There are a few rod runs that are so well known that they are referred to in just one word or by a city name. By the end of the summer one of the most asked questions among Midwest rodders is, "Are you going to Shades?" Well the official name is the Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup but Shades works for us.
The NHRA U.S. Nationals is the place to be on Labor Day weekend; Nitro Alley is home to th
The Shades of the Past Road Tour actually got started on Saturday morning in Indianapolis. If you are in Indy over Labor Day weekend odds are you are there for the 58th annual Mac Tools NHRA U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus. It is the granddaddy of the NHRA national events. We had 30 vehicles in our Road Tour group and we were also kicking off the Steele Rubber Products Triple Crown Challenge. We had three tours scheduled back-to-back-to-back as we headed to Shades of the Past, the NSRA Nationals North Plus on the Drive-by-Lokar Tour and then through Canada to the NSRA Northeast Nationals in Burlington, Vermont, on the Megaspeed Show Tour.
One person we did not invite was a fellow named "Isaac" or what was left of the hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast the previous week. We had our first drivers' meeting on Saturday morning before heading to the track. This is the second year that the folks at NHRA have worked with us on this tour. We were parked in our area at the track by 9 a.m. and had a great time checking out all the activity in the pits and grandstands. Showers rolled through by early afternoon but we did not slow down. We had been invited to visit the hospitality tent of the Tasca Ford team and we were greeted by Funny Car driver Bob Tasca III.
The NHRA folks had a great spot for us to park for the weekend. Our cars and the AMSOIL/ST
Eileen Daniels coordinates a vehicle display each year at Indy. Besides the top picks from
During our travels in the pit area we found some familiar faces. Lokar owner Skip Walls (c
Next we headed to the area of the facility that is Eileen Daniel's domain. Eileen coordinates the car show and judging each June at the NHRA Bowling Green Kentucky Hot Rod Reunion. The top 50 cars from the Bowling Green event are invited to be on display all weekend at the U.S. Nationals. Eileen was kind enough to give us a personal tour of the cars on display and the colorful people who played such a part in the early days of drag racing. Many thanks to Eileen for making our Saturday afternoon so special. The rains cleared by about 7 p.m. and the thunder and lightning moved from the skies to the track as the cars roared and racing continued until 10 p.m.
The rain continued on Saturday and Sunday in Indianapolis. With plans already in place for additional activities in Indy on the Shades Tour weekend, Sunday afternoon we made the short drive to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Museum and Hall of Fame.
Projects filled the shop at Greening Auto. The early '58 Corvette is owned by country musi
The collection of cars that competed and won at Indy make up the majority of vehicles on display at the museum. We were pleasantly surprised to find a number of vehicles on display that were not Indy cars. Indy 500 toys and models were also on display in a number of the showcases along the wall. The Indy roadsters that were displayed were beautiful. To see in person the '52 Agajanian Roadster that hot rodder Troy Ruttman drove to victory was worth the price of admission.
On Monday at 10 a.m. the announcement was made by the NHRA. Hurricane Isaac was declared the winner of the 2012 U.S. Nationals. The final rounds were cancelled.
Monday evening the Road Tourians made the short drive to J. Weeks Metal Shaping near Indianapolis. We had visited Jerry "Weeks" Baker on one of our tours in 2011. Our cohosts on Sunday evening were Brian and Lisa Stinger of Stinger's Hot Rods in Indy. One of Brian's recent project vehicles was the Miller Tribute pickup (Aug. '10 issue) for George Poteet.
The Surf City Garage "Attention to Detail" award and $100 gift certificate were presented
On Wednesday evening we were invited to visit Greening Auto Company in Nashville. Jesse Gr
We were invited into the Tasco Ford hospitality tent on Saturday. Top Fuel Funny Car drive
Tuesday morning and the skies were clearing. The monsoon rains of the weekend had passed and things were looking brighter in more ways than one.
It was a two-hour drive south to our lunch stop in Jeffersonville, Indiana, on the Ohio River. After a good lunch we drove across into Kentucky and onto the famous home of the Kentucky Derby: Churchill Downs. We were met at Churchill Downs by a reporter from local station WAVE Channel 3. After a brief interview and some video of the cars we went inside the visitor center. We got a look at the museum and then went on a guided tour of the grounds. As we exited the museum I received a call from TV Station 32. Their helicopter was in the sky over Churchill Downs and wanted to film us as we pulled out. It was an exciting two hours at Churchill Downs, to say the least.
Our good friend Dwight Hall had invited us to stop by his Plumformance Street Rod Shop. Many of the local rodding community turned out to greet us. After a visit at Plumformance we drove two blocks south on Preston Highway to Roosters Restaurant. It was a fun evening in Louisville with some good friends.
Long known for his skills in recreating vintage Indy car sheetmetal, Jerry Weeks tackles m
Wednesday we continued on our journey south toward the Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup. Our first stop was at the newly renovated Jim Beam Distillery visitor center. We also got a look at the huge barns where hundreds of barrels of Jim Beam were being aged.
It was a 2-1/2 hour drive to Nashville, our destination for the rest of the day. Our first stop was at the Antique Archeology store that has recently been opened by Mike Wolf from American Pickers. Next stop was at the Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame. It tells the story of the roots of country music in words and pictures, and of course music. Our day wrapped up with a get-together at Greening Auto Company. Jesse Greening, wife Emily, and Jesse's parents, Jeff and Connie, greeted us at their huge facility with hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. Thanks to the Greening Family for their Nashville hospitality on Wednesday evening.
We were greeted by sunny blue skies on Thursday morning. It was a three-hour drive east on I-40 and we all reached Pigeon Forge by mid afternoon. Friday morning we had our final drivers' meeting at 8 a.m. By 9 a.m. most of us were parked in the special area that the Shades of the Past team had designated for us. Our AMSOIL/STREET RODDER hospitality tent was set up right next to our parking area. It was a hot and sunny day. The parking area filled quickly along with the judging area. There were plenty of new parts vendors and the swap meet was filled with goodies. By 4 p.m. the Top 25 Picks were announced over the loud speaker along with the special vehicle awards.
There were thunderstorm warnings for the area on Saturday but things were dry as we pulled into our parking area about 8 a.m. with the rain arriving about 1 p.m. With the awards and prize presentations scheduled for 4:30 most everyone stayed at the show and ignored the showers. The awards got off on time as scheduled. The very popular 50/50 number was pulled with the winner receiving over $20,000. The beautiful blue Alloway-built roadster went to a very lucky participant. The Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup number 30 was in the books and it was again a great event. It is rapidly becoming one of the premier events on the summer rod run schedule and the Road Tour will be back in 2013 as the Vintage Air Road Tour will travel from San Antonio to Pigeon Forge next September. We hope you can join us.
Our destination for Monday evening was Louisville, KY, and the Plumformance Street Rod sho
Monday evening we visited the shop of metal master Jerry
Craig Breedlove's Sonic I dominated one end of the main floor of the museum. This is the j
Saturday at noon all the Shades of the Past Road Tour participants gathered for a group ph
On Wednesday morning we visited the Jim Beam Distillery near Brooks, KY. The new visitor c
The Shades of the Past Tour was the first leg of the Steele
Rubber Products Triple Crown