The NHRA Desert Heat series rolls into Top Gun Raceway as part of Octane Fest. The drag racing runs Friday through Sunday.

The NHRA Desert Heat series rolls into Top Gun Raceway as part of Octane Fest. The drag racing runs Friday through Sunday.

From high-flying to absolute destruction to speed and racing, the eighth annual Octane Fest returns.

The largest motorsports festival in Northern Nevada commences today for the three-day event beginning at Top Gun Raceway.

The schedule opens with the Desert Heat NHRA Open test and tune today at 11 a.m. at Top Gun Raceway.

The drag racing action continues on Saturday with qualifying starting at 8:30 a.m. followed by the Summit Series and Junior Dragster eliminations at 1 p.m., while the day’s action closes with the Funny Car finals at 6 p.m.

On the dirt oval at Rattlesnake Raceway, gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday and the IMCA Pro Modifieds Show kicks off at 1 p.m. Points races will also be included in the two-day event, which concludes Sunday.

“I think having drag racing … and dirt track racing makes this a festival,” Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority Executive Director Rick Gray said.

The big show, however, commences at 6 p.m. today at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.

The annual monster truck show has become appointment viewing and the crown jewel for Octane Fest.

Sellouts have been a regular occurrence the past several years, so the show’s organizers — Gray and WGAS Motorsports — agreed to add a second show last year.

With a pair of successful shows, Gray kept the format for this year’s event, although the only difference is today’s crowd will experience a display by the Northern Nevada Outlaw Karts, while Saturday’s show features mud racing.

Another highlight of the jamboree, however, is between the high-flying motocross riders. Featured is a Nevada vs. California showdown as the riders hit heights between 50-70 feet.

“The popularity of that show encouraged them (WGAS) to do another show,” Gray said. “The crowd loves them.”

Last year’s two-day show saw one sellout crowd and the second was near capacity, Gray said. As a result, Gray opted to keep the second show and even add to it.

Usually about four or five monster trucks are participate, but Gray said between seven and 10 trucks will ride this year. In addition, the Jet Beast dragster makes another appearance.

The dragster lit up the arena several years ago as the car blasts a stream of fire and burns a stationary vehicle.

“I think the Beast will add a nice finale … and melts whatever is in its path,” Gray said.

One benefit of last year’s show, though, was the appearance of comedian Chris Rock, who filmed a segment for the BET Awards. Neverthless, Gray expects two more well-attended events.

“We got enough of a response for WGAS to try a two-day show again this year,” he said. “The show this year has more monster trucks. I think they are looking to create even more high energy this year.

As a whole, however, Octane Fest has pulled back the past several years. Gray said the event started too big and led to a less organized event.

Gray, though, knew it was critical to keep the partnerships with Rattlesnake and Top Gun raceways as an avenue for other motorsports fans to have access during the festival.

“It is very important to have those two track running,” Gray said. “The drag strip will have some funny cars and the dirt track will have the karts in addition to the IMCA Modifieds. I think Octane Fest showcases those tracks.”

Although the event has trimmed several activities, Gray said he does have plans to expand in the future. One idea, he said, is to create a sock-hop dance where festival goers can let loose after the monster truck show.

In addition, Gray said talks continue with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for possible racing at Sand Mountain.

He also wants to bring some form water racing to Lahontan Reservoir, although, admittedly, the logistics on a water event would be tricky.

Nevertheless, as success grows Gray continues to eye the possibilities of the event to keep it strong and viable in the future.

“I think the show started out too big and too grandiose,” Gray said. “For the last three or four (years), we have settled in to a smaller event. I would like to add to it and envision … a sock hop and car show to entice another market to come to Fallon. The BLM has been receptive to a small event at Sand Mountain. In my grand vision, I would like a boating or jet ski event at Lahontan.”


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