Man & Machine Meet in Detroit

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We are just about at the halfway point. A little less than three months since the last IndyCar race weekend and a little less than three months until the next one! We as race fans, and specifically IndyCar fanatics, have been biding our time during the offseason – last month I suggested a daytrip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for some time spent at the Hall of Fame & Museum to help with those wintertime blues, and hopefully you were blessed to enjoy the company of friends and family over the Holidays. Then of course, last weekend we sufficed our need for speed (or at least the ability to read about it on Twitter) with the Roar Before the 24 along with all the news and testing notes that came out of it. But what now, you ask? Don’t worry, I have you covered…

One of my favorite off-season traditions is heading to the Cleveland Auto Show in March, but this year I decided to do something I haven’t done in about ten years and I couldn’t be more excited about it – in addition to the Cleveland event, I’ll be heading up to Detroit this month for the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center. If you’ve never been to this show, I highly suggest checking it out – it’s always phenomenal, from the presentation itself to the sheer variety and number of vehicles (over 500 this time around) on display, this is not a show to miss. Just under a million visitors attended the show in 2013 where 71 different vehicles made their debut, so you can only imagine how the 2014 event will top that. Of course, the best way to find out is to experience it first-hand.

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While the Press Preview kicks off in 4 days, the public show will open up 9 days from now, its duration lasting just as long. Inevitably, there are always displays related to racing and of course I fully enjoy those, even though they are not regarding my favorite series – however I was pleasantly surprised this week to find out that the IndyCar presence will be relatively substantial this time around! First off, there will be an exhibit and information area in Michigan Hall, for the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Doubleheader sponsored by Chevrolet. Chevrolet will also have the Borg Warner Trophy on display on its main exhibition floor – I am very much looking forward to seeing the newest addition to this work of art: Tony Kanaan’s image (between the newly-retired Dario Franchitti and late Dan Wheldon), marking his first Indianapolis 500 win, in 2013. It’s no surprise that Chevrolet is featuring so many pieces from IndyCar, seeing as how they have won the IndyCar Series Manufacturer Championship for the second season in a row – and yes, that victor’s trophy will also be on display during the annual event at Cobo Center this month.

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Still not enough? Well that’s okay, we’re not done yet! As great as it is to see those iconic trophies, let’s not forget that we are indeed at an AUTO show, so of course Chevrolet is providing us with some DW12’s in person! Both Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves’ IndyCars will be on display for Auto Show visitors, along with their firesuits & helmets. I think this is a great feature for Chevrolet to take the time and space to put on view – not only will it excite IndyCar fans and allow them to get up close to these amazing machines and pieces of history, but it will undoubtedly spark the interest of those who perhaps don’t know as much about the sport that we love so much and with any luck, they will check out the series or even come to the Dual in Detroit at the end of May!

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Now, seeing as how the Belle Isle race is sponsored by Chevrolet, it’s no surprise that they are the manufacturer promoting IndyCar at NAIAS so heavily. However, they are not the only company doing so – Honda will have a replica of Scott Dixon’s 2013 Championship-winning car on display in their exhibit as well.  And last but certainly not least, there will be an appearance by Charlie Kimball during the public show. He will be at the event on Friday, January 24th to meet and greet with visitors, so make sure you come say hello and congratulate him on this first IndyCar Series win at Mid-Ohio this past season!

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I for one am very much looking forward to spending a full Midwest winter day inside, indulging in the amazing craftsmanship of so many incredible vehicles, enjoying all the exhibits featuring my favorite racing series, and more than likely talking to and meeting like-minded individuals and sharing ideas in what promises to be some great conversations. While loving cars for their aesthetic appeal, sheer power and modern technological advancements is in and of itself, more than enough to make us keep coming back to these shows, I think another big advantage to coming out and embracing your passion is finding others who have the same love. During the season, it’s not hard to find fellow fans – at the track, on social media, at industry events – but in the offseason, making those connections is all that much sweeter and makes us truly understand and appreciate not only the importance of that link between man & machine, but mankind itself. Hope to see you in Detroit!

The North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit runs it’s public show January 18th – 26th. Times and ticket prices are available here. There is also information available on the Industry Preview on January 15 & 16th as well as the Charity Preview on January 17th if you are interested.