Five months.

That’s all that stands between us and a painful, fiery Mayan meltdown. But look on the bright side—that’s five months to enjoy some of the best events in hot rodding before that Mayan calendar runs out on December 21, 2012.

But seriously, there really are only five months left in the year and even less time left in the summer. Fortunately, you’ve still got time to get out and enjoy some of the best shows and races in hot rodding.

Who says?

You do. You shared your opinions on the best automotive events via Summit Racing’s Facebook page. Below are the six events you should check out between now and the end of the year, according to the Facebook feedback. And just in case those Mayans are wrong, we included some other events that made your list for early next year!

Hot August Nights, Reno, NV

Date: August 7-12

Location: Downtown Reno

The Lowdown: Every August (duh!), this show brings the best in hot rods, street rods, and trucks to Reno for a week (give or take a day) of cruising, shows, swap meets, auctions, music, and entertainment. Plus, you get the usual lights, sights, and sounds of Reno as your backdrop. What better place to go for a cruise?

Facebook Says: “Hot August Nights in Reno! 2012 is going to be a memorable week-long gathering this summer,” – Rick W.

We Say: Hot August Nights is memorable every year—since 1986!

SEMA Show, Las Vegas, NV

Date: October 30- November 2

Location: Las Vegas Convention Center

The Lowdown: The SEMA show is the aftermarket industry’s #1 trade show and one of the world’s largest trade shows. It features over 3.2 million square feet of aftermarket parts, concept vehicles, unique hot rods and customs. The good news: All the leading aftermarket brands and hot rodding personalities are there. The bad news: You can’t be—it’s a trade-only event and not open to the general public.

Since you likely can’t be at the show, OnAllCylinders will bring the show to you. We’ll have photos, breaking news, and live updates from this year’s show—subscribe to OnAllCylinders now (shameless plug.)

Facebook Says: “SEMA…I hope I get invited again…and the Daytona 500. I guess it depends on what you’re looking for.” – Gregory C.

We Say: We hope to see you there, Gregory!

NHRA U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis, IN

Date: August 29-September 3

Location: Lucas Oil Raceway

The Lowdown: Billed as the biggest, oldest, richest, and most prestigious drag race in the world, the U.S. Nationals is the NHRA’s grandest event. It also takes place at one of the most fabled dragstrips in the world and features some of the most competitive, high-stakes racing. Some say a career isn’t complete without a Wally from Indy.

Facebook Says: “The Indy Nationals. THE BIG GO.” – Daniel B.

We Say: Enough said.

Night Under Fire, Norwalk, OH

Date: August 11

Location: Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park

The Lowdown: The Baders, who own Summit Motorsports Park, consistently host some of the best motorsports and motorsports-related events in the country, and Night Under Fire is one of their signature events. In addition to hotly contested sportsman racing, the show draws some of the biggest personalities in drag racing for autographs and fun exhibition racing—John Force, Courtney Force, Alexis DeJoria, and more. Plus, there’s jet dragsters, jet Kenworth trucks, nostalgia gassers, fireworks, and much more.

Facebook Says: “Night under fire 100%. Best show ever. Love it.” – Felicia M.

We Say: We’re kind of partial to it, too—it’s practically in our backyard. Honestly, though, the entertainment value is plain hard-to-beat. Take the whole family.

Woodward Dream Cruise, Detroit, MI

Date: August 18

Location: Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI

The Lowdown: Created as a small fundraiser, the Woodward Dream Cruise is now the largest one-day automotive event, drawing 1.5 million people and 50,000 classic cars each year. The 16-mile cruise takes place on greater Detroit’s legendary Woodward Avenue and winds through suburbs like Royal Oak, Pontiac, Ferndale, Bloomfield Hills, and others. Along the way, each community offers unique displays, car shows, concerts, and other activities.

Facebook Says: “Woodward Dream Cruise, hands down! Biggest car show/cruise in the world.” – Eric R.

We Say: We just said that.

Local Cruise-Ins, Anywhere, USA

Date: All year long, depending on your location.

Location: Drive-ins, restaurants, town centers—anywhere, really!

The Lowdown: As many of Summit Racing’s Facebook fans pointed out, a local cruise-in can often be a can’t-miss event. We couldn’t agree more. Sure, you’ll see some of the same cars from week to week, but local cruise-ins are a chance to hang out with old friends and chat with fellow enthusiasts. It’s grassroots hot rodding at its best. The same goes for bracket racing at the local track.

Facebook Says: “All of them, where ever there’s a car show you will always see something you never expected or you never thought to see. Long Live All Auto Shows!!!!!!” – Henry G.

We Say: We agree. In fact, we’ll try to bring you photos from some of our favorites local cruise-ins before the summer’s up.


You also recommended these events, but they’ve come and gone for 2012. Look for them in 2013 (Mayans willing).

Hot Rod Power Tour (TBD)

King of Hammers (Johnson Valley, CA)

Daytona 500 (Daytona, FL)

Indianapolis 500 (Indianapolis, IN)

Back to the 50s Weekend (St. Paul, MN)

Detroit AutoRama (Detroit, MI)

Holley LS Fest (Bowling Green, KY)

Street Rod Nationals (Louisville, KY)

24 Hours of LeMans (France)

Grand National Roadster Show (Pomona, CA)

Cruisin’ Ocean City (Ocean City, MD)

Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.