People often ask me how car shows in other parts of the country compare to events in California. I always tell them the same thing: If I want to go to a huge summer show, I head straight for the middle of the country.
Don't ask me why, but shows in the Midwest just seem to draw more vehicles--and a wider, more eclectic variety--than most of the events on the West Coast. Maybe it's the fact that the show season is shorter, so people get more excited about the big summer shows. Or maybe it's just because folks back East and in the Midwest don't mind driving several hundred miles (or more) to get to an event. Regardless, there's a discernable difference.
The annual Goodguys Hot Rod Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park is a great example. This year there were more than 4,000 pre-'64 cars and trucks on hand, and they literally came from all over the country. The event is a "coming-out" party for a lot of pro-built, high-profile rides, but that doesn't make it an exclusive affair. There were plenty of low-buck and unfinished cruisers on hand, too, as well as the "unsung majority"--you know, those mostly homebuilt cars and trucks that make up the bulk of this great hobby of ours. Regardless of dollars spent, everyone in attendance seemed to be having fun.
Of course, if looking at cool cars and trucks isn't enough for you (and we doubt it), Goodguys Indy has more to offer--like cool cars and trucks getting flogged on the racetrack. That's right, the Hot Rod Nationals features vintage drag racing (open to pre-'72 vehicles) with 12 classes of competition ranging from street-legal hot rods to Nostalgia Funny Cars and old-school Top Fuelers. In addition to that, you can cruise down the road to visit the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or take in any of the other race-flavored sights and attractions on hand.
The fact that Goodguys Indy always has a great sideshow of vintage drag racing is a definite draw, but the allure goes beyond that. This is simply a great, laid-back, start-of-summer event. This year's show was also our second outing for making Classic Trucks Top Five picks. And believe us, there were enough cool haulers for us to have doubled or tripled our number of picks. Check out the photos and see if you don't agree.