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Friday, July 11, 2014

Blacktop Nationals less than a month away

By Mike Berry

How many of us will ever get to slip behind the wheel of a NASCAR stock car and blast around the high banks of Daytona? Or buckle into a brand-new Mustang and face off against another Mustang, launching when the Christmas tree flashes green and banging through the gears down a drag strip?

Not many, but folks who attend the third annual BlackTop Nationals Aug. 24-26 will have a chance to experience that. The Pepsi NASCAR simulator will be set up and Ford, the key presenter of the event, will have a two-car drag dyno up operating with real, live cars inside Century II.

"Lucky participants will get a chance to drag race up on stage," said Scott Majercik, Ford’s sales operations manager for the Kansas City region. Your name has to be drawn to put you in the seat.

The other big news coming out of the BTN news conference this week was that if your name is drawn, you might get a seat in your own nicely restored 1965 Mustang or astride a 2012 Harley-Davidson. Mel Hambelton Ford will hand out five keys to contestants at 1 p.m. Aug. 26 on Kennedy Plaza in front of Century II. One of those keys will start the car.

The Iron 883 Harley-Davidson will be given away at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla., at 6 p.m. that same day. You have to be present to win either prize and entry forms can be found in the official BTN program, which is packaged with a $5 wristband that gets you inside the "Million $$ Car Show" inside Century II, featuring some seriously high-end rides.

"Not every car is going to be a million-dollar car," said Carl Raines, BTN director, "but I’m guessing the vehicles are going to (total) somewhere between $5-$7 million."

The bracelet/program packages will be available beginning Wednesday at QuikTrip and Walgreens stores. There is no admission charge for outside BTN events.

Also planned is a tribute to the late Carroll Shelby, creator of the Cobra and the Shelby GT Mustangs, who died May 10.

The Wichita On Wheels Reunion, celebrating the 10th anniversary of this page, will be set up on Waterman on Aug. 25. Anyone who has had a car, truck or motorcycle featured can sign up at registration to display their vehicle in that area. Cost is $25 for non-judged vehicles, $40 for judged, and that fee covers all three days of BTN events.

We will be presenting a Publisher’s Pick and an Editor’s Choice award as part of the reunion.

Promoters are expecting more than 800 vehicles will take part in this year’s BTN show, with more than 20 separate events featured. For complete information, go to www.blacktopnationals.com.

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