NEW: I'm extremely sad to say that this was my last involvement with the Hot Rod of the Year and the company that puts it on, where my position as Editor was "eliminated". The award was by baby and I'm extremely proud of how it matured. I'm even more proud of everyone who participated and honored by the friends I made. Thanks for everything. OK, last Friday was the "on the road" portion of the XXXX Hot Rod of the Year competition in Indy and DAMN it was awesome!!!! The weather forecast wasn't looking good with thunderstorms and over an inch of rain slated for the day, but did that stop the 40 hot rodders from doing their thing? Hell no! We left IMS at 10:00am for the 150-mile reliability run, still dry. Road work and a detour caused some confusion getting to A Summer Place, but everyone made it to the lunch stop at the miniature '50s town. Killer cheeseburgers, fries and banana splits all around with proceeds going to A Home For Every Child charity - over $1000. We took off to run the 1/8-mile drags at the Muncie Dragway just as the rain started to creep in. It came down off and on all the way to Muncie, which had remained dry. After a quick instructional session and wait for the ambulance, rodders started to pair off for their run down the strip. Pretty much everyone gave their best try at a burnout and a hard pass. Even the guys working the track had huge smiles. The rain hit us as the last few pairs made their passes. After all of the runs were complete everyone headed back to IMS for the final checkpoint. This is when is started to POUR. I mean it freaking came down in buckets. It was surreal to see all of these guys in fenderless coupes and especially roadsters muscling their way through the wet stuff - and by surreal I mean FUCKING COOL! Everyone made it back to IMS in time for a cruise around the famous Brickyard. Saturday found all of the HROTY participants in a special parking area right in the middle of Gasoline Alley. This is when the crappy part started for those of us who had to cull the 40 down to five finalists and then to one winner. We usually come to a decision on Saturday, but the five were so close that we all decided to sleep on it and weren't able to decide the top car until almost 1pm Sunday afternoon. In the end it was George Poteet's '34 (built by Dave Lane) that came out on top, but it was so close that I hope all of the finalists felt like winners. Here are some random shots from throughout the two days... Gathering for the drivers meeting. I love that a lot of the guys have participated every year and several say it's the best day of hot rodding out of the whole year. Now that's a compliment. The group gathered at A Summer Place.