Wash. D.C. Auto Show Racing Preview

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (December 26, 1997) - The Washington Auto Show opened today at the Washington Convention Center. The show is presented by the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association and this year's theme is "Racing to the Millennium".

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (December 26, 1997) - The Washington Auto Show opened today at the Washington Convention Center. The show is presented by the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association and this year's theme is "Racing to the Millennium".

From December 26th through January 3rd, visitors to the show will have the opportunity to see over 500 new cars, light trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles.

With the "Racing to the Millennium" theme, manufacturers were asked to showcase their involvement in motorsports.

Four manufacturers brought racing machinery to grace their exhibit areas. Combined with the Jeff Gordon race simulator, a great display from the SCCA and the Reactor Simulation Theatre, race fans will not go home disappointed.

Dodge brought two racing machines to this year's show. Jimmy Hensley's ride in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will delight the stock car fans. Hensley's truck is prepared by Petty Enterprises and carries the famous number 43.

The Viper GTS-R showcases Dodge's involvement in international GT racing. Vipers have been prepared by both U.S. and European teams in an effort to win endurance races at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. The Viper on display at this year's show is in the livery of the cars run on the PSR circuit this season.

In the Chevrolet area, it's a NASCAR Craftsman truck, plus the black number 3 Monte Carlo. Bring plenty of film as the kids will want to have their picture taken standing next to the "Intimidator's" car. I doubt that the driver of the black number three needs an introduction, but, it's the ride of seven time Winston Cup champion, Dale Earnhardt.

Both Hyundai and Subaru brought rally cars to highlight their exhibit areas. Subaru's Impreza 555, driven by Derek Ringer and Colin McRae to the World Rally Championship, is mounted on a downhill section of roadway in Subaru's area. It's a very dramatic way to display the car.

Kids of all ages will enjoy a chance to sit in Paul Choiniere's Michelin Pro Rally Hyundai Tiburon. Hyundai had the car made for the show circuit but it's fitted with competition gear and the kids will love having their picture taken sitting in the car.

If the Tiburon is too small for you, head over to the Jeff Gordon race simulator. This was a real race car from Jeff Gordon's 1994 season. "It got hit real hard in the back end and we couldn't run it no more" was the response when I asked if it was a real race car. Now the car has had the Sega Daytona race game built into it. You sit in Gordon's seat and grab the wheel to muscle the car around the high banks of Daytona. Big kids are invited to enjoy this one too.

Just down from the DuPont Rainbow Warrior simulator is the D.C. Region of the SCCA and their exhibit. Don Caldwell has put together a kiddie ride and three racing sports cars. Most notable is the Ferrari 355 of Jim Kenton from the Ferrari Challenge Series. The Ferrari Challenge series is the premier owner/driver series in North America.

While you're at the show, don't miss the small exhibit from the Leo Pascal automobilia collection. Of particular interest to racing fans is a pennant from the 1910 running of the Vanderbilt Cup Race. These early pennants have commanded over one thousand dollars in recent auctions. They are rarely seen outside of private collections.

Throw in a ride in the Reactor Simulation Theatre and you've got a full day of activity at the Washington Auto Show.

The Washington Auto Show's web site is at http://www.washingtonautoshow.com

David Reininger - Motorsport News International

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Series General
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Paul Choiniere , Colin McRae , Jimmy Hensley , Derek Ringer