Daytona Spring Break NationalsMay 2001
The World's Most Famous Sound-Off
By Brett Solomon
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA.—It is hard to believe that sound-off stalwarts, manufacturers and a plethora of alcohol-enhanced teenagers descended upon Daytona Beach for the fifteenth year in a row.
However, this year's Spring Break Nationals was arguably the best ever. First of all, according to the Daytona News Journal, this was the biggest student attendance of spring break in Daytona since 1989. That helped to set the atmosphere for strong attendance and enthusiasm for the Car Audio Expo in Daytona Beach's Ocean Center. Paul Papadeas, president of Spring Break Nationals ("The World's Most Famous Sound-Off and Car Audio Expo") and also owner of local retailer Soundcrafters (proving that when a retailer runs a sound-off correctly, it can pay off in spades), said, "The manufacturers showing off their new products here are ecstatic. Event attendance is up at least 20 percent from last year."
All of the manufacturers in the interior of the Ocean Center definitely were happy with booth traffic, but no one was expecting the turnout in the rear of Ocean Center for the car audio competitions.
All three major sanctioning bodies set up judging stations to see who had the most worthy mobile electronics system. This is the only event all year that has all three competition organizations on hand. Both the International Auto Sound Challenge Association and the United States Auto-sound Competition were judging sound quality.
However, no one was expecting the turnout for dB Drag Racing, which pits two vehicles against each other to measure quantity of sound, not quality.
The youth demographic seems to love its bass, as 104 vehicles were registered to compete in dB Drag Racing, but over 260 showed up! Wayne Harris, president of dB Drag Racing and formally of Rockford Fosgate, had to open two additional judging stations to make sure everyone had a fair shake at obtaining the loudest volume level.
When the dust settled, perennial favorite Team Gates (sponsored by Kicker and Panasonic) hit the loudest sound pressure level but was still unhappy with its performance. An incident that crippled the team's computer system left it excited to get home and regroup for the next big competition.
The bottom line is, Spring Break Nationals is becoming the prime location for youth to bring out their boom cars and go to battle. This exuberance extended itself to manufacturers who were definitely highlighting their woofer and amplifier offerings.