Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008 | midnight
Calling all car enthusiasts
What: Super Run Car Show
When: Sept. 25-28
Where: The District at Green Valley Ranch and Henderson's downtown Water Street District
More information: www.superrun.com
Water Street was lined with shiny, chromed-out cars representing just about every year, make and model one might expect at a car show.
But on the first full day of Henderson's Super Run Car Show, Henderson drivers Scott Palmer and his son Robert Palmer stole the show with their tricked-out Ford Pintos.
In the crowd-favorite burnout competition, which saw drivers locking their cars in place and redlining their engines to see whose tires could make the biggest plume of smoke, the elder Palmer and his 1971 Pinto took top honors, while the younger Palmer and his 1973 Pinto took fourth.
And if that weren't enough, second place went to a deceivingly unkempt Ford pickup — complete with a rusting paint job and a missing letter 'R' in Ford — while third went to a Chevrolet El Camino.
It was one competition in which the Chevrolet Corvettes, Pontiac GTOs and other more aesthetically pleasing cars couldn't hang.
Scott Palmer, asked for the secret to a good burnout, readily explained it has three components.
"First of all, you have to have a car that the crowd can get behind," he said. "Then, it's got to sound good. And it's got to do a nasty burnout."
"It doesn't have to be the best burnout," Robert Palmer added. "But it has to be a good one, and the crowd has to like the car."
At that, Scott Palmer smiled and nodded over at his baby.
"Who ain't going to get behind a Ford Pinto?" he said.
Scott Palmer said he decided to put a V-8 engine in his Pinto back in the 1970s, when most gearheads he knew were dropping V-8s into Chevy Vegas. The resulting power, he said, is so ridiculous that he used to take the car drag racing.
"The weight-to-horsepower ratio in this thing is so out of whack, that I can throw any tires on there and it will just fry them," he said.
In addition, the Pinto brings back happy memories for people at Super Run, who are at first surprised to see a Pinto, but then remember the ones that they, their friends and their families used to drive, he said.
The burnout was the biggest draw of the first day, bringing hundreds of spectators to Panama Street to watch and then select a winner by their cheering. The event is a spectacle, and the eye-stinging smoke, ear-splitting engines and acrid odor of burning rubber were small prices for watching.
Along the barriers at the event, car aficionado Roy Chandler chuckled at the competition.
"I've done this, but that was years ago, back when I was crazy and (didn't care) if I blew my motor, like these guys," he said.
Chandler, an old-school car man who has been in just about every car club and show in the Las Vegas area in the last 46 years, said Super Run has emerged as the major show for the local car community.
"It gets everybody to come out and show their cars," he said. "A lot of these cars don't leave their garage until there's an event like this. Everybody has a good time."
For the Palmer family, like many of those at Super Run, the love of all things auto is a family affair. Father and son compete, and Robert Palmer and his wife, Danielle Palmer, proudly point to their young son Ryder and announce him as the third generation.
"(Super Run) is a family-oriented, local thing that we can all get together and do cheap," Danielle Palmer said.
Robert Palmer said Super Run is the highlight of the year.
"It's the baddest event in Henderson," he said. "We look forward to this event all year long. When we leave on Sunday, we'll already be thinking about next year's show."
Jeremy Twitchell can be reached at 990-8928 or [email protected].