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Jet-Powered Race Cars Hosting Event in Palm Beach

24 Jan, 2019


Jet-powered race cars of every shape size and description will be center stage this week when the Florida-based National Jet Racing Association (NJRA) debuts its Festival of Fire Series with a pyrotechnic-themed program at Palm Beach International Raceway.

A product of the fertile mind of NJRA CEO Chris Larsen, the Festival of Fire is designed to showcase a variety of vehicles powered by jet aircraft engines while providing unprecedented access to the drivers and team members responsible for their remarkable performance. The second phase is an educational program geared towards Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (S.T.E.A.M.) This is the first and only all jet car competition event of its kind.

The competition phase will feature jet dragsters including those driven by two-time IHRA Jet Champion Elaine Larsen, Zaccaro Motor Sports drivers Terry Rosberg and Todd Skelton, and 35-year-old Dewayne Hill, an eight-year United States Marine Corp Veteran who spent combat tours in Iraq as a machine gunner and is now a safety and security coordinator. 

The battle for superiority among the shorter wheelbase jet Funny Cars will feature a sibling rivalry involving U.S. Army veteran April Crownhart-Swan and her brother, Danny Crownhart, along with Josh Kreuder in the General Jet.   Paul Sieli, who had more than 1000 free fall jumps as a member of the Army’s Halo Skydiving Team, also will compete in a jet-powered Ford Mustang. 

Providing a deafening backdrop to the competitive portion of the show will be the triple-engine “Home Wrecker” jet truck owned and driven by Jerry McCart whose path to a jet car career started in go carts.

Nevertheless, the 51-year-old Larsen saw the Festival of Fire as much more than just a platform to accentuate the power and performance of drag racing’s most popular and eccentric vehicles.  As a festival of Fire, the event also will feature static and interactive displays, fire-breathing stilt walkers, pyro-acrobats and musical performers all operating under the supervision of Vulcana the Master of Pyrotainment, a new-era version of the old circus ringmaster.

Before the shock-and-awe of jet-powered vehicles light up the night sky, the NJRA, in association with Blazing Trails, its non-profit youth education initiative, will host a Friday morning field trip for 1300 students from Florida’s Palm Beach and Martin Counties.

Among the topics covered will be the science of a jet dragster and how science and math are applied to create vehicles capable of reaching 280 miles per hour in only 5.5 seconds.  Among the visuals will be full size cutaways of jet aircraft engines, demonstrations by working engineers at Larsen Motorsports on chassis structures designs and aerodynamic engineering for stability and airflow.

Students will have access to actual jet dragster driver compartments and the custom-made fixtures from which they are fabricated. Finally, Human Factors, Human Centered Design and Bio-Medical Engineers, will demonstrate how customization and ergonomic designs are applied to support the G-force affect to the drivers’ bodies as they accelerate.  With a focus on S.T.E.A.M. programs, the field trip will conclude with hands-on demonstrations that challenge students to “think outside the box.”

The pyrotechnics begin Friday night with specialty arts, interactive displays from corporations, vocational and technical institutes and a round of jet car racing at 7 p.m. Gates will open Friday at 5:00 p.m.  Saturday gates will open at 3:00 p.m. with full rounds of jet car racing at 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 Friday and $30 Saturday ($5 discount if purchased online for Saturday), children under 12 and parking is FREE.

NJRA is SFI, NHRA and IHRA accepted.  For more information, visit us on the internet at https://www.njraracing.com/, like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/njrajets/ or follow us on Twitter at @njraracing.com.

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