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2023 Grand National Roadster Show By Travis Scanlan of

A few years ago I was at a Social Distortion concert in the city of Lawrence, KS. Something about the band, the sound, the energy, it all worked together and I came out of the show knowing that I needed to Reach For The Sky and start doing some bigger things with my life. I decided that it was time to hit some of the big bucket list shows and go on amazing road trips. Shortly after that I made plans to attend the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, CA for the first time. January seemed a great time to head to California for this Kansas boy. So, since 2016 I have attended all but 1 of the GNRS events. Each time I think the same thing that I thought that very first time, I CAN’T miss this ever again. This year, my new bride by my side, it was time to head back out to CA to see the Grandaddy Of Them All. For the 73rd GNRS, the weather was beautiful and this year the state of CA did not have any silly rules in place about attending the event, which meant the crowds felt bigger than I’ve ever seen. The show encompasses 8 buildings of the Pomona Fairplex, and new for 2022 and 2023, you can register your car to be one of the cars that parks between the buildings for Friday, Saturday & Sunday. So in addition to the roughly 1,000 cars in the buildings, there were at least as many parked outside. One of the coolest parts of the Fairplex property is that one of the buildings houses the NHRA Museum, if you have never been, this is a must see. It’s a great way to start the day on Friday, hit the museum before the show and get an extra dose of hot rod and drag racing awesomeness. Every year the show takes Building 9 and uses it to create a special themed display, this year the whole building was filled with trucks. Trucks was a bit of a loose term as they had plenty of vans, El Caminos & Rancheros. It was quite the display! My favorite seems to always be the Suede Palace as it’s filled with more traditionally styled hot rods and kustoms. The biggest awards given away at the GNRS are the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award and the Al Slonaker Memorial Award. Of course the AMBR needs to go to a Roadster, and part of the rules are that the roadster needs to debut at the GNRS. The Slonaker award goes to the best non roadster entered into the show. This year the AMBR was won by Vintage Air founder Jack Chisenhall and his black 32 Ford and the Slonaker Award was won by George and Angela Eliacostas’ 1960 Buick Invicta Custom built by Cal Automotive Creations. From a great experience at a concert I changed my path slightly, and since then I can honestly say it’s been better than I expected. The Grand National Roadster Show is now a must attend event for me and if you have not been, it needs to be on your list as well.

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