WINGED WARRIORS/NATIONAL B-BODY OWNERS ASSOCIATION
ENGLEHART PERFORMANCE CAR SHOW IN ELKTON, MN
On Saturday, July 30, 2006, Englehart Performance, owned and operated by legendary racer Fred Englehart, hosted a huge car show in the town of Elkton, Minnesota. There's not much in this tiny spot just east of Austin... a few houses, a baseball field, bar, bank, community building, post office, school and Fred Englehart's restoration shop. But for one day each year, the population of Elkton must triple as hundreds of cars converge on the town for Fred Englehart's performance auto show. It costs nothing to go, there is no registration fee. All you have to do is just bring a nice performance car and spend the day with the extremely hospitable people of Elkton.
The whole town gets into this event, too. The first people we saw were strategically placed along the entrance to town and help direct everyone to an available parking spot. Cars roll into town from all over the U.S., parking up and down the city streets, on the baseball diamond, even on the resident's front yards and they welcome everyone. Actually finding a piece of street or a strip of grass to park on is quite a feat even if you arrive by 9:00 am. The town was already pretty much filled up by then! After parking, we were instructed by other townspeople to make our way to the registration tent near the post office, where we gave our names, type of car we brought and how many people were in the car. At this point, we were given a windshield show card, two free beer tickets and two tickets for free lunch. Yeah, and like I said, at no cost.
Then we were free to roam around for awhile and see what other cars showed up. Now this is not just a Mopar show, though it definitely seemed Mopars ruled. And it's actually not a show just for cars, as there were also some racing lawnmowers, drag bikes, and even an antique truck with skis and tracks. Oh yeah, one more unusual mode of transportation was Greg Nelson's motorized cooler that he scooted around on all day. And just in case you're wondering, Greg's cooler does qualify as a performance vehicle as we witnessed a small one-tire burnout.
By noon, there was no place to park. The entire town was a virtual sea of cars. Down main street in front of the bank, bar, post office and community building was a long line of Sox & Martin drag cars. After looking at cars for several hours, we got in line for a free lunch in the community building. That turned out to be quite a surprise as it wasn't the usual cheap burgers and dogs that you'd expect. The townspeople had laid out quite a nice feast, with BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, several homemade salads, baked beans, chips, relishes, and drinks, and you could have all you could eat! Everyone was working behind the scenes to make this a very organized and extremely efficient operation, women were making the sandwiches, kids were hauling wagons full of ice, men were hauling tons of beer, and everything was very delicious and much appreciated by all.
After the nice lunch, we walked around and took some photos, watched special guest Linda Vaughn (you know, of Miss Hurst fame) sign autographs, talked to some former racers about their cars, listened to Ronnie Sox tell about some very interesting experiences, then it was time for everyone to gather around the perimeter of the baseball field for the special event of the day. They were going to fire up a jet-engine drag car! If you've never witnessed this before, it's quite a thing to see. There's a huge amount of fire and intense heat and the sound is incredible as the jet engine turbine gets up to speed. Of course they had it blocked up so it wouldn't take off into the crowd, but it was a thrilling show when the driver spun the blocks out from under the rear wheels, and they flew out a long way behind the dragster and then the machine jumped ahead. When the dragster was shut down, the fire department was on hand to put out the enormous grass fire that was burning behind the dragster. What a show it was! After that, it was time to hit the road for home.
A very big THANKS to the Englehart family and all of the Elkton folks who put this fabulous event together. Below are photos of some of the cars that were on display at the Elkton show. Of course we mostly focused on the Mopars that were present, though there were many Ford and Chevy race cars too.
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