No Limits, NoFlyZone
NoFlyZone in Gila Bend, Arizona. March 8, 2015
It’s one thing to go to a show and looking at super cars and race cars. Sure they look fast sitting still, but they look faster going… well, fast. The opportunity to watch a Lamborghini mat it and test it’s limit are few and far in between, so when I heard about NoFlyZone (put on by Omega Motorsport Events) I was pretty excited. I hadn’t been to an event like this before. So shortly after Cars and Coffee, a friend and I bombed out to Gila Bend, Arizona to watch some serious weaponry do their thing.
And when I say bomb, I do mean bomb. That red C5 tackled the road down to the airstrip incredibly well. I’m not really used to high horse power cars. Or even moderately powered cars. And by that I mean I used to drive a Miata. The sound track of the LS1 ripping through the little two lane road became intoxicating. When I got home at the end of the day and drove my E30, I was almost disappointed with the lack of torque. Of course it was all done safely and within limits, but I’m not used to my cars doing this with such ease. That Corvette is likely going to be the first feature car here, it really is an incredible machine.
And the little Cobalt SS? He quickly became our pace car, we were both shocked how well the little car attacked the road. We’d pass slow trucks and lazy vans in tandem, all the way to the airstrip gates. I had wanted to stop and talk to the guy after we parked, but he bolted to the show pretty quick and I didn’t see him again. I guess he does everything fast.
Not everyone who went was actually doing runs on the airstrip. So the parking lot was filled to the brim with cars that had me drooling a little bit. I’m biased of course, but this E30 was by far my favorite. The stance, the wheels, the frenched headlights. I hope my E30 can look half as nice some day. The real heavy hitters were parked in the pits though.
How’s that for a spotting? It was almost ironic spotting this, because that same morning I had breakfast with friends and talked about this very car. I insisted that there were a few of these monsters kicking around in Arizona. He was adamant that it was impossible, or at the very least highly unlikely, but there it sat. Right hand drive, big turbo and all. I don’t know how the owner has this vehicle in the United States, and I don’t really care. I’m just glad they do, because it made my day seeing this here. I didn’t see it make any runs personally, and it was still sitting with the hood up when I left. Hopefully all was well, and it was just to show off the beastly powerplant.
Another car that graced the pits, and in volume, was the Supra. They were by far the most abundant car at NoFlyZone, more so than GTRs, Corvettes, or Lamborghinis. How many can you spot in the photo there? It’s not hard to see why either, the 2JZ is at home under heavy boost and deep in the revs. I joked that they flock to the airstrip because they can’t find traction on the drag strip, but the reality is I would probably kill to own a Supra at some point in my life. They’re just that cool.
And while the Supra seemed to be the weapon of choice for many, the pits were full of other exotics and muscle. The orange Gallardo was making pass after pass while giving ride alongs. We saw it hit speeds well over 200mph a few times, and this was just a 1/2 mile roll race. Other people brought out their daily drivers, or tuners. I was happy to see a little SRT4 going at it over and over.
We made our way to the spectators area after crawling all over the pits. One thing that really impressed me was how quickly they were running the cars. I watched an Aventador drive through the pits, and in about a minute it was on its way to 200mph. As soon as the runway was clear, they sent the next cars down. Given the entry fee was $150, I think the drivers definitely got their money’s worth.
The spectators were also getting quite a show this way. Listening to the cars screaming by over and over was something I hadn’t experienced before. At least not like this, not in this format. There wasn’t any build up like there is in drag racing, where there is anticipation before the cars launch. But that didn’t make it any less of a thrill. Listening to the well timed shifts and back fires hit you like a wave from the doppler shift, was incredible. I’m sure many of you, like me, pour over videos on YouTube where you could claim you’ve at least seen something like this. But you haven’t experienced it, not until you’ve been here.
They had spectators sitting out past the return lane, which presented a problem for me pretty quickly. I had only thought to bring my 50mm prime lens. I don’t own anything with a substantial zoom as of yet. No amount of cropping was going to get me decent action shots from this distance. But I learned a valuable lesson, if you don’t have press credentials be prepared to reach for your shots or get creative. So I got creative, and discovered I could capture the cars coming back to the pits on the return lane rather well. While the cars were pretty subdued by that point, it still made for some scenic shots.
I’m not sure what you call a whole bunch of Cadillacs, but I’m going to go with a Squad. It was impressive seeing the group roll by together. Though I don’t even want to hazard a guess at the horsepower in that photo alone. That little FRS was also pretty fun to watch, we saw it reach 120mph or so a few times. While it’s not the most obvious weapon for airstrip racing, I think it’s more about having fun with what you have. I recognized it immediately as belonging to Keith Charvonia, of SpeedHunters fame.
Just behind me a GTR was undergoing some sort of work. It doesn’t really register that these cars are doing something abusive, at first. So many of those cars seem to fly by with ease, but of course there’s always going to be casualties when you’re pushing your machine this hard. It’s also sort of endearing to see a car like the GTR up in the air like this, I sometimes think of these cars as being nearly invincible. Yes it is fast, and yes it is multitalented on the track. But even Godzilla gets bruised now and again.
We watched the cars run for a while longer before calling it a day. As we weaved back through the pits, I spotted this Viper hanging out. I hadn’t seen it earlier in the day, but when I did, we stopped. Some cars have a presence about them, something just worth spending time to admire. The first gen Viper is one of these cars. And this particular one was tastefully modified. In all honesty was probably my favorite car of the event, and possibly the day (between Cars and Coffee and NoFlyZone).
We must have spent 10 minutes hanging out in the shade of the trailer just staring at this car. Maybe it was to recover from sun burns, maybe it was because I had been up since 6am. But I wanted to really spend time soaking in the details of this Viper. To me these moments are my favorite parts of events like this, when I can stop and really appreciate the passion and engineering behind these cars. Both from the factory and engineers, and then the owners who modify and craft these cars on their own. These cars are a reflection of their creators and owners, and they all tell a story of sorts.
We finally made our way back home. Once again we found ourselves in a group of cars bombing down the road. They hung with us until Phoenix and we went our separate ways. But running in a group always makes a long drive much more entertaining.
Frankly I didn’t know what to expect when going to NoFlyZone. I had heard about the previous event in Arizona, but didn’t get a chance to make it out last time. Beyond that I knew I would be watching some incredible cars test their limits. I got that and much more. I encourage everyone to go experience this at some point, if you’re at all remotely interested in cars this is something you really have to see for yourself. Go with your car club, your friends or your family, but just go. It really is that good.