2018 Cynthiana Rod Run Burnout Contest Action Photos: Tire Smoking Fun in Kentucky!


2018 Cynthiana Rod Run Burnout Contest Action Photos: Tire Smoking Fun in Kentucky!

(Words and photos by Doug Gregory) – Very few municipalities will allow this kind of tomfoolery to take place not only within city limits, but definitely not down town.  We know that if there is ever an incident this rare opportunity will end.  That said, the all-volunteer organizers and workers have tried to keep safety at the forefront of this popular happening.

All competitors get 2 chances to create vaporized carbon fog and wonderful, high-rpm music to the delight of the onlookers.  The rankings are, of course, subjective and this year were determined by the ladies in the Miss Rod Run lineup.  Some vehicles shown in this coverage were not entered in the contest, but were allowed to entertain the fans anyway.  The overall winner gets their name put on a fan blade of a new trophy made by event organizer George Rose.  This tradition will be carried forth until all the blades have winners on them.  The trophy is displayed in the Custom Cuts barber shop that has an automotive theme and is a fixture in the community.

First up is Kelli Bevins C-10 step-side.  This 17yr-old Junior at Scott County High does all her own wrenching along with her friend Jessie (she has a big-block ’69 Camaro).  For her first-ever event she won third and did an encore burnout that ended by throwing the carcass off one tire.  Next the chopped-top, black, Pro Street C10 of Jerry Sanders has been in this contest a few times and its big-block had no trouble spinning the steamrollers.  The rat rod-style truck (Clint Hoskins) had what looked to be a roller 5.0 Windsor Ford with pulling truck-style headers.  If the contest had been for who spun the motor the hardest it would be very hard to beat this one.  He flogged this thing as hard as I’ve ever heard in this kind of event and did it twice.  The Robert Patterson’s Fairmontwas built specifically for two events: this and drag week.  It was very impressive, but couldn’t hold still long enough to sway the judges.

Each competitor was given about 30 seconds to get their business done.  It was kept this short to avoid tire explosions and other catastrophic messes associated with this kind of mayhem.

Square-body GM trucks were popular here the last two years and this lowered long-bed (David Stidham) example did an admirable smoke show, though not aggressive enough to get the judges’ votes.  The burgundy 4th-gen Camaro of Billy Hinton left nothing on the table as the rev-limiter was clearly heard engaging before every gear change.  Smoke poured out of every crevice of this one for a long time.  Bryan Wasson’s white square-body short-bed ultimately won the event on the merit of his 2nd turn, but struggled on the 1st as they’d added some ‘good’ fuel and neglected to adjust the timing.  This rig is specifically deceptive as the small-block hiding under the patina is very healthy.  They also had a gimmick in that they soaked the tires for some colorful smoke.  Bryan is the manager at Blue Collar Auto Repair in Georgetown.  The 4wd 80s-era F150 long-bed (Dillon Hedges) was quiet and slow to get the clouds going, but once it did the truck completely disappeared.  Normally we have a few S-series trucks competing though this year only James Jett’s blue V8-powered 2nd-gen made the call.

I’ve been in burnout competitions and there are many factors that influence the outcome.  Tire composition, where your exhaust exits, and wind are just a few.  It is not something that can be objectively measured correctly.  Personally I think it’s fun to do and if the audience enjoys it then it’s a win regardless of the awards.

The orange RAM (Chris Almeida) sports a built motor and healthy boost via multiple turbos.  The sound from this would get my vote to be in the top three of all the vehicles pulling into the box.  This truck should come with a warning on the front for parents to tether small children or risk them being sucked in.  The Chad Miller’s black extended-cab RAM wasn’t particularly loud at first and though it spewed plenty of unburnt fuel, didn’t seem to be doing much.  That is until it came up on boost and wow the white smoke just exploded out of the wheelwells.  We’ve seen this old ‘Mater-looking IH 4×4 (Russel Robbins) here before and racing at Thornhill Dragway.  It has a mean-sounding small-block Chevy with a kick of nitrous.  Last year he competed on the big gumbos, but this year we spotted him swapping on some spares to perhaps get a bit more contact with the pavement.  We’re pretty sure it worked as the judges awarded him the runner-up spot.

Outside the competition this red, late-model SWB Chevy asked to give it a try and surprised us all with a way more intense and impressive burnout than expected.  At a minimum this thing has a fairly lumpy idle so it’s definitely tweaked over stock.  The owner of the big rig asked if he could try.  It’s a 2019-model Kenworth and was only six weeks old.  It spun a little, but oh boy did it torque over a whole bunch.  I’m guessing it’s got traction control.  That behemoth costs every bit of $160,000 and kudos to the owner for trying.  If I remember right the Regal has a big-block and let it sing pretty for the crowd.  I am pretty sure the silver Olds Cutlass is a regular at grudge and no-time events.  Yes it’s loud.  He held down the throttle a lot longer than I anticipated and it was quite awesome to witness a real-deal quick car blocking out the sun.

A great time was had by all.

My thanks to the many folks that put in countless hours to present such an outstanding event.  Preparations start shortly after it’s over following a thorough cleanup.  These folks review what took place, identify areas to improve, and move forward to put on the best small-town Rod Run I’ve ever been to (I’ve been going to them across much of the country since my teens).  Sure they can’t make everyone happy, but it certainly isn’t from a lack of trying.  This event has been an economic shot in the arm for Cynthiana and I see it growing and improving with the support of the communityand surrounding population.

If you don’t have plans for late August in 2019….consider a trip off the main highway to a little town in Harrison County Kentucky.

We appreciate you checking out our coverage.


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