2023 Triple Crown of Rodding Presented by PPG

It’s Where You Can See it All … Literally.

By Brian BrennanPhotography By the Author

Truly, there are many great hot rod events throughout the calendar year. Some are indoor, or outdoor, or a combination of both. Some are famous because of their history, or what they represent, or their industry support. Yet some of the best are local while others are national in their appeal. Now there is a new event on the calendar that has everyone talking and planning for next year … the Triple Crown of Rodding presented by PPG.

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Look for this event to happen each year the weekend after Labor Day at the Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tennessee (30 miles north of Nashville). The 2024 date is September 67, 2024.

It should be noted that the Triple Crown of Rodding (TCR) presented by PPG as an award has been around since 2016 and now, beginning in 2023, it has become its own event. It has grown into a bigger and better version of itself. The event, while everything we have come to enjoy about a large gathering of hot rods, also had a feeling from a long time ago. With so many of the country’s top builders and manufacturers present it was “almost” like being back in the early days of our hobby. It was a time when everyone wanted to meet everyone and everyone wanted to make new friends.

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Plenty of great awards for great hot rods. Creativity and craftsmanship earmarked these awards, but then again you have some of the finest builders in the country making the awards so that’s expected.

Plenty of great awards for great hot rods. Creativity and craftsmanship earmarked these awards, but then again you have some of the finest builders in the country making the awards so that’s expected.

But now onto what happened this year. The competition was staggering for the contenders competing in the car groupings. It’s not often, in fact we doubt if ever, there has been an event that featured two Grand National Roadster Show America’s Most Beautiful Roadster winners, several AMBR runners-up, a current and past Slonaker winner, a Legend Cup winner, two Detroit Ridler winners, and several more Great 8 award winners. The truck category winners were also topnotch, and we can only imagine that the competition for these three TCR awards will become even more “brutal” next year.

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As far as the individuality of the awards, how about the Builder’s Pick from Roadster Shop. Presented by Phil and Jeremy Gerber, the “Gold Record” is a unique award–note the album cover, very clever.

As far as the individuality of the awards, how about the Builder’s Pick from Roadster Shop. Presented by Phil and Jeremy Gerber, the “Gold Record” is a unique award–note the album cover, very clever.

In the past, the three categories of Street Rod of the Year, Street Machine of the Year, and Street Cruiser of the Year brought out some keynote worthy hot rods. Now that the TCR has grown into its own event, it has also expanded its level of coverage. With the three car categories there are now three truck categories: Truck of the Year 72 and Earlier, Truck of the Year 73-87, and Truck of the Year 88-98.

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Taking home the ARP-sponsored Triple Crown of Rodding Street Machine of the Year was Kevin Hart for his ’70 Dodge Charger built at Kindig It Design. The Mopar also took home a CPP-sponsored Elite 10 award and the Roadster Shop Builder’s Pick.

Taking home the ARP-sponsored Triple Crown of Rodding Street Machine of the Year was Kevin Hart for his ’70 Dodge Charger built at Kindig It Design. The Mopar also took home a CPP-sponsored Elite 10 award and the Roadster Shop Builder’s Pick.

Triple Crown SG Special Gibson Guitars

In the past, the TCR award was a one-of-a-kind polished and chrome billet trophy. (Originally designed by Tom Gale of Chrysler Corporation fame and constructed and assembled through the efforts of Classic Instruments and Advanced Plating. Even the carrying case was a one-of-a-kind wooden case constructed by the Classic Instruments staff.) There are now six incredible trophies but to this there are now six incredible one-of-a-kind Gibson SG 1 guitars built and assembled by Advanced Music Products, a division of Advanced Plating. Each winner was handed a one of six custom-serialized Triple Crown SG Special guitar made of a Mahogany one-piece wooden body painted in PPG Alloway Black lacquer with a Mahogany slimtapered neck, a bound authentic Indian Rosewood fingerboard, and custom handwound, singlecoil P90 pickups … the hot rod of guitar parts. More custom touches include Orange drop capacitors, true historic compensated wraparound bridge, custom chromeplated pickguards, laser etched for each winner’s category, ARP (cars) or LMC (trucks) sponsor name on the neck, chrome truss rod cover and switch top, and vintage deluxe tuners. These guitars feature plated hardware and the internal components from Advanced Music Products, a division of Advanced Plating under Steve Tracy’s watchful eye and supervision of Gibson USA. (For those who know their guitar history you will recognize the Gibson SG 1 was produced from 1972-1975. The original Gibson SG was released in 1961. The story is told that Les Paul disliked the guitar so much he had Gibson take his name off. Now it’s the number one selling guitar. Mary Ford, Les Pauls wife, had her personal 1961 Gibson Les Paul SG recently resurface for public auction.) The Gibson guitars also come in their own TKL Vectra MC Goldcolored molded case with a Cushion-Soft plush lining, and the case is printed with the TCR and Advanced Plating logos. Coupled with these unique awards there is an automatic invitation to the Gold Cup competition at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in January 2024. To round out these awards as a Griot’s Master Car Care kit with the TCR logo patch.

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Center is Dave Kindig very pleased with taking home multiple awards, including the TCR Street Machine of the Year award presented by Gary Case (far right).
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Taking home the ARP-sponsored TCR Street Rod of the Year went to Jon Hall for his ’27 Ford roadster built at his shop and that of Greening Auto Company. July ’23 Modern Rodding cover and feature car.
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Jon Hall (left) holding the ARP-sponsored Street Rod of the Year trophy with Jesse Greening (center) of Greening Auto Company holding the one of six fully custom Triple Crown SG Special guitars from Gibson. Assembled at Advanced Music Products, a division of Advanced Plating under Steve Tracy’s direction. Bobby Alloway (right), one of the promoters of the TCR event, presented the CPP Elite 10 award as well.
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George and Angela Eliacostas took home the ARP-sponsored Street Cruiser of the Year award and a CPP Elite 10 for their amazing ’60 Buick. It also won the Slonaker and the Legend Cup awards this year. (Look for it on the pages of Modern Rodding.)
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In the newly minted LMC-sponsored Triple Crown of Rodding for trucks it was Rod Parsons who took home the Truck of the Year 72 and Earlier for his carbon-fiber ’67 Chevy pickup that is all race truck. It also took home the Ringbrothers unique trophy.
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Here is one of the six Triple Crown SG Specials guitars from Gibson in its own TKL Vectra MC Gold-colored molded case with a Cushion-Soft plush lining. Yes, all six guitars are the real deal … do we have a budding rock ’n’ roller in our future?
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Another of the LMC-sponsored TCR Truck of the Year 73-87 awards went to Ricky Holley for his two-tone ’79 Chevy.
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The LMC-sponsored TCR Truck of the Year 88-98 award went to Chris Echel for his ’97 Chevy extended cab pickup.

Builder’s Pick

Then came the Builder’s Pick. A one-of-a-kind custom award is built by each of the builders and presented to the car owner of the builder’s own choosing. These builders represented the industry by sitting at an autograph table where rodders could get all manners of goodies autographed, photos taken, and great conversations begun. If one looked closely you would have seen that these industry luminaries sat at a table in front of a sign that listed many of our industry’s core who have “gone before.” A fitting tribute to honor all those who offered up their time and talents to make our industry what it is today.

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The Pete and Jake’s Builder’s Pick was presented to Jim Wise of Goshen, IN, for his ’32 Ford three-window coupe.
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Rad Rides by Troy Builder’s Pick was present to Wendy and Kevin Flondor for their two-tone ’70 Chevy pickup. Powered by a twin-turbo big-block Chevy.
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Muscle Car of the Year was awarded by the Triple Crown of Rodding Association and was presented to Roger and Mary Jo Gaultney of Cordova, MD, for their bright orange ’69-1/2 Plymouth Road Runner powered by a 440 six-pack.
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Sitting below a tribute to all those hot rodders who came before and “paved the way” were many of the popular and talented builders from across the country. Starting left on the back row: Jim and Will Posey (Big Oak Garage), Ken Fenical (Posies), Gary Case (promoter), Chip Foose (Foose Design), Bobby Alloway (promoter), Troy Trepanier (Rad Rides by Troy), Dave Kindig (Kindig It Design), Jason and Jerry Slover (Pete & Jakes). Starting left on the seated row: Kyle Tucker (Detroit Speed), Alan Johnson (Johnson’s Hot Rods), Jesse Greening (Greening Auto Company), Mike Ring (Ringbrothers), Roy Brizio (Roy Brizio Street Rods), Phil and Jeremy Gerber (Roadster Shop), Jonathan Goolsby (Goolsby Customs), and Jim Ring (Ringbrothers). Missing is Troy Ladd (Hollywood Hot Rods).
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Past Modern Rodding cover car and subject of several tech articles is the ’34 Chevy roadster belonging to Jeff Breault and built by Devlin Rod & Customs. The roadster has also captured a previous America’s Most Beautiful Roadster trophy and now a TCR Builder’s Pick by Posies.
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Phil Becker took home two TCR Builder’s Picks for his ’32 Ford three-window coupe. One was from Dave Kindig and one from Jonathan Goolsby … well deserving on both counts.

The autograph table (several hours each day) was comprised of Dave Kindig (Kindig It Design), Jonathan Goolsby (Goolsby Customs), Kyle Tucker (Detroit Speed), Jerry and Jason Slover (Pete & Jakes Hot Rod Parts), Roy Brizio (Roy Brizio Street Rods), Jesse Greening (Greening Auto Company), Ken Fenical (Posies), Jimmy and Will Posey (Big Oak Garage), Alan Johnson (Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop), Jim and Mike Ring (Ringbrothers), Phil and Jeremy Gerber (Roadster Shop), Troy Trepanier (Rad Rides by Troy), and Chip Foose (Foose Design). These are our industry’s top-notch builders who have won it all and continue to represent our hobby/industry in admirable ways.

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Tim Strange of Strange Motion Rod & Custom was on hand as a participant with his ’65 Chevelle, a working weekend as he conducted interviews and some announcing, handing out a TCR Show Pick, and as a hot rodder collecting memorabilia and autographs. Here getting Troy Ladd and Jesse Greening to sign his TCR Inaugural collector’s sign.
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Over in the Auto Metal Direct booth there was a table session going on with the likes of Chip Foose (speaking/center), Jesse Greening (left), Troy Trepanier (right), and Dave Kindig (far left).
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Keith and Jody Hill from Broken Arrow, OK, were on hand with their ’33 Ford fenderless three-window coupe. It brought home a Jesse Greening of Greening Auto Company Builder’s Pick as well as a CPP-sponsored Top 30 award. Chrysler Fire Power Hemi equipped with four Stromberg 97 carbs for power.
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Presented to Steve Tracy (right) and his wife, Sheri, for their tireless effort on the amazing TCR trophies and guitars, is a Triple Crown bottle of whiskey presented by Mark and Jessi Bowler (left) of Bowler Performance Transmissions. It was autographed by the likes of Mike and Jim Ring, Chip Foose, Roy Brizio, Johnathan Goolsby, Troy Trepanier, Troy Ladd, Andy Leach, and Phil and Jeremy Gerber.
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Roy Brizio of Roy Brizio Street Rods used his Builder’s Pick to award it to Karen Hooper of Cullman, AL, for her ’32 Ford five-window coupe.
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Andy Nowka of Kirkland, WA, was on hand with his ’67 Corvette convertible and brought home a TCR Builder’s Pick awarded by Kyle Tucker of Detroit Speed.

Top 30 and Elite 10

But there was more. Next up were the awards for the Top 30 and then the Elite 10 with these beautiful custom awards presented by Classic Performance Products (CPP). To make it through the judging gauntlet one had to make the Top 30 and from here the competition became even more strenuous to be selected for the Elite 10. Last up was the judging by car or truck category to see who would be one of the overall six who would be crowned the Triple Crown of Rodding award winners. We believe that the awards that were handed out are by far some of the nicest, if not the nicest, awarded at any event in the country.

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A special “thank you” to Jim Ries of CPP who sponsored the Top 30 and Elite 10 trophies … many commented on how good looking they were. (Side note: In The Garage Media staff was looking for a missing box of doughnuts in the hospitality suite … hmmm, we think we just found them.)
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Jeff Parisi and Erik Johnson of Wisconsin took home a CPP-sponsored Elite 10 for their ’69 two-tone Camaro that is a Whipple supercharged powered LS.
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Casey Shires of Dennison, TX, and the Hot Rod Garage, was on hand with his LS-powered ’63 Corvette split-window coupe. He was a big winner at the show with a CPP Elite 10 award and two Builder’s Pick awards: one from Big Oak Garage and one from Chip Foose.

Ringbrothers Trophy

We’ve mentioned how each of the builders came through by building their own trophy and by selecting their favorite. It should be mentioned that the trophies were amazing in their creativity but there was one award that was of particular interest.

The Ring brothers, Mike and Jim, created what might have been the unique award of the many one-of-a-kind awards. In speaking with Nancy Ring as Jim and Mike were “buried” speaking and signing autographs, she told us the brothers started out with a 65-pound chunk of aluminum. The story behind the trophy was to reflect the journey any hot rodder or professional builder experiences throughout their life’s journey or career.

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Mike and Jim Ring of the Ringbrothers were on hand the entire event signing autographs both days and presented their amazing trophy.
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The Ringbrothers trophy that was presented to Rod Parsons for his Chevy pickup. The trophy is stunning.

Nancy told me that the base of the trophy was intended to be left rough and underdeveloped, like all of us are in our beginnings. Over the course of time, we hone our skills, increase our challenges, and expand our limits. If you have a chance to see the trophy (next year in person) you will see that the tool paths along the bottom portion of the trophy are coarse and less controlled. As the machining moves up the pillars, the tool paths are increasingly more complex, filled with more detail, and more refined until the aluminum is finished in a bright polish. Any of us who have built a hot rod realize it isn’t as simple as adding more time; “the best laid plans” don’t always go as planned. But we “endeavor to persevere” and it is the challenge that keeps us coming back. Nancy told me there were plenty of those moments while this trophy was crafted. In fact, the Ring brothers purchased a new piece of equipment, a five-axis CNC, couple this with the program that is now in place and maybe next year’s trophy will be a little less of a challenge. Kinda like building your second and third project! One last comment on the Ringbrothers award … look closely at the top and note the fine print: “That’s Cool As F##%!” … we couldn’t have said it any better.

Show Pick

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Taking home one of the TCR Show Pick awards was Paulette and David Wolk of Leavenworth, KS, for their ’50 Merc custom. Tim Strange of Strange Motion gave the custom his pick.

Lest you begin to think that only the six topflight award winners get it all, you should have seen the awards that went to seven Show Picks by the likes of the American Tri-Five Association, the TCR Association, Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, Strange Motion Rod & Custom, Street Machinery, Not Stock Photography, and Sata Paint Guns. These awards were custom and one-offs in most applications.

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Another big winner was Buddy Kale of Tempe, AZ, who took home a Show Pick awarded by Not Stock Photography (John Jackson) for his ’52 VW … a custom-made belt buckle, very cool. The Bug also collected a CPP Elite 10 and a Builder’s Pick from Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop.

But let’s say you have come this far but you know you won’t find yourself in the running for one of these truly awesome awards … there is still the 2023 Chevy pickup. It was customized by Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop featuring Billet Specialties wheels along with a Wade Hughes flame paint with Josh Shaw ’striping. It should be noted that the truck was white from the factory while Alloway and his staff disassembled the truck and painted it in PPG Alloway Black … very befitting. John Sutherland III, of Pekin, Illinois, drove home his new everyday ride.

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The Giveaway Truck, a ’23 Chevy standard pickup (a rare truck indeed), was customized at Bobby Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop. It was repainted from its factory white in PPG Alloway Black and then flamed and ’striped by Wade Hughes and Josh Shaw. Wheels are courtesy of Billet Specialties.
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John Sutherland III (right) takes the keys to the Giveaway ’23 Chevy pickup presented to him by Gary Case, one of the promoters of the TCR event.

Let’s say you didn’t win the pickup, there was always the 50/50 drawing. While half of the $22,216 did go to one individual the other half was given to the local offices of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Thomas Lee Cauble of Atoka, Tennessee, was the lucky one who went home with a much “fatter” wallet of $11,108.

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That smile on Thomas Cauble’s face is real as he took home the 50/50 Charity Drawing to the sum of $11,108. We bet it was tough getting that check to go through the drive-thru window at the bank … but worth the effort. The remaining $11,108 went to the local offices of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Job well done.
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Ron Corder of Mississippi was on hand with his hand built ’33 Ford coupe that’s more than chopped and channeled … it is “shrunken.” All the sheetmetal was either hand fabricated or highly modified components from numerous other rides.

For those who weren’t taking home any “iron” there was still plenty to enjoy with the 117-plus hard parts manufacturers on Manufacturers Row, a collection of vintage Funny Cars and dragsters at the ready to fire off each day, filling the air with good ol’ nitro mix. There was also a kids’ coloring area sponsored by PPG as well as a Pinstriper’s Auction. There was plenty of food to sample on Restaurant Row as well as all sorts of other sights and sounds to avail one of while walking about the Nashville Superspeedway. The headquarters hotel (which is already sold out for 2024) is amid a hotel row that is sure to be overflowing with hot rodders in 2024. Be on the lookout for nighttime outdoor entertainment at the headquarters Embassy Suites Nashville in Murfreesboro. The event was ideally suited for a family as parking was free and an adult ticket was $20. Kids 15 and under got in free with a paying adult. You don’t see that at high-profile events across the country anymore. We are told that pricing will be held in place for 2024. This is truly a family affair and with 1,700-plus hot rods in attendance in 2023 we can only imagine that number is going to escalate significantly in 2024.

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Jack Malloy of Channahon, IL, enjoyed the TCR event with his ’61 Ford Falcon powered with its EcoBoost Ford V-6.
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Making it all happen was (and will be) this pair of longtime friends and hot rodders Gary Case and Bobby Alloway who make up the driving force behind the Triple Crown of Rodding event structure. We think the smiles tell the story.

There was an amazing “feel” about the event and all of us believe it is here to stay. A heartfelt “thank you” should be given to the two hot rodders who made all this possible–Bobby Alloway and Gary Case. We think they are onto something, and we will be betting next year will be even more of the same good ol’ hot rod feeling. Should you find yourself wishing to be part of this amazing show you might check out what information is available for the Triple Crown of Rodding presented by PPG at triplecrownofrodding.com. MR

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