BlackTop Nationals getting ready for 2013 event

The idea for BlackTop Nationals came to Rick Nuckolls and Ron Hawkins as they criss-crossed the country to attend car shows in other cities.

“Every time we left Chicago, St. Louis or Denver we thought, ‘Why don’t we have something like this in Wichita?’ ” Nuckolls said.

He and Hawkins spoke with reporters Tuesday in advance of the fourth annual BlackTop Nationals classic car and bike show, which will take place Aug. 23-25 in and around Century II.

Nuckolls said he expects the show to draw more than 150,000 people from more than 20 states. One of the draws, he said, is the chance to win a 1929 Ford Model A.

Automobile history is a big part of the event, said Jim Petty, a local racing enthusiast. He said NASCAR Hall of Fame historian Buz McKim will give a talk at the event, and the Ford Motor Company plans to show off a collection of its cars dating back to the early 20th century.

The Wichita area has strong ties to the history of the automobile, Nuckolls said.

“So many people here work with sheet metal in the aircraft industry, so they have the talent and the skills to build custom cars,” Nuckolls said.

In addition to the car show, visitors to BlackTop Nationals can also turn their own cars into race cars at the autocross, where they can navigate a course of cones set up at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, 300 S. Sycamore.

Visitors can also experience tethered hot air balloon rides, a motorcycle rally and rides with professional drivers. Admission is $5 per day.

For a full event schedule or to register for the car show, visit

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