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First Fridays, Cruise-in draw car fans and professional racers

Goshen’s Main Street was crowded July 4 with locals who set up lawn chairs and sat on curbs to watch the annual cruise-in.

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 8:46 p.m.

Carl Marshall and Martha Kinney have been to the Goshen cruise-in a time or two.

They set up lawn chairs on Main Street, squinting into the sun and keeping an eye out for Marshall’s son, CJ.

Marshall has been rebuilding Jeeps and four-wheel drives since he was about fifteen years old. He’s been working on a Jeep Comanche pickup with CJ since his son was the same age. Now 19, CJ cruised in a friend’s Jeep this year.

“I’d like to build something like that,” Marshall said, gesturing to a boxy orange car marked “The Thing.” “You get ideas when you look at some of the toys out here.”

Locals lined the streets July 4 at Goshen’s First Fridays Cruise-In. People set up chairs, sat on curbs and grabbed city benches to watch.

The cruise-in is an annual tradition that draws die-hards and newbies alike to watch vintage cars roll down Goshen’s Main Street.

Engines revved next to Nila Newcomer and her husband Donald. The pair were taking photos of their favorite cars.

“Just to have something to do,” Nila Newcomer laughed.

The Newcomers have a restored 1952 pickup truck in their driveway but didn’t cruise today. Instead, they set up lawn chairs an hour before the event so they could get good seats.

Just around the corner, Mike Roy parked his 1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo after about an hour of cruising.

He’s worked on the Monte Carlo for about 20 years now, and built it into a drag race car with almost 2400 horsepower.

On a quarter-mile race, the muscle car’s fastest time is 7.64 seconds, or 187 miles per hour.

Roy and his Monte Carlo are going to Hotrod magazine’s Drag Week, a 5-day, 1000-mile race that starts September 8. This will be his 9th year competing, and he’s placed in the top three every year. That includes three first-place wins.

“It’s probably one of the best finishing cars,” he said. 

The final stretch at the end of each race day is the hardest.

“Some people don’t actually finish.”

An auto mechanic by trade, Roy has sometimes had to change broken transmissions in a parking lot during the race and drive in 100-degree weather.

“It’s more fun to talk about it afterwards,” he joked.

Car enthusiasts came up to ask about the Monte Carlo while Roy was parked, and whistled when they heard what it could do.

Powerful as the car is, it still drives well at cruise-ins like the one in Goshen, and Roy takes it to slower cruises and small races to get it ready for the big race in September.

“It all boils down to the preparation,” he said. “A little bit of luck goes a long way.”


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