After a years absence, the Race & Performance Expo returns for its 12th annual show. The Expo returned to the Schaumburg Convention Center on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday was the Trade Show portion which was not open to the public. Saturday and Sunday the show was open to everyone. Over the past few years, Jeanette Desjardins, founder of Car Chix, moderated a panel of motor sports women. The panel consisted of Kara Jinrich (1320 Wheels), Tiffany Olson (Sycamore Speedway Promoter), Stephanie Long (Lights Out race Promoter) and Natalie Hirschfield ( driver Natalie Hirschfield Motorsports).
If you are female, mother, husband or father and want to learn how females are integrating into the male dominated sport of motor racing, I highly suggest this seminar. Among the topics discussed were entrance into motorsports, male dominated sport, use of social media and sponsorships.
After the seminar, it was time to hit the floor. The first stop was my home track display, Route 66 Raceway/Chicagoland Speedway.
The Hot Rodders of Tomorrow always have a display and the High School Engine Building Competition. The teams consists of five members and if they can disassemble and reassemble a small block Chevy engine in less than 35 minutes they qualify for the Championship in Indianapolis, In.
In addition to the high schoolers, they provide instruction to junior drag racers on how to work on their motors.
While walking around I found Emilee Ballard. I knew her car was being worked on, but not the extent! She explained the plan was to have the car here for display, however it wasn't ready, so she had a collage of photos of the car in disassembly and re-assembly. Emilee's boyfriend, Cody Medeisis, is heading up the entire car rebuild from the ground up. She is also getting an air shifter.
The display was in front of Cody's truck, awaiting the new engine, and his sister's car, Nichole. Nichole recently graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Physiology from Iowa State and is enrolled at Lewis University for a Nursing degree. She stated the commute for weekend racing is going to be a lot better!
A couple of weeks back, I saw a Facebook post that Herman Zehnder, five time Route 66 Track Champion, was looking for a ride. I found Herman and his brother Joe. They explained that Herman had installed a throttle stop on the his Mustang in order to run Super Street and Super Pro. He has a quick disconnect to disable it, if needed. He is looking for a different class car to enhance his chances to make the Division 3 Championships at Norwalk in 2020. If anyone knows of a ride, hit him up. Also Joe has been campaigning his white Mustang convertible in the Sportsman Class. However in the past, he drove a Camaro. He purchased a Camaro awhile back, however he hurt the motor. The car has been repaired and the plan is to drive the Camaro in 2020.
On Saturday afternoon, Car Chix held a calendar autograph session with:
Natalie Hirschfield - Ms. April
Kimberly Deutsch - Ms. June
Kamryn Schubbe - Ms. September
Ashley Finney - Ms. October
Stephanie Long - Ms. December
Right across from the Car Chix trailer was one of the most popular cars on display. The Dodge Daytona "Dauntless" Pro Mod of Motor Trend TV's Garage Squad's Joe Zolper. Joe completed this car in 2019 and was seen racing at the Route 66 Raceway "No Prep" TV show.
Todd Trench was signing up his team cars at the Route 66 booth and I had to ask who was driving this year? An earlier Facebook post, indicated that Todd may have been contemplating a return to the driver's seat of one their two dragsters. At this time TJ and Tori will both be driving their respective cars.
Another of my favorite cars was on display. The Nostalgia Funny Car of Rocky Ausec, "Solid Rock"
Hanging with Rocky for the show was Dennis Salzwimmer, President of the Great Lakes Nostalgia Funny Car Circuit. For 2020, they have 14 nostalgia funny cars running 12 events. They will be making a stop in August at Route 66 Raceway.
The Junior Drag Racers were all on display. If you don't know what Junior Drag Racing is, it is this. Children ages 5-17 drive half-scale dragsters in several classes. Each driver is licensed by participating in a training program prior to racing. The "juniors" are the future of the sport.
The fun part of attending the Expo is, reuniting with friends in preparation for the upcoming race season. Bruce Boyle had his Camaro displayed in the NMCA area. Bruce purchased the Camaro a couple of years back, however had not really done a lot to it. In preparation, for racing in six National events and other races throughout the season, he went through the entire car. Now he knows exactly what's in the car.
I also met with Jim Luckett and John Hulbert of Illinois Beat the Heat. I asked John if his car was different car and learned that he had it painted and restored the name "Law and Order" to the doors. They already have numerous events scheduled including several at Cordova and the Nationals at Route 66.
Here are some more images of the Expo.
This was a good weekend to get pumped for the upcoming 2020 race season. The Expo provided a venue to renew friendships, see new products and cool cars. The crowds were good, especially after a year off. Now it is time to start racing. Can't wait!