We knew that it was coming but now it’s official. The NOPI Nationals has been attracting increasing number of vehicles every year and outgrowing its facilities on a regular basis since it began 19 years ago. Currently headquartered in the sprawling facilities of the Atlanta (Georgia) Motor Speedway, the event is now billed as the largest car show in the world! If you’ve been to this mega-show, you know the reason for its explosive growth. In addition to the awesome collection of more than 7,000 vehicles on display, there’s an action-packed schedule with something new virtually every hour.
Plan your time carefully so that you don’t miss NOPI favorites like the IASCA and USACi stereo competition, the Triple Elimination Burnouts, or the Pro Drifting Team sliding sideways across the Speedway infield. Plan a side trip to the NOPI Super Store to check out the hundreds of vendors offering the latest goodies for your vehicle and don’t be late for the legendary Swimsuit Competition. The finalists come from around the country to compete, looking to take home some of the $5,400 in prize money. Hang out for the Ludacris concert Saturday night and enjoy Skid Row, Kudzu, Haze and more on Sunday afternoon.
Of course, one of the biggest crowd pleasers at the show is the Hydro Hop-Off, attracting some of the biggest names in the country looking to share the almost $7,000 prize package. Bryan Gillespie of CCE was the event coordinator and Rob Robertson came ready to entertain. His ’87 Toyota pickup truck had rear bracing that let the crowd know that this one might be something special. With just a few taps of the switch, Rob confirmed all suspicions and his radical hopping Toyota launched skyward, not stopping until the truck was resting on its reinforced tailgate and the front wheels were 118 inches off the ground. Then, just as easily, Robertson hit the switch to move the rear axle backward and the truck touched down lightly on all fours. Rob took the win in the Radical Hop class.
T&D Customs continued the fun with the youngest switch man in NOPI History. “Lil’ Flip” did a great job, telling NOPI’s emcee “Jaybird” that he was six years old and had been working switches for a full three days! Bryan Gillespie stepped out from behind his clipboard to hit a few switches of his own, easily flipping the T&D Customs/HiJacker Hydraulics Chevy truck on its side. Once the truck was righted, he flipped it again, repeating the trick several more times during the weekend. Brandon Smith went one better, wowing the fans by flipping his ’88 Nissan Pathfinder on its roof, the first time ever at NOPI. Sunday saw three vehicles flipped, another first in NOPI hydro competition.
The wrap-up of the weekend fun was the awards ceremony where an amazing 1,169 trophies were given to winning customizers. If you’d like to be part of a nonstop automotive good time, put the 2007 NOPI Nationals on your calendar. Check out www.nopi.com for dates and details. We’ll see you there.