August 25, 2011

BlackTop Nationals: Start your engines

BlackTop Nationals, one of the region’s largest car shows, complete with competitions, displays, vendors, a beer garden, food courts and live music, is rolling into town this weekend for the second year.

Organizers have extended hours and added several new activities to the event, which is scheduled for today through Sunday in and around Century II in downtown Wichita, with a couple of events scheduled for Park City.

“Whether you’re into cars or not, it’s just a great family fun event,” said Jim Petty, advisory board member for BlackTop Nationals.

Last year’s BlackTop Nationals drew more than 600 cars, trucks and motorcycles and attracted an estimated 140,000 people.

Organizers are adding new events this year in hopes of attracting even more people and cementing the event as an anticipated August attraction for years to come. Returning attractions include car and motorcycle driving competitions, car shows and car sales.

But last year’s attendees will find several other new attractions as well. One of the most anticipated additions is a visit by the Arizona Precision Motorcycle Drill Team, which will perform several times Friday and Saturday.

“They are the No. 1 drill team nationwide,” said Melissa Contrestano, executive director for BlackTop Nationals. “They will be doing different stunts on a closed-off course.” Among some of the event’s other highlights:

The Park City Cruise and Burnout will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday at 61st and Hydraulic in Park City. Local hot rods and muscle cars will have the chance to legally burn rubber.

AutoCross competitions are also open to the public. The events allow people who bring their own street-legal cars to try their skills on obstacle course tracks. Both a short and long course are available and both require advance registration and a valid driver’s license. The courses are in the west parking lot of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

Kids activities will include a Kids Zone located in the Century II Expo Center featuring bounce houses, moonwalks and a paint ball area.

Mustang Hot Laps rides will be provided again this year by main sponsor Ford. The attraction is free and allows people who register to ride with professional drivers. Last year, the event always had long lines.

Beer garden, food court and bands: The Substitutes will perform from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday at Kennedy Plaza off Century II, and on Saturday, country singer Ricky Fugitt will perform. Attendees can enjoy beer in a defined area, and food courts will be available all three days.

Most events are free, but a wristband is required for the Park City Cruise and Burnout, AutoCross, Arizona Precision Motorcycle Drill Team and McPherson College, the bike challenge and the Model-T Build. There are additional fees for some activities, such as AutoCross.

Programs can be purchased in advance for $3 at local QuikTrip and Walmart stores. Event officials will hole-punch programs in exchange for wristbands. The programs and wristbands also are available on-site.

For a complete schedule, map of events and information on registration, visit blacktopnationals.com.

If you go
Where: In and around Century II Convention Center
When: Noon. to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
How much: Most events are free but a $3 wristband is required for the Park City Cruise and Burnout, AutoCross, Arizona Precision Motorcycle Drill Team, the Bike Challenge and the McPherson College Model-T Build.
For more information, visit www.blacktopnationals.com


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