River Festival

BlackTop Nationals car show: a first for Riverfest

A couple checks out the cars along Douglas in front of Century II as they take in the BlackTop Nationals. (Aug. 21, 2015)
A couple checks out the cars along Douglas in front of Century II as they take in the BlackTop Nationals. (Aug. 21, 2015) File photo

The event: seventh annual BlackTop Nationals car show in downtown Wichita

This is the first year that BlackTop Nationals is joining Riverfest – for a marriage of one of the biggest area car shows and Wichita’s signature community festival.

One of the benefits of a BlackTop show in June – it had been held in August in years past – will be a chance for cooler weather, said BlackTop event organizer Sam Hale. If it rains, the car show will go on.

BlackTop is known for its hands-on displays of new Ford products. Midwest Ford Dealers owns and presents the show. Wichita Festivals, the nonprofit corporation that puts on Riverfest, is producing the show.

When and where: Most of the show events are June 9-11 in Century II Expo Hall, 225 W. Douglas, and the surrounding area.

What to see and do: This year’s show includes cars you might never see again, such as a red 1919 Jones Model 28A – built in Wichita nearly 100 years ago.

The Jones car will be part of the Admiral’s Collection, a display of up to 80 select vehicles inside Expo Hall. The special display will include some cars that have never been shown in Wichita – or anywhere, Hale said. The cars in the admiral’s display are by invitation only.

Besides the century-old Jones car, the display will include examples of one of the most celebrated “muscle” cars of the 1960s and 1970s, the Pontiac GTO.

A Riverfest button is required for admission to the admiral’s display.

Hundreds of cars: The outdoor show will include everything from Model T’s to late-model Mustangs and Camaros, originals, various foreign and domestic makes, custom and rat rods. The outdoor show will be outside Expo Hall in the parking lot south of the Wichita Public Library and on a closed portion of Main. Hale hopes the show will draw around 400 vehicles.

If you are going to show a car outside: Spaces will be filled as cars arrive. Enter off Waterman just west of Main. Entry fees are $20 for a nonjudged car, $30 for a judged vehicle. The fees include a Riverfest button. Winners of judged classes will receive trophies hand-made with used auto parts by the HellKat Racers Club.

Be respectful: People viewing cars are asked to be respectful and not touch any vehicle without asking permission, Hale said.

Ford displays:

▪ Ford Ride and Drive Experience: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. June 8-11, South Main between English and Century II Drive; lets you experience a Mustang Shelby GT350R or Focus RS on a closed course and see how a professional driver handles the car.

Ford offered attendees to their "Ride and Drive" event a free hot lap around a track with a professional driver in a brand-new Ford Mustang. (Aug. 22, 2015)

▪ Ford Dyno Drag: 6-9 p.m. June 9 and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. June 10-11, on stage in Century II Expo Hall; gives the sensation of racing a Mustang at speeds up to 110 mph, without actually moving.

▪ Ford Display: 6-9 p.m. June 9 and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. June 10-11; line-up of Ford vehicles and technology.


▪ BlackTop Nationals Autocross: 1-6 p.m. June 10, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 11, parking lot on west side of Seneca across from Mid-America All Indian Center; lets you use your own vehicle on a timed obstacle course; $5 fee, on-site registration.

Before this rare 1939 Cadillac came into the possession of Rick Nuckolls, it was offered to vintage car collector and Hollywood celebrity Jay Leno. The recently-restored car is on display this weekend inside Century II at the BlackTop Nationals.

The sixth annual BlackTop Nationals will be at and around Century II on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Around 100,000 people are expected at the event this year. (Video by Fernando Salazar)

For more information about BlackTop Nationals: Go to www.wichitariverfest.com, e-mail Blacktop@wichitafestivals.com or call 316-267-2817.

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