The NOPI Nationals Supershow-pure automotive hysteria in Hotlanta-rolled in for the 17th consecutive year in a big way. Fallout from Hurricane Ivan was "but a flesh wound" as 7,300 cars, 100,000 spectators and more than 300 vendors answered the opening bell at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS).
We can remember the NOPI Nationals Supershow in its formative years when it was held at the Lakewood Exhibition Center Fairgrounds. When cars had to park on drainage embankments, clearly new facilities were in order. Imagine our shock when we checked into the luxury suites off Turn Four of AMS to cover that first speedway show. The next shock was how crowded the place was. Now NOPI pulls in six digits worth of folks.
The secret to the show's success is simplicity. It stays in tune with the needs of grassroots enthusiasts and they don't have to have six-digit money invested in their cars to be recognized. The 2004 NOPI Nationals Supershow had 480 show categories and, as always, many entrants drove their cars in from out of state.
There are few trailer queens here. Families drove into the infield, parked next to friends they've parked next to for years, got out, set up camp and locked the car with a chirp of the alarm. Then they adjusted their hats, walked the show and caught up with friends. This down-home feel is why we like the show.
With mild to wild divisions for every compact car known to man, NOPI caters to lowriders, tall trucks, slammed trucks and American musclecars. There's a constant buzz at NOPI Nationals Supershow, with three sound-off competitions under the sanction of dB Drags, USAC and IASCA. There's even a live installation competition where two teams pump up the volume in a pair of Scion xBs.
One of our underground favorites is the Hydraulic Jump-Off, in which the hardcore lowrider shops bring out their boulevard bouncers to set records.
Other diversions include a crazy sudden-death burnout contest, Castrol's dyno shootout and Dunlop's drifting competition featuring the talented Signal Auto crew.
Better yet, attendees can test BFG's best rubber in either a Nissan 350Z, Subaru WRX or Acura RSX in the BFGoodrich Challenge. The NOPI/Xbox Worst of Show Vehicle Makeover hooks up the most hurting ride at the show with $15,000 worth of tuner parts.
Other NOPI traditions include Jell-O bikini wrestling, the NOPI foam pit party and the enticing NOPI swimsuit finals.
The biggest splash of the show was made by David Jun, who won the XRL (X-MODS Racing League) Championship at NOPI and won a fully tuned 2004 Acura NSX valued at $120,000. And they say playing with toys will get you nowhere.
If you plan to make the pilgrimage in 2005 we urge you to check out our sister publication Super Street which puts together a few tours that trek to Atlanta from most all the points on the compass. Enjoy.