The Woody's Hot Rodz Tour kicked off with a weekend of fun at the NSRA Mid-America Nationals Plus in Springfield, Missouri. This was the first season for the extended year format and by the looks of the turnout by both participants and spectators, it was a success. Mixed in with the traditional pre-'48 cars were plenty of street machines, muscle cars, and special interest vehicles. Big-block Tri-Five Chevys were right at home rumbling around the grounds next to the '32 and '34 Fords.

The '10 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour tent was a gathering spot for all of the Woody's Hot Rodz tour participants. The Road Tour roadster pickup was on display all weekend and created quite a buzz on the grounds. With 2,500 fresh miles on the odometer, the Cotati Speed Shop-built Shadow Rods XL27 generated questions and positive comments from everyone who stopped by to take a look.

The weather was great all weekend in Springfield. By Sunday afternoon Road Tour participants from Texas, South Carolina, Missouri, Michigan, and Ohio gathered at the Road Tour tent. They picked up their goodie bags and all-important itineraries that mapped out the week's activities as our travels would take us across Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. It was then onto York, Pennsylvania, and the NSRA East Coast Nationals Plus by Thursday afternoon. Along the way we had stops scheduled at private car collections, street rod shops, parts manufacturers, and suppliers.

Our Sunday evening layover was in Fenton, Missouri, just south of St. Louis. Everyone arrived about 7 p.m. and many went out for some authentic St. Louis barbecue. Monday morning was Memorial Day and we had been invited by car enthusiast George Lange to get a look at his amazing collection of special interest vehicles, which include some of the coolest hot rods and muscle cars on the planet. George's interests run the gamut from traditional '32, '33, and '34 street rods to turbocharged Mustangs and George's wife Kathy's Goodguys' award-winning '57 T-bird. It was a very special treat to have George give us some details about the history and construction of each of the vehicles on display. Many of the cars in George and Kathy's collection were built by premier builder Bobby Alloway.

We were also invited to make the short drive and visit the shop of the Stirnemann Brothers. Jack and Harry are well known for their traditional-style hot rods and innovative powertrains. It was an educational morning at the Stirnemann Brothers' shop as Jack and Harry walked us through some of their current projects. By 11 a.m. it was time to head east toward our Monday evening layover in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, near Cincinnati. It was a somewhat rainy drive but we all arrived safe and sound by 7 p.m.

Our schedule for Tuesday was very busy so we wasted no time after our 8 a.m. drivers' meeting. Our first stop was just down the road about 15 minutes to the Woody's Hot Rodz shop in Bright, Indiana. Chris Sondles and the crew at Woody's built last year's Road Tour '52 Chevy, which we drove over 20,000 miles during the summer of 2009. They are also scheduled to build next year's Road Tour '55 Chevy. We got a sneak peek at a '57 Chevy project that they have begun for George Poteet. They are busy at Woody's, to say the least.