaraderie is contagious as seemingly disparate people became friends bonded by a common interest. And with no connections to the outside world (no cell phone or Internet coverage) and some of the best public roads in the country combined to make for one of the most memorable car events in recent memory. Nissan has done something that no other car company has done-created a complete line of sports cars and sedans that all share the same fundamental character and DNA. That DNA is what attracts Nissan enthusiasts to events such as this one. See you all next year for ZDayZ 2010.
Special Thanks To
Zdayz.com, Forged Performance, Z1 Motorsports, Momentum Performance, Fontana Village Resort, Nissan North America, Crawford Z Car Service, Z1 Performance, Black Dragon Automotive, AMS, BRE, Killyboy.com, Asphalt Ventures, Carbotech Performance Brakes, Bad Dog Parts, ThePowerderCoaster.com, CIN Motorsports, OrderInfinitiParts.com, Competition Clutch, Alcoa Wheels, Advan/Yokohama, Nissan Sport Magazine