Today was day one of the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow 11th Annual Race & Performance Expo. I heard a great analogy that this is the spring training for racing in our area! First up today for me was the Women in Race & Performance seminar. It was moderated by Car Chix' Jeannette DesJardins and consisted of a panel with Marina Anderson, driver/owner/builder of the Anderson Family A-Fuel Dragster, Heather Dorethy, Technical Sales Representative at Precision Turbo & Engine and Natalie Decker driver of the Venturini Motorsports #25 Toyota in the ARCA Series. Natalie won the pole and finshed fifth at Daytona this past week.
The seminar hit on all facets of motorsports from social media, personal life/work balance, sponsorhips, etc. It was interesting to hear from both sides of the sponsorship topic. Heather's company awards sponsorships and Marina and Natalie, being drivers are looking for sponsors. All told it was an excellent seminar. Another interesting part of the seminar was that Natalie was accompanied by her owner Bill Venturini Sr. and their Pr rep Tom Venturini. I have followed Bill's career for a long time and Tom always visits with us in the Media Center when ARCA races at Chicagoland.
A few more images from the seminar.
After the seminar I went looking for the Byron Dragway booth. Late last year a shockwave was sent through the local drag racing community when it was announced that the Vangsness family putting the Dragway on the market for sale. There is nothing new on that front to announce, but Byron is moving forward with an entire season schedule to include an enhanced Firecracker Bracket Nationals with a Saturday, $100,000 to win race! The general manager, Randy Simpson explained the slots are nearly complete. On Friday and Sunday the "to win" purse is $30,000/$50,000 respectively.
I next ran into Brian Nolte from Grundy County Speedway. This year Grundy County is going to add the POWERI Midget Series to their schedule. He stated it will be a mixture of Friday and Saturday night shows.
There was also a large contingent of Junior Dragsters on display.
I learned that Kamryn Schubbe has a new car this year designed specifically to run in the Midwest Junior Series.
During the day there were two autograph sessions. One included many of the top local racers, including current part-time Top Fuel Driver TJ Zizzo, Dale Creasy, Rocky Ausec, Kim Harris Panozzo, Cody Mediesis, Joe Malfeo, Garage Squad's Joe Zolper, Tom Motry, amongst many.
The other, was the Car Chix Calendar "Girls". Amongst those signing, were Jenny Zolper and her daughter Ruby. Jenny drives her Plymouth Duster Pro Mod and Ruby is a Junior Dragster.
Here are some more images from the day. I had many conversations with friends that will continue tomorrow. It was a fun day seeing all the good friends and racers. Until tomorrow.