It's been more than two years since the Super Chevy Show last put up its tent in Martin, Michigan. That's because the track, formerly called US 131 Dragway closed to undergo an extensive refurbishment. The old dragstrip, a mainstay of Midwest racers for decades, was simply not meeting the expectations of racing and car show fans, nor were the facilities up to the standards necessary to draw IHRA National Events.
That's all changed with the re-christened US 131 Motorsports Park. Simply put, it's one of the most modern, thoughtfully laid out tracks in the region. One of the biggest and best changes of all is the new entrance gates, which are now paved. Those of you who hated bumping down that dusty (sometimes muddy) stretch of dirt to get to the former entrance can rejoice; it's all pavement from the freeway to the track's starting line.
US 131's revamp is already paying dividends, as it is now the host of IHRA's Northern Nationals. And, of course, the Super Chevy Show has returned. Unfortunately, one aspect of the Martin show's past has not changed -- Michigan's unpredictable and rapidly changing weather. Though relatively mild on Saturday, the weather on the show's big day, Sunday, kept chamois and Absorbers twirling.
Thankfully, after a powerful early morning downpour, the track dried out long enough to get in a couple rounds of racing, including the always-popular Nitro Coupes, Chicago Outlaws, and jet cars. Mike Swinarski's red '57 Chevy Nitro Coupe wowed the crowd, as did blistering passes from Bruce Boland and his Canada-based Willys Nitro Coupe. By mid-afternoon, however, the black clouds returned. Racers pulled to the line as though it would be their last run before the rain, and the car show judges scurried between the vintage Chevys with one eye on the vehicles' details and the other on the threatening sky.
The traditional Super Chevy Show awards ceremony was held early in an attempt to beat the rain, but just as the first award plaques were handed out, Mother Nature decided the Chevrolets gathered in Martin needed a rinse. For many, however, it was merely a soggy end to a great weekend back at Martin; and most hearty award recipients endured the blustery weather long enough to pose for the traditional winner's photo alongside the Super Chevy trailer.
Unfortunately, the scenario at Martin wasn't unique to the 2003 Super Chevy schedule, said promoter Roger Gustin. "Seems like we've had weather like this since the start of the season," said Gustin, from the relative dryness of his covered golf cart. "What can you do? We just appreciate everyone who ignores the weather reports, shows up, and still has a great time." Despite the wet ending, we were glad to be back at Martin again. The racetrack is better than ever, and so is the Super Chevy Show.