Parking with the competition

By Jeffrey Fazio
DriveTime Columnist

Life can get pretty boring if we do not try new things and I am always looking for fresh ways to compete with my car. Iíve exerted a lot of time and energy looking for different types of racing venues to enter, but another way of competing has always been sitting there right under my nose Ė car shows.

Itís not that I was unaware of car shows. As a DriveTime photographer Iíve shot several beautiful show cars. Having attended numerous national drag racing events, Iíve wandered through the car shows that inevitably eat up a big section of the pit areas there as well.

The simple truth is itís just not something that ever appealed to me. My interest in cars has always been driving them fast, not parking them and wiping them down. Youíre more likely to catch me changing the spark plugs in my engine than waxing the exterior.

Not surprisingly, my car is not particularly polished. It proudly wears beat-up 15-year-old paint that is marred with the scuffs and scrapes of many battles. I frequently joke that I like to drive fast so people canít see how bad the car actually looks.

I have, however, always been impressed with the people that put tons of money and hours of work into making their cars beautiful. Although itís not my thing, I can appreciate the endeavors of others in this type of contest.

Just over a month ago I entered my first car show. It was at an international meet of Toyota MR2s in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. I didnít really expect to do well, but I figured I had more chances at this car show than most since it was specific to my type of car. I was at the event anyway so why not enter? I was surprised and delighted when they announced that I won a first place trophy. It was a rather inspiring moment and when I returned to Pennsylvania it was wonderful to place that car show award on the shelf amongst the various racing trophies.

Iím the type of person that when I taste a bit of success at something, I am tempted to try my hand at it a few more times. It was only a matter of days before I was online searching for some local car shows to enter.

Thatís when I came upon the Web site for the big Pottsville Cruise Night, This is the 13th year for this event. The cruise, which includes a car show, has typically showcased street rods and muscle cars. This event encompasses a variety of activities over three days of the weekend.

This year things changed a bit as they started the festivities a day early on Thursday evening, August 10. To start off this yearís fun, the first event was the "Generation X Sound Off & Car Show" held at the Yorkville Coney Island restaurant. This was a car show and stereo contest geared toward the sport compact and import cars. They awarded prizes for best of show, best engine, best paint, best interior, 3 places for loudest stereo & 3 places for best sounding stereo.

The event only drew about 20 cars which didnít seem too bad considering this was the first year for this show and it was on a weeknight. Even with such a small grouping of cars, there were some seriously clean cars there. Itís always interesting to see the different ways people alter and personalize their rides. It didnít take me long to feel that I was a bit out of my league as some of the enthusiasts there were obviously serious about car showing.

When they presented the awards, I canít explain how shocked I was when they announced that I won for "best engine." This was a huge surprise. This car show stuff is really kind of fun, but I could never get into sitting around that much and/or preparing a car to "show" level standards. Racing is just way too exhilarating and addicting for me.

Maybe when Iím older Iíll look into cleaning the car and sitting still for a while, but until then, Iíll just keep moving.