Humans love speed. It's in our genes, and we can't help but crave it. Whether running, driving cars, or riding roller coasters, we love the feeling of being one step ahead of the pack. And there's nothing quite as satisfying as crossing the finish line first.
Now, a new exhibition at The Garage celebrates this love for speed.
"Chasing The Checkered Flag" features an impressive roster of vehicles, including the 1991 Daytona 500 Winning Chevrolet Lumina.
While you would expect an exhibit celebrating speed to include cars, this exhibit isn't solely about cars.
"It's a little bit of everybody," said Tom Pestinger, President of the Board at The Garage. "I mean, it could be a 12-year-old girl riding that motorcycle. That's amazing. Then, on the other hand, we have RC Williams, a world record holder in 1968, and his dragster sitting in there. I mean, that's huge."
Michelle Peck, Executive Director, added, "What is so cool about the show is the amount of Salina and Kansas racers that have been so supportive. They've loaned their cars and trucks as a donation to The Garage to help tell their stories on the track. The vehicles have come from all across the Midwest.”
The Kawasaki KX112 motorcycle is owned and driven by Jaelyn Wishon of Salina. Wishon has been competing for four years, traveling around the Midwest. She was voted "Most Improved Rider in Kansas" and is currently 1st in Girl's KMCS, 2nd in Women's KMCS, 4th in Supermini, and 5th in 85 Sr. KMCS.
The exhibit also boasts a world record-holding Studebaker truck purchased from a salvage yard in 2003 and achieved a record speed of 227mph in the AA/MP class. This Studebaker sports a 622 cubic inch big block Chevrolet V8 with over 1,400 horsepower. The truck's owner, Norris Anderson, built this truck in his shop in Jamestown, KS (near Concordia).
"What's cool about it is there's no custom frame. This isn't fiberglass. This is a full steel Studebaker pickup truck. This was meant as a work vehicle, and he took it and did 227 miles an hour," said Matthew Miller-Wells, Director of Education at The Garage.
One of the biggest draws for the exhibit is the 1991 Daytona 500 winner, known as "Willard." This 1991 Chevrolet Lumina, owned by Richard Morrison of Salina, was driven by Ernie Irvan in the memorable 1991 NASCAR race. During the race, Irvan pulled ahead of Dale Earnhardt Sr. in Willard before running out of gas on the last stretch and coasting to the finish under caution.
While the vehicles capture much of the attention, "Chasing The Checkered Flag" also celebrates the people behind and inside these vehicles.
Miller-Wells said, "We're trying to highlight not just the cars but the drivers, the tracks that they were on, and the relationships. The vehicle is one thing, the drivers another, and we highlight these people, how they got started, and some of their big achievements."
Chasing The Checkered Flag runs through the end of December.
The Garage is open to the public Thursdays from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, Fridays & Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sundays from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
(The Garage will be closed Thanksgiving and Black Friday but will be open Thanksgiving weekend).