PHOTO COURTESY OF MOUNTAIN TOP PRODUCTIONS/ Spectators watch as a pick-truck driver participates during the burnout at last year's Sebring Thunder. This year's burnout returns Friday as part of the three-day event.
SEBRING - Drivers at this weekend's Sebring Thunder event won't be spinning their wheels for nothing. At the burnout Friday, drivers will put their vehicles in park and then spin their wheels. The winner will be the one who produces the most smoke, said Sebring City Councilman John Griffin, who has organized the event along with Councilman Bud Whitlock. The burnout is set for 6 p.m. at North Ridgewood Drive and Mango Street in downtown Sebring. This is Sebring Thunder's fourth year and is expected to draw in 200 car owners and their vehicles.
Last year's event had somewhat lower attendance because of the rain, Griffin said. "We're concerned about the rain this year also," he said. Griffin said a major reason for organizing Sebring Thunder four years ago was to boost the local economy by bringing in people who will eat at local restaurants, shop at stores and stay at motels. Another reason was that Cypress Gardens used to have car events before it closed, he said. Sebring Thunder helps fill the void, he added. The event will open 4 p.m. Friday and end at 1 p.m. Sunday. On Saturday, a car show will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with registration beginning downtown at 7 a.m. Cars will be judged on their exterior paint, interiors, engine bays, wheels and tires and overall presentation. During the car show, a Rolls Royce previously owned by Elton John will be on display. The musical entertainment will be provided by the Shannon Reed Band, starting at 7 p.m. Friday. The California Toe Jam Band will play from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Griffin said there's no admission charge for spectators during the three days. Food will be available Friday and Saturday. People can register their cars for $25 and that includes a poolside barbecue Saturday at the Kenilworth Lodge and the opportunity to drive around the track at the Sebring International Raceway Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. Some people register so they can get the opportunity to drive on the track, he said. Griffin said that part of the event is special to many drivers and credits Sebring International Raceway General Manager Tres Stephenson with making it happen. firstname.lastname@example.org (863) 386-5834