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Auto Racing

Route 66 Classic ‘a trip down memory lane’

JOLIET – Another exciting year at the Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway is winding down with one of the last big events of the season happening this weekend.

The D’Arcy Buick GMC Route 66 Classic returns Saturday at Route 66 Raceway for its eighth year with a day that will be packed full of old cars on display, drag racing and a midway featuring a nostalgic touch with bands providing music with food available. The event is designed to bring back fond memories of the early days of drag racing.

“We always want to have weekends where something’s going on at Route 66 Raceway that’s new or different, and this weekend we have the D’Arcy Buick GMC Route 66 Classic,” director of communications Denny Hartwig said. “This is what we like to call a trip down memory lane, and there’s several different events built into this. We have a car show, a pin-up contest and drag racing where we pay homage to the hot rod culture. The classic car cruise-in is another really fun part of this event and showcases cars that are 1987 and older.

“There’s a little bit of something for everybody at this event. We’ve got mega milkshakes and mom’s meatloaf sandwiches, live bands and grudge match racing. In the past, we’ve had officials from Grundy and Will counties racing head-to-head against each other in identically prepared vehicles provided by D’Arcy Buick GMC that will benefit charity. It’s been a big hit in the past. We’ve definitely had some fun with some of the guys, and I think the last couple of years Grundy County has kicked Will County’s butts, so maybe they’ll turn it around.”

Racing on the track will feature about 150 cars from 1987 or earlier, and they will compete in a variety of divisions. The Classic Car Cruise-In can be joined by anyone who has a vehicle from 1987 or earlier. Attendees can enter the event for $25 between 10 a.m. and noon, which includes all that are in the vehicle. And grudge matches between Will and Grundy county officials will take place for the fourth year on the dragstrip.

For the third year there’s a pin-up contest to determine who will win the honor as “Miss Classic.” There also will be a area where air-brushing and pin-striping will be done, two bands will be on hand and food and drink will be available.

The last few months have been hectic at the racetracks that are located on Route 53 on Joliet’s south side.

“This week it’s Classic and September is Super Chevy to wrap up the season, so it’s been a busy time,” Hartwig said. “Then we’ll go to our offseason and our planning time. But it also goes beyond auto racing. We have 5K races, a warrior dash and the Truck-or-Treat 5K Halloween race. We definitely try to maximize these facilities and give as much entertainment value to our Will County family as possible and provide a good platform for their entertainment needs.”

Ticket prices for the D’Arcy Buick GMC Route 66 Classic are $18 in advance, $22 on the day of the race and $25 for the car cruise-in. Children ages 12 and younger are $5, while parking at the raceway is $5. Racers and spectators can enter at Gate 11 off of Route 53 while those in the car show will enter at Gate 14 off of Schweizer Road. The gates open at 10 a.m. with the opening ceremonies for racing to begin at 6 p.m.

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