(Photos by Jay Nagle and Rebecca Eisele)
NAPA Super DIRT Week Nightlife Keeps Fairgrounds Rumbling after Engines Die Down
Club Wago, Club Gypsum among Annual After-Hours Infield Attractions
WEEDSPORT, N. Y – Musco Lighting may light up the track for Friday Night Lights during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week, but it’s Club Wago that lights up the infield.
Fan-created groups like Club Wago form an essential part of Super DIRT Week culture, creating an active nightlife for race fans that makes the event, which runs this year from Wednesday, Oct. 3, through Sunday, Oct. 7, at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, more than just about what happens on the track.
“It’s the week of the year when you see people you only see for that one week,” said Jamie Weaknecht, a Club Wago member who also frequents other fan-led events. “It’s fun catching up with everybody and that’s the best part.”
Weaknecht, son of club President Jim Weaknecht, said Club Wago originated as a race tailgating group, which ended up making a name for itself in a comical way.
“Club Wago actually started as a joke,” Jamie said. “My dad and his friends used to run a ‘Club Wagon’ and go up to Syracuse every year and the one year the ‘N’ was missing off the wagon sign, so it said ‘Club Wago’ and we just started calling ourselves that from then on.”
As part of its Friday night party Oct. 5 near the Infield Restaurant, Club Wago plans on hosting its annual big-wheel race, complete with time trials, a fake big check, and its own rulebook.
“We have a weird set of rules – you have to have a plastic tire in the front or two plastic tires in the back, certain widths – but there’s a lot of leeway,” Weaknecht said. “A lot of guys build their own, and that’s the most entertaining part is seeing what people come up with. One guy had an actual steering wheel and sprint car wing on it.”
Weaknecht also enjoys events put on by the Voodoo Lounge and Saturday’s Club Gypsum party. He said a highlight for him this year will be Saturday’s Beer Pong tournament hosted by a new group, Camp Drinkmore, Oct. 6.
To purchase tickets, camping passes or parking passes for NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLI, log on to www.SuperDIRTWeekOnline.com, or call the World Racing Group Central Box Office at (877) 395-8606. For more information about NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week, including vendor and sponsorship opportunities, call DIRTcar Northeast Headquarters at (315) 834-6606.
The Super DIRTcar Series and Super DIRT Week are brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Chevy Performance Parts, Gander Mountain, NAPA Auto Parts, and Safety-Kleen. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio and Roush Yates Performance Products. Contingency sponsors are ASI, Beyea Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Draco Springs, Intercomp, JE Pistons, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Ignition, Penske Shocks, Pro Fabrication, Racing Electronics, Superflow, Vicci Racing Apparel, Wilwood Engineering, WIX Filters, Wrisco Industries, and Xtreme Lubricants.