The East Coast Nationals is a two-day car and truck show put on by Ashton Harwood, with lots of help from his family and friends. A couple of years back, Ashton had to move his show from down the street and around the corner at the Showplace, so he cut a deal with Richmond International Raceway, in Richmond, Virginia, to use one of the large parking lots on the speedway grounds to hold his show. There was plenty of room for all the participants to spread out, since this show is open to cars as well as trucks. Also, the Richmond International Raceway is one of the stops on the Nextel Stock Car racing series.
The gates opened at noon on Friday, with cars and trucks from all up and down the East Coast rolling in to register, but the festivities really didn't get underway till Saturday. By Friday evening, the parking lots around the Holiday Inn by the airport and some of the surrounding hotels were full of hot-looking rides. On Saturday morning, custom rides started rolling in to claim their spots on the show field. More than 500 cars and trucks covered the show area, which was located just outside Turns Three and Four of the three-quarter-mile raceway. As soon as most of the vehicles had been registered, Ashton and his crack crew of judges started to work to get all the vehicles judged before the evening activities got underway.
There were plenty of activities to keep everyone busy during the afternoon, such as club games, as well as a DJ spinning the latest tunes, and a large vendor area with the latest goods to trick out your ride. While all of this was going on, one of the local audio companies was hosting an audio competition. It was very popular and generated a long line of vehicles waiting to show what their systems could do.
As the sun started to go down on Saturday, the crowd started to gather in front of the stage located in the middle of the vendor area for the nighttime activities. When the last gleaming ray of sun disappeared below the horizon, 12 lovely ladies took over the stage to show off their attributes in hopes of winning the cash and trophy that was up for grabs. After several rounds of judging, a Miss ECN was finally chosen. Then, things really got wild, when it was time for the wet T-shirt contest. All the girls from the bikini contest put on T-shirts and headed back onto the stage to get watered down. It was a wild show, and the crowd of mostly guys really appreciated it.
Things began to pick up slowly on Sunday, as the participants began to make their way back to the speedway parking lot in anticipation of the trophy presentation. There were so many trophies that the presentation lasted for two hours. At press time, Ashton was planning on a return to the Richmond International Raceway next year. If you want to spend a wild weekend and attend a great show, keep checking the ECN website at www.eastcoastnationals.com. We'll see you there.